Softball notes: O.C. teams ready for playoff challenges
Time for the fun to begin.
The CIF-Southern Section released playoff brackets for all seven softball divisions Monday, and in four divisions, local teams were positioned at or near the top of the seedings.
The county’s top two ranked teams, Orange Lutheran and Los Alamitos, were awarded the second and third overall seeds in Division 1, sandwiched between No. 1 Etiwanda and No. 4 Norco.
La Habra’s 23-game winning streak vaulted it atop the Division 2 bracket, setting up a potential all-O.C. finale against Mission Viejo, the division’s No. 2 seed. The Diablos have been to consecutive Division 2 finals, including a runner-up finish last season.
Garden Grove and Savanna also came up one win shy of hoisting championship hardware in 2015, and both are again major players in Division 5 and 6, respectively. The Argonauts were given the No. 3 seed in Division 5, and the Rebels the No. 2 seed in Division 6.
“It’s just nice to know who you’re going to be playing and who you get to start preparing for,” Orange Lutheran coach Steve Miklos said Monday. “Ready or not, here we come.”
O.C. VS. O.C.
The first round starts Thursday with six games pitting area teams against one another.
In Division 1, El Modena travels to take on Cypress, while Canyon hosts Mater Dei in what is arguably the best opening-round game. The Comanches’ reward for winning the Crestview League is a date with the Monarchs, a team that has won 22 games, finished third in the Trinity League and had runner-up finishes in the Dave Kops Tournament of Champions, the Best of the West Tournament and the Alan Dugard Woodbridge Classic.
The North Hills League playoff teams also received a pair of tough draws in Division 2. Foothill will be host to Fullerton and Villa Park travels to Capistrano Valley in a battle of second-place finishers.
Aliso Niguel and Sonora also play Thursday, while Woodbridge and Laguna Hills round out the county vs. county first-round matchups.
FOUR INTO THE DANCE
The Trinity League and the South Coast League each had four squads see its season extended when brackets were released Monday.
In addition to Orange Lutheran, Santa Margarita and Mater Dei, Rosary was awarded one of Division 1’s two at-large berths. The Royals went 3-1 in the final week of the regular season, their lone loss being against Mater Dei in a tiebreaker game Thursday.
“Rosary’s scrappy,” Miklos said. “They can flat out hit. That game against Chino should be a good one… The Trinity League should do well in the first round.”
Dana Hills received an at-large bid in Division 2. Like Rosary, the Dolphins dropped a tiebreaker game Thursday for the third guaranteed playoff spot in league. Dana Hills blew an 8-1 lead against Aliso Niguel and lost 9-8 in extras, but will have an opportunity to redeem itself when it travels to Simi Valley in the first round.
Garden Grove and Savanna have been mainstays atop the Division 5 and 6 polls this season, and both were seeded accordingly Monday.
Each lost in the CIF finals last year, and to get over the hump this season, both squads might see the same foe come championship weekend.
Defending champs St. Bonaventure and Paraclete were awarded the No. 1 seeds in their respective divisions, and are likely foes for the Argonauts and Rebels.
“Everything we did this season has been geared toward playing Paraclete,” Savanna coach Mike Willey said. “Our goal has been to do one percent better than last year.”
Championship games for all seven divisions will be played at Bill Barber Park in Irvine on June 3 and 4.
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