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Top seeds earned by Mission Viejo, Savanna
After opening the softball season and finishing it ranked atop their respective divisions, Mission Viejo and Savanna were rewarded for their consistency Monday as both teams were given top overall seeds for the playoffs.
The Division 2 Diablos (26-0) and Division 6 Rebels (27-1) finished with the two best regular-season records in Orange County, and both appear primed to make runs at CIF-SS championships.
Mission Viejo won its first CIF-SS softball title last May and is looking to repeat as Division 2 champs. Savanna is seeking its first softball championship.
“This is the best season a team has ever had in athletics at Savanna,” Rebels coach Mike Willey explained. “Hopefully we can parlay that into a championship.”
While Savanna is unfamiliar with most of its possible playoff opponents, Mission Viejo could potentially see a familiar foe on championship weekend in Yucaipa, the division’s No. 2 seed.
The Diablos have beaten the Thunderbirds twice this season, edging out the Citrus Belt League champs by one run in the Dave Kops Tournament of Champions and the Michelle Carew Classic.
“It’s very possible we could see them again,” Mission Viejo coach Troy Ybarra said. “I’m not going to believe third time’s a charm, though, because that’s not helping us at all.”
Santiago of Corona garnered the top seed in Division 1, while Pacifica (20-5-1) and Los Alamitos (23-6) were given the second and third seeds.
The Mariners – who won the 2014 Division 1 crown – open their title defense at home against Upland on Thursday, which could lead to a rematch with Valencia of Valencia in the second round. The Vikings topped Pacifica, 5-4, in the Carew Classic in early April.
“I looked at (the bracket) and tried to figure out who got the tougher draw,” Pacifica coach Mark Campbell said. “But the more you look into it, it seems to be pretty spread out. This division is just so deep, nobody has it easy. You got to beat them all, right?”
On the surface, the Crestview League appeared to collectively get one of the toughest draws. Canyon could play a league champion from the second round on, Yorba Linda has to go on the road to take on a talented Etiwanda squad, and El Modena – which earned one of the division’s two at-large bids – opens the playoffs against Mater Dei, the Trinity League champs.
Unlike last season, when the postseason was condensed into a two-week schedule, the games will be spread out over three weeks. Games will be held on Tuesdays and Thursdays starting with today’s wild-card round.
Championship games for all divisions will be held June 5-6 at Bill Barber Park in Irvine.
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