NCS sets baseball, softball tournament fields

Michael Clark and the Cardinal Newman baseball team earned a No. 2 seed in the NCS Division 2 playoffs, which start Tuesday. (Crista Jeremiason / the Press Democrat)

Michael Clark and the Cardinal Newman baseball team earned a No. 2 seed in the NCS Division 2 playoffs, which start Tuesday. (Crista Jeremiason / the Press Democrat)

The Redwood Empire will be represented by 20 baseball and 18 softball teams in North Coast Section tournaments beginning on Tuesday.
There are six divisions, based on school enrollment, in each sport. The finals will be June 5-6.
When the brackets were released on Sunday, four area squads, including the two from Clear Lake, were assigned top seeds.
Besides the Lake County school, the other two area No. 1s are in Division 6. Rincon Valley Christian’s softball team has the top seed as does the Laytonville baseball team.
The Clear Lake baseball squad, the only undefeated team in the area with a 24-0 record, garnered the top spot in Division 5 and will host No. 16 Bay School of San Francisco on Tuesday.
The Cardinals softball team (17-6) has a bye in the opening round and will entertain the winner of Hoopa Valley-Valley Christian next weekend. Coach Zane Jensen thinks this might be the first time a Clear Lake baseball team has gotten the No. 1.
The Cardinals will have had a week between games but Jensen doesn’t think that will be a factor.
“We’ve had really good practices the last few days and we’ll practice on Memorial Day,” he said. “We’re excited and ready to play.”
Softball coach Gary Pickle thought his team (17-6) would get a No. 1 or No. 2 from the selection committee.
“Of course we were hoping for No. 1,” he said. “We played a good schedule and although we started the season shaky, we began playing better once league began.”
Moving to the boys side of the draw, four NBL teams and one from the SCL are in the Division 2 bracket.
The highest seed is No. 2 Cardinal Newman. The other teams are No. 4 Casa Grande, No. 5 Maria Carrillo, No. 8 Petaluma and No. 11 Ukiah. Newman coach T.J. McMahon was pleased with No. 2 after his team received a No. 15 last year.
“Lots of years I haven’t been able to say I’ve been happy,” he said. “This is the best seeding in my nine years coaching at Newman.”
McMahon believes his team moved up in the rankings in the past two weeks of the season. During that span, the Cardinals defeated Maria Carrillo twice and league champs Casa Grande once.
In Division 2 girls, the winners of the SCL and NBL will meet in the first round. No. 9 Ukiah will travel to No. 8 Petaluma for a game on Wednesday.
Ukiah coach Gary Venturi was fuming after he heard his team was placed No. 9.
“I’m mad and angry,” he said. “It was like we got no respect for winning the NBL.
“Not getting a home game takes away from what the girls accomplished. I feel bad for them. It was the first time in 18 years Ukiah won the NBL.”
Also in that bracket are No. 10 Rancho Cotate and No. 12 Montgomery.
Three teams from the SCL made it into girls Division 3.
Leading the way was No. 5 Analy followed by No. 9 Sonoma Valley and No. 11 Piner.
Division 4 features five Empire teams including No. 4 Cloverdale, No. 7 Cardinal Newman, No. 8 Lower Lake, No. 11 Middletown and No. 13 Healdsburg.
While the Clear Lake girls are atop Division 5, also getting in were No. 4 Calistoga, No. 5 St. Vincent and No. 11 Upper Lake.
Joining NCL 3 winner Laytonville in Division 6 is Rincon Valley Christian.
In Division 3 boys, the Empire will be represented by No. 6 Sonoma Valley, No. 9 Analy and No. 13 Piner.
Division 4 finds No. 7 El Molino, No. 10 Cloverdale, No. 14 Willits and No. 15 Kelseyville.
In Division 5 from the area, in addition to Clear Lake, are No. 6 St. Vincent and No. 10 Sonoma Academy.
Five of the eight spots in Division 6 belong to Empire teams: 1 Rincon Valley Christian, No. 3 Point Arena, No. 4 Tomales, No. 5 Archbishop Hanna and No. 7 Anderson Valley.