A quick look at the seedings in the Southern Section 3-A softball playoffs indicates the power base is outside Orange County.
Chino Don Lugo (22-1) is the division's top-seeded team. Santa Fe Springs Santa Fe (23-2) is No. 2. La Mirada (19-4) is third and Mission Hills Alemany (17-3) is fourth.
Of the county's six entrants, Woodbridge would appear to have the best chance, but to reach the semifinals, the Warriors would have to beat Don Lugo in the quarterfinals.
For the other five, the outlook is bleak.
Woodbridge (20-6) won its 10th consecutive league championship--this one in the Sea View--riding the pitching of Stacy Washington and the hitting of Alison Johnsen. Washington is 9-1 with a 0.44 earned-run average, and Johnsen is batting .333. Pitcher Alison Ward has a 10-5 record and a 0.37 ERA.
Woodbridge plays host to Torrance (16-6) in a first-round game at 3 p.m. Friday.
University, which finished second to Woodbridge in the Sea View race, features pitcher Shareen Patton, who is 14-4 with 94 strikeouts.
Jennifer Whiteley, a second baseman, is University's leading hitter with a .339 average.
The Trojans (20-6) play at South Torrance (23-1) Friday.
Saddleback (13-10) and Trabuco Hills (17-11) don't have remarkable records coming into the playoffs, but do have overpowering pitching. And that means the teams could pull some surprises.
Saddleback's Desi Abrego has a 12-7 record with 211 strikeouts and three perfect games. She is also hitting .338 with five home runs.
Brianna Burkman of Trabuco Hills has a 13-4 record with a 0.53 ERA and 166 strikeouts. Her catcher, Christy Lunceford, leads the Mustangs with a .427 average and 29 RBIs.
Lunceford's older sister, Linda, is a former Times' All-County selection now playing at Cal State Long Beach.
Saddleback plays at Riverside Arlington (19-3) and Trabuco Hills plays at Santa Fe Springs St. Paul (22-2).
Defending champion: El Toro.
Top teams: Don Lugo (22-1), Santa Fe (23-2), La Mirada (19-4), Alemany (17-3), Woodbridge (20-6), University (20-6), Trabuco Hills (17-11), South Hills (18-4).
Dark horse: St. Paul (22-2).
Key players: Woodbridge's Stacy Washington (pitcher) is 9-1 with a 0.44 ERA; Alison Johnsen (center fielder) is hitting .333; University's Jennifer Whiteley (second baseman) is hitting .339; Shareen Patton (pitcher/infielder) is 14-4 with 94 strikeouts; Saddleback's Desi Abrego (pitcher) is 12-7 with 211 strikeouts and three perfect games and batting .338 with five home runs; Estancia's Leah Braatz (third base) is hitting .512; Santa Fe's Lisa Shandy (pitcher) is 19-2 with 186 strikeouts and three perfect games; Laura Berg (catcher) is hitting .534 with three home runs and 27 RBIs; Alemany's Krista Gomez (shortstop) has set a school career records with 15 home runs, 94 RBIs, 108 hits and 92 runs; St. Paul's Kristy Fuentes (pitcher) is 21-2 with a 0.50 ERA and 247 strikeouts; Torrance's Suzanne Radcliffe (first baseman) is hitting .500 with five home runs and 22 RBIs.
Noteworthy: Don Lugo, which lost to El Toro, 1-0, in last season's championship game, returns as the No. 1-seeded team in 3-A. The Conquistadores have been the division's top-ranked team for most of the season.