NCS softball championship game previews

Division I
No. 5 Freedom (19-5-1) vs. No. 3 James Logan (25-1), Saturday, 2 p.m., Saint Mary’s College
Pitchers RaeAnn Garza and Madison Williams dueled as freshmen in the 2010 section title game and will do so again as seniors. Garza’s Logan squad earned a 4-3 walk-off win that year, and has gone back to the championship game every season since. Freedom is making its first title game appearance in three years, taking down No. 4 Castro Valley in the quarterfinals and No. 8 San Ramon Valley in the semifinals. The Falcons, riding a 12-game winning streak, got homers from Emma Ryan and Raegan Ternes in the semifinal win over the Wolves. Lyvie Ilayan has been Freedom’s top hitter this season, batting .403 with 30 RBIs. Logan’s has several offensive weapons, including Garza, Kimberly Goulart and Melina Rodriguez.
Division II
No. 4 Concord (21-4) vs. No. 3 Clayton Valley (22-3), Friday, 5 p.m., Saint Mary’s College
The Division II championship game will serve as the rubber match for these crosstown rivals after splitting their two Diablo Valley Athletic League games and sharing the league crown. Concord, which has won two of the last three Division II crowns, finally gets to play a championship game in the East Bay. Once again, coach Megan Coddington has Concord playing well at the end of the year, winning 17 of their past 18 games after a slow start. The Minutemen took down top-seeded Petaluma 1-0 in the semifinals, getting a strong outing from pitcher Kelly Drake. Clayton Valley, which has never won an NCS softball championship, is led by a large, experienced senior class. Shannon Mestas is good in the circle and at the plate. In the Eagles’ 10-5 semifinal win over Alhambra, the senior blasted two home runs.
Division III
No. 1 Terra Linda (23-4) vs. No. 7 Campolindo (14-9), Saturday, 7 p.m., San Marin HS
Campolindo has put together a Cinderella run to reach the Division III title game, including an extra inning road win over No. 3 Eureka in the semifinals. Shelley Suhling made the long bus ride home a happy one with her solo home run in the eighth inning, accounting for the winning run in the 3-2 victory. Suhling has also put together some impressive pitching performances in the postseason, including a shutout victory over No. 2 San Marin in the quarterfinals. Campolindo finished the regular season in third place in the Diablo Foothill Athletic League. Terra Linda won the Marin County Athletic League and has won 14 of its last 15. Terra Linda has a powerful offense, led by Alyssa Ross and her 15 home runs. The senior has driven in 52. Terra Linda has never won a NCS softball title, and Campolindo’s most recent championship came back in 2002.

Division IV
No. 1 Salesian (20-2) vs. No. 6 St. Patrick-St. Vincent (19-10-2), Saturday, 4:30 p.m., Saint Mary’s College
Salesian hopes to wrap up a dominant season with its first NCS title since 2001. For the second straight year, the Pride will meet St. Patrick-St. Vincent in the title game. The Bruins won 7-2 last year. As Tri-County Athletic League Rock Division rivals, the two teams are plenty familiar with one another. Salesian has won all three meetings this year, but all have them have been close, including two one-run games. SPSV knows it will have to contend with Zoe Conley, Salesian’s standout pitcher. The junior has only allowed one run in two playoff wins and has an ERA of 0.34. Meghan Bradbury is the Pride’s most dangerous hitter.


NCS baseball championship game previews

Division I

No. 4 Amador Valley (17-10) vs. No. 2 De La Salle (19-7), Saturday, 4 p.m., Saint Mary’s College

The Spartans are looking to become the first team in the highest level of NCS baseball play to repeat as champions since they accomplished the feat in 1996-97. To do so, they’ll have to beat an East Bay Athletic League that swept the season series from De La Salle. Amador Valley beat the Spartans 3-2 on March 28 in Pleasanton and 7-4 on May 1 in Concord. De La Salle has only lost once since then. The Dons immediately went on a four-game losing streak after that last win over the Spartans. The streak started with a deflating 15-0 loss to Granada. But Amador has rediscovered itself in the playoffs and upset the top-seeded Matadors, handing Granada only its second loss this season, in the semifinals to reach the championship game for the first time since winning the title in 2010.

