NCS baseball, softball playoffs arrive: Win or go home

By MICHAEL COIT
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

The new prep baseball and softball seasons open today with Empire teams in the section playoffs and North Bay League squads face a challenging climb against some of the East Bay’s best.

On the baseball side, most large school teams schedule early season contests against East Bay schools to prepare for the North Coast Section playoffs. Familiar squads are sprinkled through the brackets.

“It gets us ready. That’s why we schedule those games,” said Rancho Cotate coach John Morrow.
Softball’s section bests often come down to matchups of the best Empire and East Bay teams in the final rounds. Expect pinpoint pitching and close contests.

“You put as many runs on the board as you can. It’s good pitching mostly,” said Santa Rosa High softball coach Jeff Pratt.

Win and advance is the task.

Going on the road to play Dougherty Valley, the Rancho Cotate squad faces a challenge half the teams in brackets must work through — win away from home.

While the Cougars lost to Dougherty Valley in the season’s first contest, Rancho Cotate is pitching, hitting and fielding better weeks later. The game approach is focused on throwing strikes and catching the ball to stay in games.

“Runs will be at a premium. That’s what we’re expecting,” Morrow said.

What teams can’t do is put more pressure on themselves, recognizing a deep playoff run demands inspired play.

“It’s a grind. We’re ready to get at it,” Morrow said.

Section teams have a quick turn around from league playoffs. The focus in softball changes from squads you know to opponents who can end your season.

Santa Rosa approaches its road game at Livermore today much as a travel contest on a championship Sunday. The opponent is a mystery.

“It’s win or go home,” Pratt said.

What teams know is the level of competition is high.

“Sometimes you play better and just step up,” Pratt said.

You can reach Staff Writer Michael Coit at 521-5470 or mike.coit@pressdemocrat.com.

SCHEDULE

TUESDAY

High school baseball

Division 2 playoffs

No. 15 Rancho Cotate at No. 2 Dougherty Valley, 4 p.m.

No. 14 Washington at No. 3 Casa Grande, 4 p.m.

Division 4 playoffs

No. 9 McKinleyville at No. 8 St. Helena, 4 p.m.

No. 14 Clear Lake at No. 3 Salesian, 4 p.m.

Division 5 playoffs

No. 11 Upper Lake at No. 6 Athenian, 4 p.m.

Division 6 playoffs

No. 6 Potter Valley at No. 3 Point Arena, 4 p.m.

 

High school softball

Division 2 playoffs

No. 9 Clayton Valley at No. 8 Maria Carrillo, 4 p.m.

No. 13 Dublin at No. 4 Rancho Cotate, 4 p.m.

No. 14 San Lorenzo at No. 3 Petaluma, 4 p.m.

Division 4 playoffs

No. 9 Fort Bragg at No. 8 Cardinal Newman, 4 p.m.

 

Wednesday

 

High school baseball

Division 2 playoffs

No. 8 Dublin at No. 9 Cardinal Newman, 4 p.m.

No. 12 Maria Carrillo at No. 5 College Park, 4 p.m.

No. 6 Petaluma at No. 11 Alameda, 4 p.m.

Division 3 playoffs

No. 13 Hercules at No. 4 Sonoma Valley, 7 p.m.

Division 4 playoffs

No. 13 Fort Bragg at No. 4 Justin-Siena, 4 p.m.

No. 6 Healdsburg vs. No. 11 Kelseyville at Mendocino College, 7 p.m.

Division 6 playoffs

No. 7 San Francisco Waldorf at No. 2 Tomales, 4 p.m.

 

High school softball

Division 1 playoffs

No. 9 Santa Rosa vs. No. 8 Livermore at Granada High, 4 p.m.

Division 2 playoffs

No. 15 Casa Grande at No. 2 Alhambra, 4 p.m.

No. 10 Ukiah at No. 7 Arroyo, 4 p.m.

Division 4 playoffs

No. 12 Lower Lake at No. 5 Moreau Catholic, 7 p.m.

Division 5 playoffs

No. 6 Holy Names at No. 11 Calistoga, 4 p.m.

Division 6 playoffs

No. 4 Anderson Valley at No. 1 Ferndale, 4 p.m.

No. 3 Rincon Valley Christian at No. 2 Laytonville, 4 p.m.

 

Friday or Saturday

High school softball

Division 3 playoffs

No. 5 Campolindo at No. 4 Analy, TBA

Division 4 playoffs

No. 9 Fort Bragg/No. 8 Cardinal Newman at No. 1 Clear Lake, TBA

No. 6 Piedmont/No. 11 Arcata at No. 3 Cloverdale, TBA

Division 5 playoffs

No. 8 University/No. 9 Head-Royce at No. 1 St. Vincent, TBA

 

Saturday

High school baseball

Division 5 playoffs

No. 5 Stuart Hall at No. 4 St. Vincent, 1 p.m.