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NCS Softball Preview: Quarterfinals

So, we’re on to the quarterfinal round this weekend. I won’t be in the office tomorrow, so I figured I’d toss out this weekend’s preview a day early. Enjoy.

DIVISION I
No. 8 Castro Valley at No. 1 Freedom:
You know what? Freedom is the heavy favorite in this one but I’ve seen enough of the Trojans over the past two seasons to know that you really shouldn’t sleep on them. I think Melanie Alkire is a good, good coach and I think she’ll have her team ready to play. So, I would not be surprised if this one’s a little closer than people expect. Then again, Freedom is Freedom. The Falcons are favored big in this one.

No. 5 James Logan at No. 4 Antioch: I’ll be in A-Town for this one and I’m excited about it. First of all, they moved the game time to 2 p.m., which is way better for a Saturday. Second, there should be some serious talent on display. One of the most impressive players I’ve seen so far this season is Antioch C Erin Jones and I think she just might make the difference in this one. Panthers are favored.

No. 10 Newark Memorial vs. No. 2 Livermore at Granada: I really, really like Livermore in these playoffs because I think the Cowboys have the offense to compete with Freedom down the road. Plus, they have a luxury very few teams have – two quality pitchers. If starter Jessica Varady isn’t firing on all cylinders, Sammy McConvey can come in and give quality relief. Plus, coach Bill Keller isn’t afraid to make the switch if he needs to. Cowboys are favored and, if you’re going to this game, get there early because the NCS Tri-Valley track meet is also at Granada.

No. 6 San Ramon Valley at No. 3 Foothill: EBAL rematch alert. SRV handled its business against Berkeley and now it’ll face a Foothill team that should be awfully eager to avenge its loss to the Wolves in their last meeting. Player to watch in this one is the best shortstop you probably haven’t heard of, Foothill’s Jennifer Ong. She’s the table-setter for a very good lineup. Foothill is favored, probably by two runs.

DIVISION II
No. 8 Redwood at No. 1 Montgomery:
I’ve never been to Montgomery High but I have been to Redwood. What a beautiful school. On the field? Well, I wouldn’t peg Montgomery as a slouch considering it got the No. 1 seed in a pretty deep field. So, we’ll favor Monty in this one.

No. 5 Clayton Valley at No. 4 Las Lomas: Here’s really the first game that I’m pretty conflicted over. I really think Clayton has the goods to make a run at the title game but it all comes down to whether or not the Eagles can hit Las Lomas pitcher Hannah Port. The two times I saw her this year, she didn’t give up a hit. Offensively for Las Lomas, if players like Shaley Vandenson and Erin Hong can set the table, look for a big game from cleanup hitter Melissa Brymner. I’m going to favor Clayton a little in this one based on its uber-potent offense.

No. 7 Concord at No. 2 Rancho Cotate-Rohnert Park: The Minutemen cheated a sudden exit from the playoffs on Wednesday when they rallied to score two in the bottom of the seventh to beat Heritage 3-2. I picked the Minutemen to win the division crown in Tuesday’s paper, so I guess I’ll stick with ‘em here but I will also acknowledge it’s certainly not a mortal lock.

No. 11 Alameda vs. No. 3 Pinole Valley at Ellerhorst Elementary School: If you’re a Pinole Valley supporter, you can’t be happy to see Alameda in the quarters. The Spartans won both meetings in league this year but it’s awfully tough to beat a team three times in a row. Plus, you can’t say Alameda isn’t talented enough to pull the upset. I’ll make PV the favorite but this could be the game where a significant upset is most likely.

DIVISION III
No. 8 Sir Francis Drake vs. No. 1 Bishop O’Dowd at Standley Field:
Rachel Nersesian and the crew are the No. 1 seeds for a reason. The Dragons will be favored heavily in this one, something that tends to accompany such a lofty seed.

No. 5 Alhambra at No. 4 Del Norte-Crescent City: Making this game a noon start did the Bulldogs no favors if they were planning on going up on Saturday. If they’re staying overnight on Friday, it could be a different story. Del Norte has to be the favorite based solely on the mammoth drive that Alhambra has to put in to get there, but a win by the Bulldogs would not surprise me one bit. I still love that frenetic pace that Alhambra plays at on offense.

