By Ray Hamill — The North Coast Section playoff seedings and brackets will be announced for both baseball and softball this weekend, with as many as 13 local teams expected to be included, including a handful that can expect a No. 1 or 2 seed.
According to the MaxPrep rankings, three Humboldt-Del Norte League teams are No. 1 in their respective brackets, and three more are No. 2.
Big 5 champions McKinleyville go into this afternoon’s H-DNL baseball tournament game with arch rivals Arcata as the top-ranked team in Division IV, with the Tigers right on their heels at No. 2.
Expect both to be among the top seeds for the postseason, although it remains to be seen if either has sufficiently impressed the Bay Area teams, who are notorious locally for selling the H-DNL teams short when it comes to postseason seedings for baseball.
South Fork, meanwhile, is the defending Division-VI champion in both baseball and softball, and both Cubs teams will be favored to repeat in 2019.
Both are ranked No. 1 in their respective brackets and should each get the top seed, which would also ensure a home championship game if they get that far.
McKinleyville softball is also highly ranked at No. 2 in Division IV, behind only unbeaten Cloverdale (22-0).
The Panthers are enjoying a breakout season after clinching their fist Big 5 crown in eight years, and will be looking to add just their second NCS title in softball and a first since 1988.
St. Bernard’s baseball is also poised to compete for a Division-V championship.
The Crusaders are No. 2 in their bracket, according to MaxPreps, behind only Berean Christian, and have the sort of pitching depth that can carry them to a first section crown since 2015.
The Hoopa girls should also be in contention in Division-V softball.
The Warriors are No. 3 in their bracket, two spots ahead of Little 4 rivals St. Bernard’s at No. 5, and appear to be peaking at an opportune time, having won 10 of their past 12 games.
Both Eureka teams are ranked No. 5 by MaxPreps, and should be in the mix in a pretty loaded Division III.
Arcata softball, which is also enjoying a breakout campaign, is No. 6 in Division IV, while both Ferndale teams are No. 9 in Division V.
All in all, the H-DNL has seven teams ranked in the top three in their respective brackets and nine in the top five.
And that should give most of them a favorable seed and a home game or two for next week’s tournament.
The seedings will be released on Saturday.