NCS Softball: Finals

Well, tomorrow’s the big day. Whatever corner of the Bay Area you’ll be in, you can find some good softball and hey, it’s your last chance. Let’s get to the matchups.

No. 2 Livermore at No. 1 Freedom:
The top two teams in the East Bay for much of the year square off with a title on the line. By now, you all know the players involved. This game should actually provide quite a contrast in styles. Freedom will bunt, but they’ll also roll the dice a lot in terms of the straight steal. Livermore will always bunt, choosing to move that runner into scoring position every time it gets a chance. One key for Freedom will be the production from the top of the order. If hitters like Malena Padilla (note: one of our most consistent posters, SoftballBob, says Padilla hasn’t played in the playoffs… good inside info SoftballBob – we’ll see if that makes a difference tomorrow, eh?), Kim Westlund and Chrissy Stalf can get on in front of Hannah Williams, it could be a long day for Livermore. And it’s the same on the other side, as Katie Keller and Brittany Sabatini will try to set the table for Kaitlyn Taylor. Hey, Freedom has been the gold standard for softball for quite a while now, so the Falcons are favored until someone knocks them off the perch.

No. 1 Montgomery-Santa Rosa vs. No. 3 Pinole Valley at San Marin:
I saw the Spartans play on Wednesday and, except for one brief lapse in the seventh inning, they looked awfully good. I can’t say I’ve seen Montgomery but pitcher Taylor Stroud comes in with gaudy numbers (0.12 ERA), and we all know much pitching means at this point in the season. Still though, there’s just something about Pinole, something the Spartans haven’t had in past years. Also, in a defensive battle, Pinole SS Claire Scott is among the best around (ask Concord about a couple of the plays she made the other day). Montgomery is geographically the home team, but I wouldn’t put anything past Pinole Valley. I think the Spartans may have what it takes to bring home a title.

No. 1 Bishop O’Dowd vs. No. 2 Albany at Chabot College:
I wish I had a chance to see BOD this year because, from all accounts, the Dragons are the real deal. I have seen Albany a couple times and there’s no doubt in my mind that this is a championship-caliber club. That’s saying something too because the Cougars lost some great talent from last year’s 2A East Bay title team and they only have one senior (Hannah Kramer) on this year’s team. This one’s going to come down to execution. If Albany can move runners and set itself up with chances to drive in runs, I think the talent of the Cougars will really shine through. It’s a toss up, but I picked Albany before the playoffs began and I won’t stray now.

No. 4 Clear Lake at No. 1 St. Patrick-St. Vincent:
I think my opinion of SPSV is well documented, so you probably know who I’m taking in this one. Plus, there’s something to be said for being able to step on the field for a championship game, look at the center field fence and see a banner that says you won it last year. I know I talk a lot about the Bruins’ battery, but don’t overlook the table-setters in this one. If Chelsea Carlay and Taylor-Anne Harris can get on base, SPSV is going to have a good day. Clear Lake knocked off Moreau with a sac fly in extras on Wednesday, and the question will be can they do it again?

Well, short and sweet this time around. I’ll be in Oakley for the Division I final but I’ll be eagerly awaiting the results from the other games. Good luck to all the teams and hey, enjoy the day. See you all tomorrow.

Ben Enos