No. 7 Tamalpais at No. 2 Albany: What’s the number one indicator that we’ve reached the postseason? The mound comes off Memorial Field in Albany! The Cougars can play the no respect card again this year, with a legitimate argument that they could’ve been the No. 1 seeds. Heck, it worked for them last year. This year’s team is a bit different (any team that loses talent like it had last year would be) but it’s equally well-coached and nearly as talented. Plus, I think Sara Muse is getting healthy finally and that’s bad news for the rest of the bracket. Albany is the heavy favorite here.

No. 6 San Marin at No. 3 Acalanes: The Dons got a piece of the DFAL title when Campolindo beat Las Lomas, so they have a bit of momentum coming into the postseason. Hannah Wilbur continues to develop in the circle and Sheyenne Greer has been solid leading the offense this season. I don’t know much about San Marin, except to say that they didn’t appear to have much trouble in beating Kennedy on Wednesday. We’ll call the Dons the favorites here.

DIVISION IV
No. 8 Salesian at No. 1 St. Patrick-St. Vincent:
Let’s do Division IV! SPSV is one of the most impressive teams I’ve seen all year. Their games with Albany were among the best I saw and if you don’t know who Shelby Asbury is, you better go find out because she can flat out hit. The Bruins had little trouble with Salesian this season in the BSAL and I don’t see it happening now.

No. 5 Justin-Siena at No. 4 Healdsburg: Couldn’t tell ya. But hey, Justin-Siena has been known to play bagpipes before its football games. That’s just cool.

No. 7 Cloverdale vs. No. 2 Moreau Catholic at Larry Standley Field: Back when I started as a freelancer, one of the first softball games I covered was a NCS Class A championship between Berean Christian and Cloverdale. BC won that day, but I came away very impressed with Cloverdale. This is not the typical 2 versus 7 game. This could be a dogfight.

No. 3 Berean Christian at No. 6 Clear Lake: Another player you need to know about is Berean SS Danae Leiser. She’s got some serious talent. Even though they have to hit the road, I like the Eagles as the favorites in this one.

Alright, well, that’s where we stand for Saturday. I hope you got out on Wednesday to see some ball. I would imagine that if you’re reading this, you’re planning to catch some action this weekend. I would imagine we’ll try to put scores up on Saturday evening, so be sure to check us out.

Ben Enos

  • Softball fan

    D1

    Freedom, Antioch, Livermore, Foothill

    Antioch-Logan and Foothill-SRV were tough choices and I wouldn’t be surprised in either game if the lower seed squeaked one out.

    D2

    Montgomery, Clayton, Concord, Pinole

    Clayton-Las Lomas is a coin toss in my opinion. Clayton has more bats, LL has a better pitcher. I’ll go with Clayton in a close one, 4-3.

    D3

    O’Dowd, Alhambra, Albany, San Marin

    I heard from a friend that Alhambra is going up Friday. Don’t know much about Del Norte, I just like Alhambra’s game. I think their pitcher is very underrated. They start 2 seniors, 1 junior, 5 sophomores and a freshmen. If they can replace the pitcher after this year, that team is going to be tough.

    San Marin-Acalanes is another tough call. I went with San Marin but I feel this game will be decided very late, which could favor Acalanes, since they are the home team.

    D4

    Don’t know too much about this division. I like Moreau to win it.

  • Clayton Valley SB Dad

    Here’s a little info on Clayton Valley’s uber potent offense hitters 1-5.
    Tori Kobold .489 BA .598 OBA 13/15 SB
    Larisa Jones .486 BA .646 OBA
    Amber Curry .436 BA .602 OBA 4HR 22RBI
    Amanda Moore .533 BA .652 OBA 5HR 33RBI
    Cortnee Kelly .440 BA .565 OBA 3HR 21RBI

  • Softball fan

    Yes, those are nice stats and they are good hitters. Typically you won’t see 5 girls with those stats on a team in the EBAL or BVAL. Good hitters in the DVAL and DFAL get to fatten up their stats because half the teams in each of those leagues don’t have any pitching.

    I am sure these 5 girls did well against all competition but it always helps to pad those stats against Northgate and Mt. Diablo.

