THE NORTH COAST SECTION DOES IT AGAIN
One of the frustrating things about the North Coast Section playoffs is the lack of respect for the teams from this area. It is now something that is taken for granted by the local coaches.
Maybe it wasn’t just the lack of respect; it is that the North Coast Section doesn’t pay attention to this area. If there was any doubt about that, it ended with the seeding for the North Coast Section Baseball Playoffs.
The strange thing is, quite accidentally, that the blunder actually helped one local team and hurt the other.
The debate is in Division 2 baseball, and it is not the only one, it is just the most obvious.
It is all about the seeding of Cardinal Newman and Casa Grande. Cardinal Newman received a No. 2, while Casa Grande is at No. 4. That is despite Casa Grande winning the North Bay League Regular Season championship and taking two out of three from Cardinal Newman. At first glance, it appears that the committee gave to much weight on the latest game, which was last Friday in which Cardinal Newman defeated Casa Grande 2-0 in the NBL Post Season Championship game.
Apparently the NBL bylaws state that in baseball, unlike other sports, the NCS automatic qualifier is the NBL post season champion. That fact may have confused the committee and made the seeding skewed in Newman’s favor. It remains to be seen whether or not the committee noticed that Casa Grande was the league champion and beat number one Redwood head to head. Most of the coaches polled had Casa and Redwood number 1 and 2.
Cardinal Newman has been given given the asterisk in the NCS bracket, which is worded as going to go to the designated league champion. Perhaps the wording is wrong, if the asterisk is supposed to go to the automatic league qualifier. According to NCS Commissioner Gil Lemon, Casa Grande could have appealed within 6 hours of the bracket posting. He was not sure on Monday morning if the NCS office had received an appeal, which would have had to have come from Casa Grande’s Principal.
The rule was put in place in the NBL back in the day when only 8 teams qualified and the NCS playoffs were split between North Bay and East bay. It was designed as a reward for a 3 or 4 seed that might win the post season tourney and yet not qualify for NCS otherwise. It was never revisited after the format was changed to 16 teams including both the North Bay and East Bay.
Almost the exact same scenario played out on the softball side of the NBL. The regular season champion Ukiah, lost the post season tournament championship game to Rancho Cotate. However by rule Ukiah is the designated league champion in the playoffs. The Wildcats actually lost two of three to Rancho Cotate and are still seeded higher than them (more on that below).
Actually, Casa Grande has a strong case for a No. 1 seed. That went to Redwood, who finished 23-3 overall. Back on February 28th, when this season was just a baby, Casa Grande defeated Redwood 5-4 in a game that went nine innings.
I always thought pre-league head to head carries too much weight, when it comes to playoff seeding. But that is the way it has always been. Apparently, that isn’t the case for this.
It gets tiring complaining about it, but a bright side is, now we know, this area isn’t paid attention too.
There are four North Bay League team in the bracket, three in the top five seed. The other two besides Cardinal Newman and Casa Grande are No. 5 Maria Carrillo and No. 11 Ukiah.
Petaluma is also in Division 2 in baseball, and at No. 8 got a first round home game.
Three teams from the Sonoma County League made it. The league champion and No. 6 Sonoma Valley is the only one that has a home game. Analy and Piner go on the road. Analy got the dreaded No. 9, which mean Round One on the road and if they win they will probably have to go to No. 1 Acalanes.
No. 7 El Molino gets a home game against No. 10 Cloverdale.
Two other NCL I teams are in and heading on the road. They are No. 14 Willits and No. 15 Kelseyville.
Well at least they got this right. Clear Lake rides its 24-0 regular season to a No. 1 seed.
The two teams that battled it out for the NCL II championship are also in the division with league champion St. Vincent at No. 6 and second place Sonoma Academy at No. 10.
This is an eight team division and five of them are local including No. 1 Rincon Valley Christian.
A first round matchup features No. 5 Archbishop Hanna at No. 4 Tomales.
No. 3 Point Arena gets a home game, while No. 7 Anderson Valley goes on the road.
This bracket raised some eyebrows too. The NBL and SCL league champions will meet in the first round, with No.9 Ukiah at No. 8 Petaluma. Both teams were higher in the power ranking and have a combined record of 44-8. That is the best record of any Division 2 first round matchup and the only game between two twenty game winners.
Two other North Bay League teams, No. 10 Rancho Cotate and No. 12 Montgomery, have road games.
According to the power rankings, Ukiah, Petaluma and Rancho Cotate all would get home games.
But then the area lack of respect is old news.
The three teams that finished behind Petaluma in the SCL race are in.
At No. 5, Analy gets a first round home game. No. 9 Sonoma Valley and No. 11 Piner have road games.
The area is well represented with five teams. The highest seed is No. 4 Cloverdale, who hosts No. 13 Healdsburg in the first round.
No. 7 Cardinal Newman and No. 8 Lower Lake got home games. No. 11 Middletown goes on the road.
It is a clean sweep for Clear Lake. Like the baseball team, the softball team gets a No. 1. Along with it they get a first round BYE. They are the only local team to get a first round bye. That is mainly because most brackets are full.
The Calistoga-St. Vincent NCL II tie-breaker game turned out to have an effect. Calistoga gets a No. 4 seed, and would host No. 5 St. Vincent in the second round if both teams win first round games.
No. 11 Upper Lake has to go on the road.
This is the smallest bracket in either baseball or softball with three teams. No. 3 Potter Valley is at No. 2 Rincon Valley Christian on Tuesday. The winner travels to No. 1 Laytonville for the championship game.
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