The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Todd Stanford

May 26, 2011

Todd Stanford on high school softball: Time to get picky

Here they are, hot off the presses: my picks for the 2011 playoffs. Some would say that I cheated by waiting for four first-round games to take place Wednesday before I made my picks. I would argue that my column runs on Thursdays, so my hands were tied. So, without further ado, here we go.

Class AAA

Number of teams in district: 8

Teams in field: 4

Top seed: Jersey Shore

Lowest seed: Danville

2010 champion: Jersey Shore

Who goes to states: Only the champion

Predicted winner: Milton

Runner-up: Jersey Shore

Dark horse: Danville

Interesting stuff you should know: As far as AAA schools are concerned, this is a small district. Nevertheless, both Milton and Jersey Shore have appeared in state title games in recent years: Milton in 2008 and Jersey Shore last year. Both teams took silver. ... Shamokin is in the playoffs for the first time since 2006, when the Indians were in Class AA. ... Since District 4 started hosting its own Class AAA tournament in 2005, only three teams have won: Shikellamy (2005), Milton (2006 to 2009) and Jersey Shore (2010).

Class AA

Number of teams in district: 15

Teams in field: 12

Top seed: Central Columbia

Lowest seed: Hughesville

2010 champion: Troy

Who goes to states: The finalists

Predicted winner: Central Columbia

Runner-up: Warrior Run

Dark horse: Troy

Interesting stuff you should know: Central Columbia and fourth-seeded Mifflinburg could meet in the semifinals next week. The two teams split their regular-season meetings. ... Central Columbia, second-seeded Warrior Run, Mifflinburg and third-seeded Columbia-Montour Vo-Tech have the first-round byes; they won't play until Friday in the quarterfinals. ... Central has played in the final of this tournament in three of the past five years.

Class A

Number of teams in district: 18

Teams in field: 8

Top seed: Northeast Bradford

Lowest seed: East Juniata

2010 champion: Montgomery

Who goes to states: The finalists

Predicted winner: Southern Columbia

Runner-up: Montgomery

Dark horse: East Juniata

Interesting stuff you should know: Montgomery made it to the state final last year, falling to Chartiers-Houston. ... Since the PIAA increased the number of softball classes to four in 2005, five different teams have won this tournament: Canton (2005), East Juniata (2006-07), Northeast Bradford (2008), Muncy (2009) and Montgomery (2010). ... This field is very Tiger-centric, with no fewer than three schools (East Juniata, Southern Columbia and Galeton) having that nickname.

— Sports reporter Todd Stanford covers high school softball for The Daily Item. E-mail comments to

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