Division II

No. 2 Campolindo (20-6-1) vs. No. 1 Casa Grande (27-2), Saturday, 1 p.m., Santa Rosa Junior College

The Cougars are looking to make history by capturing their fourth straight NCS title. That would tie an NCS record set twice, most recently by their opponent Casa Grande, which won four successive NCS 3A Redwood Empire titles from 2004-07. St. Vincent also won four straight Class A titles from 1986-89, but no East Bay team has ever accomplished the feat. The Gauchos survived thewildest game of the playoffs to reach the finals, beating College Park 12-11 on a 13th-inning walk off home run. College Park blew leads of 7-2, 10-7 and 11-10 in the late innings.

Division III

No. 3 Analy (23-5) vs. No. 1 Acalanes (19-7), Saturday, 1 p.m., Saint Mary’s College

The Dons are after their third straight NCS title. They shared the crown in 2011 with San Marin when the title game was rained out and won it outright last year. They rode the arm of John York in a semifinal win over Sonoma Valley. The senior fired an 83-pitch perfect game in a 1-0 win. He had 15 strikeouts and six groundouts and not a single ball went to the outfield. Analy reached the finals with a marathon 5-4 win over Sir Francis Drake that lasted 11 innings. The Tigers are looking for their third NCS title. They won the 2A Redwood Empire title in 2000 and also won it way back in 1921.

Division IV

No. 3 Piedmont (19-9) vs. No. 1 St. Mary’s (18-5), Friday, 5 p.m., Saint Mary’s College

The Highlanders are in the title game for the first time since winning the NCS 2A East Bay title in 2008. Their coach at the time was John Nelson, who is now at St. Mary’s. Piedmont and St. Mary’s are former Bay Shore Athletic League rivals, but in the new league configurations, the Highlanders are in the West Alameda County Conference-Shoreline League and the Panthers are in the Tri-County Athletic League-Rock Division. Piedmont was the champion of the WACC-Shoreline while St. Mary’s won the TCAL-Rock. The Panthers have been dangerous all season behind their duo of aces in pitchers Devin Mahoney and Kevin Flemer. Mahoney pitched St. Mary’s to its semifinal win over Moreau Catholic, lining up the Oregon State-bound Flemer for the championship game. It’s the fourth time in the past five years St. Mary’s has made it to the finals and it’s looking for its second championship in that stretch.

Division V

No. 2 Head-Royce (22-5) vs. No. 1 Valley Christian (19-7), Saturday, 4 p.m., Fremont Christian

These Bay Counties League-East rivals met three times, with Valley Christian winning twice. Head-Royce’s win came in the only game in the set in which ace Steven Farinaro, one of the top pitchers in the Bay Area, was on the mound. He’s likely to pitch in this championship game. The UCLA-signee has an 11-1 record, 0.81 ERA and has struck out 146 batters in 69 innings. Valley Christian, which won the BCL-East title, is looking for its first NCS crown. Head-Royce in the defending champ and has won two of the past four titles.


NCS baseball championship sites

There’s nothing set in stone yet, but the North Coast Section Division I baseball championship game will likely be at Saint Mary’s College on either Friday or Saturday. For Division II, if top seeded Casa Grande beats College Park (no easy task with Joe DeMers likely to be on the mound), that championship game would be played Saturday at Santa Rosa JC.


St. Mary’s Gabby Green picked for U.S. under-19 women’s basketball squad

Gabby Green of St. Mary’s High was selected to the U.S. under-19 women’s basketball team that will compete at this summer’s FIBA World Championships.

Green, a 6-foot-1 guard, earned a spot on the 12-player team after four days of trials at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs. The junior is one of just three high school players selected to the team, which is headlined by UConn’s Breanna Stewart.

Team USA is going for a fifth straight gold medal at the under-19 world championships. The tournament runs from July 18-28 in Lithuania.

Green is the reigning co-MVP of the Tri-County Athletic League-Rock Division and led St. Mary’s to the North Coast Section Division IV title, averaging 16.6 points, 6.9 rebounds, 4.2 steals and 3.9 assists per game.

One of the nation’s top recruits in the class of 2014, Green has not yet made her college decision.


