For those in Orange County looking for the best game on Tuesday in the second round of the playoffs—in baseball or softball—might we suggest filling the gas tank and heading to Simi Valley? Garden Grove Pacifica, ranked No. 2 in the nation by ESPN in softball, will play Simi Valley Royal, which is ranked No. 25.
Statewide, It's No. 2 vs. No. 8.
And, we remind you, this is a second-round game in the Southern Section Division 1 playoffs.
The Mariners, who were ranked No. 1 in the nation before losing their Empire League finale to Cypress, got three home runs in a 7-0 victory over Fullerton Rosary in the first round. It was the first time this season that Rosary had been shut out, but the Royals were unable to score against the pitching combo of Kaley Winegarner and Kaylee Carlson.
But unlike Rosary, Royal counters with one of the Southland's outstanding pitchers, Nancy Bowling, who has committed to Arizona. Bowling (25-2) has 240 strikeouts in 156 innings, and her 0.36 earned-run average is lower than both Winegarner's and Carlson's.
Not that Bowling is going to have an easy time of it. In Pacifica, Bowling is facing a team that bats a collective .348 and has 30 home runs, led by Nicole DeWitt's eight.
DeWitt has signed with Florida and is batting .528 with 41 runs and 24 RBIs. Hawaii Manoa-bound Kristina Akiona is batting .315 with 20 runs, 26 RBIs and seven homers; junior Rebecca Lee is batting .459 with 26 runs, 30 RBIs and four homers.
Pacifica has six players with at least 20 runs and 20 RBIs.
The second round is pretty tough on some of the top teams; not only does Pacifica have to go to Simi Valley, but third-seeded Orange Lutheran must play at Valencia, and No. 4 Los Alamitos must travel to Vista Murrieta.
Other second-round games in Division 1 are: Etiwanda at No. 1 Norco; Saugus at Santa Ana Foothill; Mater Dei at Anaheim Esperanza; Huntington Beach Edison at Anaheim Canyon; Corona Santiago at West Ranch.