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PLAYOFF PREVIEW: The postseason push continues
The postseason continues to heat up for Mid-Valley area softball and baseball programs as six local squads take the field today.
Two Sac-Joaquin Section baseball programs and four Northern Section softball teams will make their push toward section championships today.
Here's a look at what's on the docket:
SAC-JOAQUIN SECTION BASEBALL
Colfax (18-10) vs. Yuba City (21-6)
The Honkers take the field for the first time since May 4 today against the Falcons at the Dan McAuliffe Ballparks in Sacramento at 4 p.m.
Colfax defeated Vanden 8-1 in Monday's outbracket game, the Falcons' first home playoff game in 20 years, to earn a spot in this bracket.
Yuba City hasn't lost a game since April 4 after completing an undefeated run through the Tri-County Conference for its eighth consecutive conference title.
Colfax finished in second place in the Pioneer Valley League this season.
Y.C. senior right-hander Zach Oakley will get the ball for the Honkers today.
The All-TCC selection and Optimist All-Star Game pick is 7-1 this season with a 1.40 ERA in 50 innings pitched.
Colfax will counter with senior right-hander Austin Young.
Yuba City has won at least one playoff game in each of the past eight seasons, including four straight section championships from 2007-10.
The last time the Honkers were eliminated in the first round was 2004 when they competed in Division I.
Last season, the Honkers defeated Whitney 9-0 before being swept by Rodriguez in a best-of three series.
Today's victor faces the winner of a game between El Camino and Benicia in a three-game series beginning on Saturday at 3 p.m.
River Valley (22-7) vs. Placer (18-7)
The Falcons made history on Monday with the program's first ever playoff win.
River Valley defeated Whitney 6-5, erasing a 5-1 deficit and mounting a three-run inning in the bottom of the seventh.
That victory in the outbracket game earned the Falcons a spot in today's bracket against Pioneer Valley League champion Placer.
Getting past the Hillmen in tonight's 7 p.m. matchup will require just as much fervor.
Placer ace Ryan Mason will take the ball for the Hillmen and he hasn't lost a game this season.
The senior 6-foot-6 right-hander is 7-0 this year with a 1.81 ERA in 54 innings. Mason has also recorded 77 strikeouts.
Mason has already signed a national letter of intent to play Division-I baseball at the University of California, Berkeley and is also a prospect in the upcoming MLB Draft in June.
River Valley senior Austin Spencer, the hero on Monday, will get the ball for the Falcons tonight.
He's 3-2 this season with a 4.40 ERA and 28 strikeouts in 282⁄3 innings pitched.
The winner of this game will face the winner of today's matchup between Rodriguez and Pioneer.
That best-of-three series begins on Saturday in Sacramento.
NORTHERN SECTION SOFTBALL
No. 4 West Valley (12-9-2) at No. 1 Wheatland (20-8)
It took four innings, but the Pirates' bats came to life against Willows on Tuesday in their 8-3, first-round victory.
Wheatland faces West Valley today at 4 p.m. in a rematch of last season's epic section semifinal.
The Pirates bested the Eagles 5-4 in 12 innings to earn a berth in last year's D-IV title game.
West Valley was co-champion of the Northern Athletic League with No. 2-seed Anderson.
The Eagles knocked out Sutter in Tuesday's first-round game.
No. 3 East Nicolaus (15-10) at No. 2 Colusa (15-6-1)
In this local matchup, the winner will earn a spot in Saturday's Northern Section championship game.
The Spartans and RedHawks faced each other once already this season and Colusa came out on top 7-5.
Amanda Taylor is the heart and soul of the East Nicolaus squad.
Not only is she the team's ace pitcher with a 1.81 ERA and 171 strikeouts in 143 innings pitched this season, she's also batting .527 with six home runs and 26 RBIs.
Colusa sophomore Sophia Garcia has pitched 133 innings this season for the RedHawks with 194 strikeouts and a 1.21 ERA.
Junior shortstop Ashleigh Biggs is Colusa's top offensive threat with a .538 batting average, 13 extra-base hits and 25 RBIs.
No. 3 Big Valley (17-4) at No. 2 Maxwell (19-1)
The Panthers' quest for a third consecutive Northern Section championship got off to a great start with Tuesday's 12-1 victory over fellow Colusa County program Princeton.
Maxwell needs a victory over Big Valley for a spot in Saturday's title game.
The Panthers are batting .488 as a team and have received solid pitching from junior Allison Costa.
Costa has 126 strikeouts in 108 innings pitched this season with a 0.65 ERA.