NCS softball playoff brackets, Divisions V and VI

First round
No. 10 Urban (8-10) vs. No. 7 St. Joseph Notre Dame (12-7) at Leydecker Field, Alameda, 4 p.m.
No. 11 Calistoga (15-8) at No. 6 Athenian (11-6), 4 p.m.
No. 9 St. Bernard Catholic (11-13) vs. No. 8 University-S.F. (13-7) at Lang Field, San Francisco, 4 p.m.
Quarterfinals (Friday or Saturday)
St. Bernard/University winner at No. 1 Redwood Christian (22-0), TBA
No. 5 Valley Christian (11-5) vs. No. 4 College Prep (13-5) at Tom Bates Complex, Albany, 4 p.m.
Urban/St. Joseph Notre Dame winner at No. 2 St. Vincent (14-8), TBA
Calistoga/Athenian winner at No. 3 Holy Names (12-5), TBA
Saturday’s quarterfinal
No. 5 Anderson Valley (7-8) at No. 4 Tomales (5-6), 2 p.m.
May 29 semifinals
Anderson Valley/Tomales winner at No. 1 Ferndale (18-6), 4 p.m.
No. 3 California School for the Deaf (11-12) at No. 2 Laytonville (12-8), 4 p.m.


NCS softball playoff brackets, Divisions III and IV

Wednesday’s first round
No. 9 Tamalpais (15-9) vs. No. 8 Bishop O’Dowd (14-11) at Castro Valley Community Center, 7 p.m.
No. 10 Hercules (12-12) at No. 7 Campolindo (11-9), 4 p.m.
No. 11 Albany (7-20) at No. 6 Analy (18-6), 4 p.m.
Quarterfinals (Friday or Saturday)
Tamalpais/Bishop O’Dowd winner at No. 1 Terra Linda (21-4), TBA
No. 5 Acalanes (17-5) vs. No. 4 Sonoma Valley (19-5), TBA
Hercules/Campolindo winner at No. 2 San Marin (17-4), TBA
Albany/Analy winner at No. 3 Eureka (18-5-1), TBA
Wednesday’s first round
No. 9 Marin Catholic (16-8) at No. 8 Lower Lake (18-6), 4 p.m.
No. 13 Middletown (10-11) at No. 4 Fortuna (17-7), 4 p.m.
No. 12 San Rafael (9-16) at No. 5 Clear Lake (16-6), 4 p.m.
No. 10 Berean Christian (10-13) vs. No. 7 Moreau Catholic (11-9-1) at Larry Standley Field, 7 p.m.
No. 14 John Swett (10-10) at No. 3 Cardinal Newman (11-10), 4 p.m.
No. 11 Piedmont (15-10) at No. 6 St. Patrick-St. Vincent (16-10-2), 4 p.m.
Quarterfinals (Friday or Saturday)
Marin Catholic/Lower Lake winner at No. 1 Salesian (18-2), TBA
Berean Christian/Moreau Catholic winner at No. 2 Cloverdale (20-3), TBA


NCS softball playoff brackets, Divisions I and II

NCS Playoffs
First round
No. 11 San Leandro (14-7-1) at No. 6 Monte Vista (14-10), 4 p.m.
No. 9 Santa Rosa (16-7) at No. 8 San Ramon Valley (13-11), 4 p.m.
No. 10 Dougherty Valley (10-13) at No. 7 Heritage (13-9), 4 p.m.
Santa Rosa/San Ramon Valley winner at No. 1 Amador Valley (22-2), TBA
No. 5 Freedom (17-5-1) at No. 4 Castro Valley (20-6), TBA
Dougherty Valley/Heritage winner at No. 2 California (20-4), TBA
San Leandro/Monte Vista winner at No. 3 James Logan (23-1), TBA
First round
No. 15 Northgate (12-9) at No. 2 Alhambra (21-2-1), 4 p.m.
No. 16 San Lorenzo (14-11) at No. 1 Petaluma (24-1), 4 p.m.
No. 9 Rancho Cotate (14-9) at No. 8 Livermore (13-11), 4 p.m.
No. 13 Dublin (13-10) at No. 4 Concord 18-4), 4 p.m.
No. 12 Casa Grande (13-10) vs. No. 5 Pinole Valley (19-5) at Ellerhorst Elementary, 4 p.m.
No. 10 Carondelet (12-12) vs. No. 7 Arroyo (18-6) at Oak Grove Middle School, Concord, 4:30 p.m.
No. 14 American (12-11) at No. 3 Clayton Valley Charter (19-3), 4 p.m.
No. 11 Newark Memorial (14-10) at No. 6 Maria Carrillo (19-5), 4 p.m.