One year after a shocking first-round upset loss as the No. 3 seed in the Southern Section Div. I baseball playoffs, Saugus High learns what it’s like on the other side. The Centurions (13-12), coming off a 9-3 wild-card victory over Calabasas, play at second-seeded Chino (25-1) in the first round this afternoon. “I think you go in feeling like you can be more aggressive when you’re the underdog,” first-year coach John Maggiora said. “Sometimes when you’re the favorite, there’s a fear about `what if we lose?’ When you’re the underdog, no one expects anything, so you just go in there and try to shock the world.” Chino, led by pitcher/shortstop Matt James, has won 17 in a row, 11 of the victories by five or more runs. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREBasketball roundup: Sierra Canyon, Birmingham set to face off in tournament quarterfinalsRight-hander Mark Terrazas is scheduled to be Saugus’ starting pitcher – if he’s healthy enough to go. Terrazas has been bothered by a sore shoulder. “Otherwise, we’re probably going to have to pitch by committee, because we don’t have a whole lot of depth,” Maggiora said. Senior Casey Stevenson (.415) and junior Brandon Young (.435) are Saugus’ top hitters. All first-round games begin at 3:15 p.m. In other action todau: Centennial of Corona (13-12) at Valencia (24-3): The Vikings never have advanced past the semifinals, but perhaps they have a shot at the Div. I final four this year, based on a potent combination of terrific pitching, solid defense and impressive hitting. Riding a school-record, 14-game winning streak, Valencia has no obvious weakness. Probable starter Nick Pappas is 9-0 with a 1.23 ERA in 57 innings. Other dependable arms include Scott Fowler (4-2, 2.07 ERA), Caleb Deville (6-0, 2.44) and closer Casey Mulligan (0-0, 0.00 ERA, eight saves), who has 17 strikeouts in nine relief innings. Six starters are batting .344 or better, led by UC Riverside-bound Michael Hur, a three-year starter who is hitting .430 with six home runs and 27 RBIs. Other top hitters are Armando Gallardo (.423, 2 HRs, 25 RBIs), Justin Shults (.400, 4 HRs, 26 RBIs) and Cal State Fullerton-bound Mulligan (.398, 1 HR 18 RBIs). “This is the most consistent team I’ve ever had,” coach Jared Snyder said. “They’re just so unselfish. The only thing they want to do is win games and help their teammates.” Centennial qualified for the playoffs by defeating Valley View of Moreno Valley 5-4 in the last game of the regular season. Kolby Moore is batting .391 with three home runs and 16 RBIs. El Toro of Lake Forest (16-10) at Hart (16-10): The Indians, the Foothill League’s most successful program, generally peak late in the season, but some wonder if this year’s team has enough firepower to make a lasting impact. Hart stumbles into the Div. I postseason after losing four of its past six games and has scored more than four runs just once in its past seven games. The Indians have hit just three home runs and are averaging fewer than five runs per game but can depend on Jenzen Torres (.372, 16 RBIs), Matt Valaika (.365, 10 RBIs) and Pat Sarkissian (.372, 15 RBIs). Hart has solid pitching, posting a 2.62 team ERA, but it has committed 44 errors. Sophomore Mike Montgomery is 6-2 with a 2.55 ERA, Steve Burton is 3-2 with a 2.42 ERA, and Casey McCarthy is 3-2 with a 2.56 ERA. El Toro, which has won four in a row, is similar to Hart, a scrappy team that relies on pitching. Ryan Doyle, a 6-foot-4 junior, is 6-3 with a 1.40 ERA, and he is batting a team-best .394 with three home runs and 20 RBIs. Friday’s game: Santa Clarita Christian (12-6) plays at Boron (15-5) in a Div. VI opener. The Cardinals have advanced to at least the second round three years in a row, winning a section title in 2004, but they are in a rebuilding season and face a difficult road. “It all depends on how we play,” coach Garrick Moss said, “because we’re young and Boron has a lot of seniors, and they’re going to be experienced, so we travel out in the middle of nowhere and have our work cut out for us. “Yes, we’ve been inconsistent this year, but if we show up and play solid baseball, we can compete.” Steve Essex is batting .522 with one home run and 18 RBIs, and he’s 25 for 25 stealing bases, leading an aggressive SCC team that has stolen 112 bases in 115 attempts. Boron has won 11 of its past 12. Probable starter James Smith is 9-2 with a 1.85 ERA and 84 strikeouts in 57 innings. firstname.lastname@example.org (661) 257-5218160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!