When the Southern Section released its softball playoff pairings on Monday, only one Orange County softball team was seeded No. 1. It was Mission Viejo, which earned the prime location atop the Division 2 playoffs. The Diablos will open the playoffs in the first round on Thursday with a game against West Covina, which won a wild-card game to get into the bracket.
(At the bottom of the blog is a look at all seeded teams in softball)
Yet most of the Orange County representation was in Division 1, where Garden Grove Pacifica (26-2) was seeded No. 2, Orange Lutheran (25-4) was No. 3, and Los Alamitos (22-6) was No. 4. The top-seeded team was Norco (26-2), which has a victory over Pacifica but a loss to OLu.
Orange County teams went 3-1 in wild-card games on Tuesday, including Fullerton Rosary's 2-1 victory over Fountain Valley in nine innings. That moves Rosary (18-11) into the first round against Pacifica (26-2), and we can't help but think that it will make the Mariners grimace a little; Rosary has a tendency to play David to other teams' Goliath. It has three victories in the last dozen years over a team ranked No. 1 in the nation. The last time it happened was 2010 when the Royals took out top-seeded Corona Santiago in the first round. Pacifica, by the way, was No. 1 nationally as late as a week ago (more about that later) but are currently No. 2 -- behind Norco in the ESPNHS rankings.
Led by junior third baseman and St. John's commit Kaitlin Fitzgerald (.475, 4 HR), whose 32 RBIs is one shy of the school record set by Katie Chifcian in 2005, Rosary has not been shut out this season, and it has scored at least two runs in 23 games. As for Pacifica, it has won 14 games by shutout, but is coming off a season-ending 1-0 loss to Cypress. The Mariners, who also flex plenty of offense (25 games in which they have scored at least two runs) are led by young pitchers, sophomore Kaylee Carlson (who had perfect game through 19 batters against Cypress) and freshman Kaley Winegarner (who had a no-hitter in her last outing).
Make no mistake, Pacifica didn't draw the second-worst team in the playoffs as a first-round opponent.
Other Division 1 wild-card games involving O.C. teams included: Foothill, a 4-1 winner over Riverside Poly; Yorba Linda, a 6-3 winner over Agoura; and Cypress, a 10-0 loser to Eastvale Roosevelt.
Here's a look at the top four seeded teams in each of the other six divisions.
Division 2: 1. Mission Viejo (21-5), 2. Camarillo (23-5), 3. Long Beach Wilson (21-7), 4. Lakewood (25-5).
Division 3: 1. Chino Hills (30-3), 2. Burbank Burroughs (20-3), 3. Glendora St. Lucy's (21-5), 4. La Puente Bishop Amat (20-3).
Division 4: 1. San Bernardino Aquinas (24-2), 2. La Quinta (18-9), 3. Goleta Dos Pueblos (23-3), 4. Santa Ana Segerstrom (20-4).
Division 5: 1. La Canada (24-4-1), 2. Beaumont (22-4), 3. San Marino (16-8-1), 4. Montebello (18-4).
Division 6: 1. Redlands Citrus Valley (22-2), 2. Downey Calvary Chapel (16-8-1), 3. Carpinteria (17-5-1), 4. Lancaster Paraclete (16-9).
Division 7: 1. Pomona Catholic (21-7), 2. Burbank Bellarmine-Jefferson (20-5-2), 3. Rolling Hills Prep (13-1), 4. Canoga Park Faith Baptist (14-9).