It has been another excellent season for the local softball teams as six of the seven in the area qualified for the postseason. On Friday, the CIAC released the tournament brackets so now each team knows their potential path to a state title.
Three of the local teams to qualify are in Class LL and that is also where the local team with the best overall record is. Southington finished the regular season with just two losses compared to 18 wins but are only the sixth seed because it lost the lottery tiebreaker to both Bristol Eastern and Stamford.
The Blue Knights will look to rebound from losing to Amity in the semifinals last year and make another run to a state title. The first opponent for Southington will be No. 27 seed New Canaan who finished the season 10-10. If the Blue Knights take care of business they will host the winner of the No. 11 vs. No. 22 matchup between Darien and New Britain.
The Hurricanes finished the regular season 11-8 to earn the 22nd seed but they scuffled to the finish due to injuries and several other factors after a 6-1 start in which they were regularly blowing out opponents.
On the other side of the Class LL bracket is Newington who also enters the tournament in a bit of a lull. The Indians finished the regular season with a 15-5 record, which earned them the 12th seed, but lost three of their final four games.
Fortunately for Newington, its first-round opponent, 21st-seeded Enfield, is limping into the tournament as well. The Eagles went 12-8 during the regular season but they lost five of their final six regular season games.
If Newington protects its home field in the first round on Tuesday it will have a second-round matchup against the winner of No. 5 seed Stamford and No. 28 seed Danbury.
Each of the other three classes have one local team in the bracket. Berlin is that team in Class L and it was able to turn a 12-8 regular season into the No. 15 seed. The Redcoats will host 18th-seeded Jonathan Law on Tuesday night in their first-round matchup. Jonathan Law finished the regular season 9-11.
The winner of the Berlin, Jonathan Law game will take a road trip to take on second-seeded Nonnewaug, who finished the regular season 17-3.
Over in Class M is Goodwin Tech, the biggest surprise of the local teams. The Gladiators started off the season 1-8 but recovered to finish 9-11 and earn the 25th seed. Goodwin Tech has a tough draw though, as it will face off with eighth-seeded East Hampton in the first round. The Bellringers finished the regular season 14-6 and won seven of their final eight regular season games.
If the Gladiators were to pull off the upset a road date with either Watertown or WCA would take place on Wednesday.
Also in Class M is the only local softball team to have not qualified for the postseason, and that is Plainville. The Blue Devils finished the regular season 5-15.
The final local team to have qualified for the postseason is Innovation as it earned the 11th seed in Class S. The Ravens’ first-round game will be a rubber match as MLC earned the 22nd seed with its 10-10 regular season record.
In the first meeting between the two teams Innovation dominated en route to a 20-5 victory. The second meeting a couple of weeks later though was the exact opposite. MLC routed Innovation in early May 19-3.
Both teams enter the game having won four of the final five regular season games so it is certainly a game to watch. The winner will face the victor of the No. 6 vs. No. 27 matchup between Norwich Tech and Capital Prep on Wednesday.
Michael Woolfson can be reached at 860-801-5203 or email@example.com
On Twitter: @bigwoolf5