SOUTH COUNTY — The newly formed Pacific Coast Athletic League (PCAL) has announced the divisions of play for next spring’s baseball, softball, tennis and track and field teams. The PCAL will include Gonzales, Greenfield, King City and Soledad and 29 other high schools from the surrounding four counties. The PCAL is part of the Central Coast Section (CCS), and the California Interscholastic Federation.
The divisions will be evaluated each year and will be based on competitive strength leading to better competition for all schools in each sport. The formation of the PCAL and the new divisions ends the many decades of the Mission Trail Athletic League.
Next spring King City and Soledad will be in the Mission Division of the PCAL that includes Alisal, Carmel, Everett Alvarez, North Salinas, Pacific Grove and Watsonville. Gonzales and Greenfield will be in the Cypress Division with Anzar, Marina, North County, Pajaro Valley, Seaside, Robert Louis Stevenson and Trinity.
King City head coach Lorenzo Espino feels that the Mission League is the right place for the Mustangs to play next season.
“It will be a lot tougher league, but we as a baseball program have to be ready for the challenge,” said Espino. We are excited for some of the new teams that we get to play. Top to bottom it will be a good league. The only thing I don’t like is we only get two automatic teams to the playoffs and our third place team has to play the sixth team out of the Pacific Division. Our third place team could be 18-3 but a sixth place could be 10-11 and get in.”
Gonzales baseball coach Erik Lopez will miss playing against the Spartans MTAL foes next season.
“I understand why the change is taking place, but personally I would have liked to keep the league (MTAL) as is,” said Lopez. “They (Soledad and King City) are both respected rivals and the games are always fun and competitive. I hope we can continue to play each other in our non-league games. I wish those teams the best of luck.”
Soledad High will be part of the Cypress Division that includes Alisal, Monte Vista Christian, St. Francis, Seaside and Robert Louis Stevenson. Gonzales, Greenfield and King City will play in the Santa Lucia Division with Marina, Anzar, Pajaro Valley, Trinity and York.
“I believe our division is equally balanced and will be competitive,” said Greenfield head softball coach Cindy Mercado. “Everyone has a shot at a division title. I am excited about next year’s team and season. I lost five seniors, but we will have eight returning players, plus five JV players that will help round out our team.”
TRACK AND FIELD
In track and field, Gonzales, King City and Soledad are now part of the Mission Division. Teams in the division include: Carmel, Gilroy, Monterey, Pajaro Valley, Santa Catalina, Seaside and Watsonville.
Greenfield High will compete in the Cypress Division with Anzar, Kirby, Marina, Monte Vista Christian, Oakwood, Pacific Collegiate, St. Francis, Stevenson, Trinity and York.
The Gonzales High boys tennis team will compete in the Mission Division of the PCAL with Christopher, Gilroy, San Benito, Monterey, Oakwood, Pacific Grove and York.
First-year head boys coach and longtime girls assistant coach Cesar Ayon is looking forward to the play in the Mission Division.
“I think playing in the Mission Division is going to be good for us,” Ayon said. “We were competitive against those schools this year and hope to do even better next year.”