  • SoftballBob

    Thank you Softball Fan for saying what I was thinking.

    I’ve seen a few of those players in action and they are all good softball players, but nothing like getting to tee off on mediocre pitching to drive up the numbers.

    I’m sure CV will do well in the D2 bracket. They might have their hands full tomorrow against Hannah Port, as she is deceptively difficult to get good wood err composite) on. I’m not a LL person, so don’t take that to be homerism. Just that Hannah, for whatever reason, doesn’t get hit hard too often.

    D1: Freedom, Antioch, Livermore, SRV
    D2: Montgomery, Clayton Valley, Rancho, Pinole Valley
    D3: BOD, Alhambra, Albany, Alcalanas
    D4: St Pat, Justin, Moreau, Berean

    Good luck to all teams.

  • Ken

    Interesting stats for the CV ladies.Pretty impressive.
    How are the rest of the hitters? Max Preps has nothing posted for them.

  • Jorge Molina

    Yes, well Maxpreps stats are all well and good but remember where the data comes from…example..girl at Pinole batting .839 26 for 31, 1.387 slugging percent…8 players, including most starters fielding 1.000…umm…audit please.

  • Fastpitch fan

    D-I softball predictions for Saturday:

    Freedom 5-0; Fr. has allowed ONE(1) run in last 9 games and has a 10 game win streak…make that 11 and counting. Livermore 6-1; Lv. has too much game and Nw’s 8 game win streak will end. Foothill 5-2; short fence at home helps Fh. but they must to hit in the clutch. Antioch 4-3; a real toss-up, best defense wins, could go extra innings, would be Logan’s only non-Newark loss(???).

  • spdad

    your comment on Foothill is right on … they are a different team without that short fence ..

  • Dfal_Sb

    As Jorge suggests, wouldn’t read too much into the stat lines from MaxPreps. PV is clearly a deserving team but 17 girls listed for the roster, only three hit below .400 (the lowest BA is .346), & “collectively”, despite all those blow-out wins, zero ROE for the entire team? Hopefully it’s just an honest mistake, can’t believe a team average BA of .471.

    Good luck to all the teams tomorrow, should be very interesting come Sunday to read about them…here’s my prediction:

    D1: Freedom, Logan, Livermore, SRV
    D2: Montgomery, Las Lomas, Concord, Pinole Valley
    D3: BOD, Alhambra, Albany, Acalanes
    D4: SPSV, Justin, Moreau Catholic, BC

  • Statler & Waldorf

    CV showed their capability at the Stampede. Nice to see their “hitters” recover in their league of soft toss pitchers. They are lucky to still be playing.

    Predicted champions:

    D1 – Livermore.
    D2 – Concord
    D3 – Alhambra
    D4 ….not enough info to judge…

  • Go Panthers

    updates
    Antioch 3 Logan 0

    Alhambra lost 5-2

    Concord beat RC 2-0

  • gdog717

    anyone know the livermore/NM score

  • Ben Enos

    10-0 Livermore

  • miss percepcion

    D III

    San Marin 7 Acalanes 2

    Albany 9 Tam 5

    Semi’s San Marin at Albany

    O Dowd at Del Norte

    What is with this League Championship Site Bias?

  • Fastpitch fan

    THE VASCO ROAD CONNECTION: D-I softball semis are boring league rematches. This is where the mystery committee got it wrong. Freedom vs. Antioch and Livermore vs. Foothill. Scores should be similar to the last games with Freedom vs. Livermore in the championship. Anyone know where the softball championships will be played? Will it be a D-II and D-I doubleheader? All 4 D-I games came in as predicted, including the basic scores, but Logan and Newark could not score a run losing by a combined 13-0 (include Castro Valley and the bay-shore-east deficit was 19-0 today). Vasco Road connects the D-I elites of the NCS. TRUE.

  • Fastpitch fan

    Hey Ben,

    Feel free to use the Vasco Road connection if all plays out this week. Niles Canyon would have worked if Foothill was playing James Logan…NOT.

    Great job this season with all of the softball reporting and we are looking forward to seeing the championship games.

