NCS 3-A East Bay: No. 7 California vs. No. 1 Freedom
BOWER: I would have taken Freedom no matter who they played in the championship game today. I haven’t seen California this year so I can’t really compare the two. But I have seen Freedom, and I know how good the Falcons and Hannah Williams are. I also think Freedom already got its shocking loss out of the way at the end of the regular season. That one was to Clayton Valley. My pick: Freedom.
BONAGURA: Over the past seven years, Freedom is 24-1 in NCS games, the lone loss came to Cal in last year’s quarterfinals. All year long Cal has been on the cusp of being an upper echelon team (top-4) and finally got through Foothill after losing to the Falcons twice during the year. Williams is obviously the game’s “name” player, but Cal’s roster is easily just as talented and pitcher Krista Miller is good. Foothill had scored 44 runs in its previous four games before being held to 1 by Miller on Friday. Cal also features a slew of good hitters in Miller, Jamie Foley, Mariah Nisbet, Brittany Wright and Stephanie Hatley. Pick: Cal.
NCS 2-A East Bay: No. 1 Albany vs. No. 3 Concord
BOWER: I haven’t seen either team in person, but I will use my American right to make a prediction, if that is OK with everyone? My colleague, Ben Enos, over at the CCT has tabbed Albany as the team to beat all season long. And after reading about the way Albany has been playing, I can’t imagine them not winning the title. My pick: Albany.
BONAGURA: I haven’t seen either team, either…. Concord is 15-2 over its last 17, Albany has won 20 in a row, so there definitely can be arguments made for both teams. However, I’m going with Albany as well.