Well, it’s that time of year again. I’ve had a couple requests for a first-round preview, so I figured I’d go game by game for each of the first three divisions. So, enjoy!
No. 9 Liberty at No. 8 Castro Valley: Interesting matchup here. Liberty was red-hot at the beginning of the year but really went backwards late in the season, losing eight of its last 11 games. Castro Valley lost a little momentum when it lost to Bishop O’Dowd but when I saw them at the Livermore Stampede, I thought the Trojans certainly had the potential to be a good club. I’ll install the Trojans as favorites.
No. 12 College Park at No. 5 James Logan: College Park handled the switch to the DVAL well this year I thought. The Falcons got some good momentum from the Livermore Stampede and made a play for the league title down the stretch. Logan had its issues with Newark Memorial but other than that, the Colts have been solid this year. I’m thinkin it’s close but Logan’s the favorite.
No. 7 Deer Valley at No. 10 Newark Memorial: This is one of the most intriguing games in the first round. Can Emily Allard power the Wolverines to a road win? They’ve been tough to figure out all year but if the whole team comes to play, they certainly can win this game. Can’t say that I know much about Newark other than its success against Logan this year. I say this one’s a coin flip.
No. 11 Berkeley at No. 6 San Ramon Valley: I’ve seen Berkeley a couple times this year and I think the Yellowjackets are another tough team to project in a playoff setting. I think the key offensively is Kelsey Murakami. She’s a very talented hitter and if she can spark Berkeley’s offense, I think the Jackets would respond. I’ll make the Wolves the favorites, but I would definitely not be surprised if it went the other way.
No. 9 Arroyo at No. 8 Redwood: Well, Redwood is 22-4. What exactly does that mean? I think I’ll have to join the majority of our commenters when I say I really don’t know. Who knows who wins this one.
No. 12 Casa Grande at No. 5 Clayton Valley: Clayton’s going to be ready to play for this one. The Eagles have more than enough offense and I know they’re pumped to continue what has become an absolutely fantastic athletic year at their school. CV is the favorite here.
No. 7 Concord at No. 10 Heritage: And now we’ve come to the game that I’ll be at tomorrow. Honestly, this game depends on who shows up. Will it be the Concord that lost to Clayton Valley or will it be the team that beat Antioch to win the HASA Invitational? On the other side, will it be the Heritage that lost 16 games or the potentially-uber talented group that won eight? Here’s what I know: if the game is on the line and Lea Cavestany is up, I’ll take the Minutemen. This is another coin flip.
No. 11 Alameda at No. 6 Ukiah: If Alameda can make that drive and win, they deserve a ton of credit. If they can’t, well, that’s a long drive home. Can’t help but favor the home team in this one.
No. 9 Ursuline at No. 8 Drake: North Bay fans, chime in and help me out with this one.
No. 10 Campolindo at No. 7 Tamalpais: I understand Tam is led by a freshman pitcher. I also know that Campo has their own standout freshman (not a pitcher) in Emily Streeter. I’ll take the upset in this one.
No. 11 Kennedy-Richmond at No. 6 San Marin: San Marin has a good softball/baseball history and you have to wonder how the Eagles will respond to playing under the lights. Kennedy’s been the underdog all year long and I think that continues in this one.
Alright everyone. Enjoy day one of the NCS softball playoffs. I’ll be keeping my eye on all the matchups but, like I said, I’ll be in Brentwood for Concord/Heritage. Things kick into full swing on Saturday, and I’ll try to put a preview for that round up as well. Get out and see some softball!