As softball playoffs approach, a similar picture is emerging from last year as Canyon Del Oro and Ironwood Ridge High School continue to compete for the top spot in Division II play.
Currently, that spot belongs to the CDO Dorados, last year’s division champion under second-year head coach Stephanie Nicholson. Even without star pitcher Kayla Bonstrum, who graduated last year, another run to the state championship looks more than manageable for the Dorados, who currently sit undefeated in their division at 15-0.
Closely trailing are the Nighthawks from Ironwood Ridge, who sit fourth in the division with a 12-3 record. The Nighthawks, who slugged their way to the state semifinals last year, are on a tear of late, winning their last seven in a row and eight of their last 10.
In Division I play, the Marana Tigers (11-4) look to have secured a playoff spot. They are currently a 13 seed with three games remaining in the season. Also in Division I, Mountain View High School will need to improve if they are to make the playoffs, as they sit two places outside of contention, currently ranked 26th with a 7-9 division record.
In similar fashion, Pusch Ridge Christian Academy, Division IV, is a 26 seed with a 6-9 record and will need to improve to make the playoffs.
In baseball, Pusch Ridge Christian Academy is making a statement heading into the playoffs, currently ranked seventh in Division IV with a 10-5 record. The Lions have won five of their last six.
In Division II, Ironwood Ridge (13-3) is currently ranked 10th and has won five straight heading into Monday’s game against Pueblo.
Inner-district rival CDO (10-6) looks to have clenched a playoff spot, as they were ranked 19th heading into a regular-season closer against Salpointe Catholic.
Mountain View (9-7) finds itself just inside playoff contention, but will need to find a solution to a four-game losing streak when they close out the season with games against Ironwood Ridge and Rincon.
The Marana Tigers (8-7), coming off a five-game losing streak, are currently outside of playoff contention by four spots.
The Arizona Interscholastic Association dictates in Division I and II softball that the top-four seeded teams from each of the three sections, for a total of 12 teams, will earn an automatic bid to the state tournament. The final 12 spots of the 24 to enter state playoffs will be based on overall seeding. Teams ranked first through eighth receive a first round bye. The first two rounds of the tournament will be single elimination, reducing the field to eight teams. The final eight teams will then play double elimination. In Division IV play, single elimination applies for the entire tournament.
There will only be one championship game played in each division.
All team statistics are as of Monday morning.