May 18, 2010
Prep softball playoff primer: Divisions IV, VI and VII

Division IV
FAVORITE
â–  Bear River (20-4):
The Bruins may have lost out on a fourth-straight Pioneer Valley League title by losing twice to Lincoln, but there's no substitute for experience in the playoffs and to that end they must be considered the favorite. Four-year middle infield tandem Katie Mathis (.485 batting average, 24 runs) and Courtney Ceo (.427 batting average, 30 runs) just recently won their 100th game as Bruins.
CONTENDERS
â–  Lincoln (22-3-1): Not only are Stephanie Tofft (.631 batting average) and Nikoli Sharp (.565 batting average) feared at the plate, they've also combined for 41 steals.
â–  Cosumnes Oaks (20-5): The Wolfpack is bursting with confidence after a final week of the season in which it beat Center twice to claim the Capital Valley Conference championship. Power-hitting first baseman Taylor McLanahan (.519 batting average, 26 RBIs four home runs) has a knack for getting clutch hits while pitcher Madison Fish (13-4, 1.14 ERA, 154 strikeouts; .447 batting average, four home runs) is a multi-dimensional threat.
DARK HORSE
â–  Center (20-8): The Cougars definitely have to be smarting after surrendering a Capital Valley Conference it appeared poised to win until the last week of the regular season. Senior catcher Hayley Miles (.500 batting average, 29 RBIs) is tied for the section lead in home runs with seven.

Division VI
FAVORITE
â–  Capital Christian (15-5):
The Cougars seek their first-ever softball section championship behind the hard-hitting sister-sister battery of Kendall (catcher) and Shelby (pitcher) Gill. Kendall, a senior, leads Capital Christian in batting average (.588), runs (38) and hits (30) while Shelby, a sophomore, is the leader in RBIs (38), home runs (four). In the circle Shelby is 12-3 with a 0.86 ERA and 148 strikeouts.
CONTENDER
â–  Waterford (21-1):
The Wildcats' lone loss came back on March 6 to Modesto.
DARK HORSE
â–  Lindhurst (17-9):
Outside of its relatively weak Golden Empire League, the Blazers tested themselves with multiple teams in Divisions II and IV.

Division VII
FAVORITE
â–  Elliot Christian (21-5):
The hot-hitting Eagles seek a three-peat behind the bats of Erica Musgrave (.492 batting average, 20 RBIs, three home runs), Monica Rodriguez (.463 batting average, 34 RBIs) and Katie Kishi (.457 batting average, 34 RBIs).
CONTENDER
â–  Millenium-Tracy (16-8-1):
The Falcons are the only team in the D-VII field to come within two runs of Elliot Christian, something it did in a 2-0 loss to the Eagles on March 26. Millenium hits .475 as a team led by Kelsea Eakin (.535 batting average, 22 RBIs, one home run) and Jessica Ochoa (.521 batting average 16 RBIs, two home runs).
DARK HORSE
â–  Big Valley Christian-Modesto (9-4):
Runner-up the last two years, if Big Valley is to get back to the championship game it would have to go through Elliot Christian in the second round to do so. Rebecca Hernandez (9-3, 1.36 ERA, 75 strikeouts) and Christina Azevedo (.419 batting average, 15 RBIs) lead the way for the Lions.



About the Prep blog

Bee staff writers Joe Davidson and Bill Paterson provide news, analysis and insight on the area high school sports scene in their Prep Blog. Have a question to ask them? Send them an email any time at jdavidson@sacbee.com or bpaterson@sacbee.com.

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