The 12th Annual Livermore Stampede begin Thursday at Robertson Park and the field appears to be as strong as ever. There are four groups of four teams, with the winner of each pool advancing to Saturday afternoon’s semifinals. Here’s a breakdown of each pool.
Pool A — Alameda, Deer Valley, Livermore, Moreau Catholic
Livermore coasted through the early portion of last year’s Stampede and advanced to the finals. Doing the same this year won’t be as easy, simply because the Cowboys aren’t the same team and the competition within their group is a bit tougher. Alameda is also rebuilding, but Deer Valley has won its last three games and appears to be rounding into form. Moreau Catholic is having an up-and-down season with a relatively young team. Predicted winner: Livermore.
Pool B — Analy-Sebastopol, Archbishop Mitty-San Jose, Arroyo, Granada
Granada has proven to be a tough team to play against this year, but winning this group will not be easy. Analy and Archbishop Mitty are both state ranked within its own divisions and Arroyo has shown itself to be pretty unpredictable. As long as they don’t kill themselves with errors, the Monarchs should advance. Predicted winner: Archbishop Mitty.
Pool C — Alhambra, Castro Valley, Foothill, Valley Christian-San Jose
Call this the ‘Group of Death.’ Foothill is the defending champion and is ranked 14th in the state by CalHiSports.com. Valley Christian is No. 9 in the state and already has a win over Foothill. Alhambra made the semifinals last year and Castro Valley is used to playing tough competition. Foothill seems to play its best when the stakes are greatest, and its greatest test comes right away against Valley Christian on Thursday morning. The winner of that game should advance to the semis. Predicted winner: Foothill.
Pool D — Carondelet, Dublin, Monte Vista, Ponderosa
This group appears to be Monte Vista’s to lose. The Mustangs had a disappointing Stampede in 2005, so the revenge factor is high. Carondelet is led by pitcher Kyle Lamet, and she’ll have to be at her best if the Cougars hope to advance to the semifinals. Dublin won its first five games but was thumped by Las Lomas on Tuesday. Ponderosa, and what little we know about them, is the x-factor. Predicted winner: Monte Vista.
I’m hoping to blog again after before the semifinals on Saturday. Those should be interesting seeing as how my diet over the next two days will basically consist of Diet coke, Doritos, Oreos and polish sausages. See ya then.