    –Fastpitch fan

  • Softball fan

    I wasn’t too far off, 10-2 with my predictions. I thought Alhambra would do better and I lost the CV-LL game.

    Anyone hear about the Alhambra game? Guess we will see if Del Norte is for real on Wednesday.

  • Fastpitch fan

    Kudos to the umpires. I have seen 5 NCS playoff games this week and the umpire crews are doing a great job. I have only seen one head coach constantly complain each inning, and while winning today, persistent complaining will contribute to another key loss on Wednesday against a league foe. Again, kudos to the umpire crews, they are doing a great job!!!

  • SoftballBob

    Yes, the semis are a retread EBAL & BVAL match-ups, but that is bacause the other leagues are just not up to par. Saw both the AHS and FHS wins, and niether JL, nor CV put up much of a fight.

    The NCS committee should not pair match-ups to prevent league rematches in the semis – that should be up to the representative teams from the other NCS leagues.

    Livermore vs Freedom in championship.

  • sbmom

    Does anyone know where the championship game will be played? Can’t find it anywhere

  • Dfal_Sb

    Looked back at the last posted softball poll (5/11). . .seems the pollsters really knew/know something about softball! Nine teams from the “top ten” are still in the NCS playoff race. Del Norte, LL, & Foothill may be sleepers this week.

  • SoftballBob

    Dfal_Sb?

    Are you then saying your prediction for D1 Champ is Foothill, and D2 Champs will be Las Lomas? Go ahead, step way out there, that branch is stronger than you think….!

    My quarter finals predictions were 10 – 6…what do I know?

    Oh well, I’ll venture SemiFinal Predictions anyway:

    D1: Freedom, Livermore
    D2: Montgomery, Concord
    D3: BOD, Albany
    D4: St Pat, Moreau

  • Dfal_Sb

    SoftballBob. . .I faired only slightly better than you! We will, IMHO, see an upset in some of these “final four” games. Montgomery & LL are both coming off of emotional wins, neither team gives up many runs. Foothill has a chance, after dropping 3 times to Livermore & outhitting them in two of the losses, if they play good defense. Del Norte beat a good Alhambra team.

    I’m of the belief that all the remaining playoff games will be close games – here’s my picks for tomorrow:

    D1: Freedom, Foothill
    D2: Las Lomas, Concord
    D3: Del Norte, Albany
    D4: SPSV, Moreau

    The only teams I’m picking to take their divisions so far are Freedom (div I) & Albany (div III).

  • Mary

    I found this banter pretty amusing. . What teams have been the premier softball teams in the area. So taking NCS website info and assigning 16 points for being the #1 seed on down to 8 points for being the #9 seed I did a spreadsheet avg for the past 10 years. I also gave Freedom Credit for a #1 seed in 2000 despite being in the smaller school division.

    + The reason I only gave points out to seed #9 is because the bottom half of the bracket is typically fill-in schools. Regardless, this wouldn’t help out most of the top teams averages.

    + Interesting revelations was that Newark’s “score” was a bit lower than I anticipated and College Park’s was a bit higher than I anticipated.

    + There have been 9 consistent teams oddly enough. The first 9 teams listed up to Castro Valley have been very consistent. Alameda had 3 good years 2002-2004 which boosted them up.

    + This was a “down” year for Logan, San Ramon, Deer Valley, College Park, and Newark but expect those teams to bounce back.

    + Good softball can be found throughout the Bay Area let’s hope there is quality pitching coming through the pipelines because this year by all indications was a down year for softball in the area.

    NCS the last 10 years.
    16 points for #1 seed, 15 for # 2 seed down to 8 points for # 9 seed

    Averages.
    Freedom 15.9
    Foothill 12
    Logan 8.3
    San Ramon 8.2
    Deer Valley 7.9
    Livermore 7.8
    College Park 7.4
    Newark 6.1
    CV 5.4
    Alameda 4
    Carondolet 3.9
    San Leandro 3.5
    Antioch 3.3
    Monte Vista 2.8
    Arroyo 2.4
    Granada 2
    Pittsburg 1.1
    Clayton Valley 1
    Berkeley 0.9
    Pinole 0.9
    Liberty 0.8

  • Andrew

    Who was the winner of the finals?