Softball playoffs: Connolly breaks down Division 2
2014 champion: Mission Viejo
Top-four seeded teams: 1. Mission Viejo (26-0); 2. Yucaipa (26-3); 3. Valley View of Moreno Valley (21-6); 4. Agoura (19-9)
O.C. teams: Aliso Niguel (15-11-1); Capistrano Valley (17-11); Foothill (16-12); Fullerton (21-8); La Habra (19-8); Mission Viejo (26-0); Sunny Hills (17-10); Villa Park (16-9)
Analysis: All signs point to yet another rematch between top-seeded Mission Viejo and second-seeded Yucaipa in the finals. Those two teams previously squared off in the Dave Kopps Tournament of Champions and the Michelle Carew Classic, with the Diablos escaping both outings with one-run victories. Taylor McQuillin and Brooke Bolinger are the division’s top aces, and a third encounter between the two would be must-see action. Playing in both team’s favor is the three-week playoff schedule. Having to pitch only twice a week means McQuillin and Bolinger will both be fresh for all their postseason outing.
To get back to the finals, Mission Viejo could very well matchup with Sunny Hills in the quarterfinals. In addition to McQuillin and Alyssa Palomino, Lancers shortstop Shay Knighten (Oklahoma) is one of the country’s most sought after recruits, making Sunny Hills a tough out for whoever it is they’ll play.
Don’t sleep on either Foothill or Villa Park coming out of the North Hills League. The Knights topped Los Alamitos this season, while the Spartans knocked off several quality opponents at the Tournament of Champions in Bullhead City, AZ.