Four local softball teams ready for CIF playoffs

The Burbank High and Bellarmine-Jefferson softball programs enter the CIF Southern Section playoffs with their share of momentum.

Coincidentally, both squads earned No. 2 seeds in their respective divisions.

For the Bulldogs, they are fresh off of capturing their first league championship since 1987, taking the title in the Pacific League.

The Guards enter the postseason after winning their fourth consecutive Santa Cruz League crown.

Burbank and Bell-Jeff will be joined in the playoffs by Burroughs and Providence. Games begin Tuesday with wild-card contests and the first round will get underway Thursday.

The Bulldogs (24-2), who ended the league campaign with a 14-0 record, will be at home at McCambridge Park in a Division III first-round game at 3:15 p.m. Thursday. Burbank will take on the winner of Tuesday's wild-card matchup between Pioneer Valley (17-8-1; No. 3 from the PAC 7 League) and El Rancho (11-11; at-large from the Del Rio League).

"We feel like our team is more than prepared for the playoffs," said Burbank Coach Nicole Drabecki, whose squad advanced to the division quarterfinals in 2012. "They have worked very hard all season to get where they are now and they are very focused heading into the playoffs."

If Burbank is successful in the first round, it will face either Carter or Sunny Hills in a second-round contest May 21.

The Bulldogs have an outstanding pitcher in sophomore Caitlyn Brooks.

"Because of our pitching, we know we all we need to do is score one run to win in the playoffs," Drabecki said. "If we win by just one run, that's all that matters.

"This team is ready for success in the playoffs and I really think that we can advance to the championship game."

Bell-Jeff (17-10, 7-0) moves up to Division VI after competing in Division VII. The Guards will be at home at Gross Park at 3:15 p.m. Thursday for a first-round contest. Bell-Jeff will face the winner of a Tuesday wild-card game pitting Holy Family (6-14; No. 3 from the Horizon League) against Frazier Mountain (14-7; at-large from the High Desert League).

The Guards have had a history of success in the playoffs the last two years in Division VII. In 2011 and 2012, Bell-Jeff advanced to the championship game, only to lose both years to Pomona Catholic — both by just one run.

"I really like our side of the bracket and where we're at in the playoffs," Bell-Jeff Coach Florencio Galindo said. "I think it really favors us and I like our chances at making a pretty good run. There are some tough teams on our side, like Kern Valley, but I think we'll do just fine in the new division."

Bell-Jeff's old nemesis, Pomona Catholic, is the No. 1 seed, and the Guards wouldn't have to play it until the finals.

Like Burbank, Bell-Jeff has a solid pitcher in junior Mia Acosta.

A win by the Guards in the first round would put them into a second-round contest May 21 against Pasadena Poly or Twentynine Palms.

After tying for second in the Pacific League, Burroughs (18-8, 10-4) goes into the Division III playoffs as the No. 4 team from the league. That earned the Indians at wild-card game at 3:15 p.m. Tuesday at Arroyo Grande (8-7; No. 3 from the San Andreas League).

Providence (7-12, 5-2) placed third in the Liberty League. The Pioneers open the Division VII postseason with a 3:15 p.m. game Tuesday on the road against Coastal Christian (7-6; No. 3 from the Coast Valley League).

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