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Softball | General | 5/6/2022

HS Playoff Preview: Northeast

Jerry Miller     
Photo: Perfect Game
High schools in the New England area have a little later start to their seasons and are just getting into the swing of things. State championships for the schools in the Northeast take place in June.

Connecticut



The Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference sponsors four divisions in competitive fastpitch. As the calendar turns to May and the weather starts to warm, regular season play really starts to pick up.

The Class LL division is led at the halfway point by two undefeated clubs. Danbury (14-0) and defending state champion Southington (11-0) are the current frontrunners. Also posting impressive midseason records are Fairfield Ludlow, Hail, and Glastonbury. The LL conference will be a sprint to the finish.

Defending state champions Masuk is again at the top of the L Division rankings. Jonathan Law, Ellington, East Haven, Guilford, and Waterford have won at least 10 games to date and will look to knock the defending champs from their throne in June.

The Class M division looks to be a wide open competition. Three clubs are currently undefeated and lead the way of this competitive level. Woodland, Northwestern, and O’Brien Tech haven’t dropped a contest yet. Not far from the lead group are Haddam-Killingworth and Watertown.

Civic Leadership-AAE currently sits atop the Class S division, followed closely by Coventry and Cromwell. Also in the hunt are Lyman Memorial, Shepaug Valley, and Old Lyme.

Rhode Island

Teams in the Rhode Island Interscholastic League are sprinting towards an exciting mid-June state championship weekend where three titles will be awarded.

Leading the way at the mid-season mark in Division II-A are Mt. Hope, Prout, Westerly, and Middletown.

Division II-B will be a battle throughout as there is currently a group of five teams that appear to be fairly evenly matched. Ponaganset, East Greenwich, Toll Gate, West Warwick, and Lincoln are sound clubs with solid pitching and defense.

Two undefeated clubs are at the top of the D-III rankings at mid-year. Central and Shea are solid programs and have the look of teams focused on finishing the regular season with momentum and making a deep playoff run. They will be challenged along the way by Davies Career & Tech, Classical, and Central Falls.

Massachusetts

The Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association starts playoffs June 3. Division champions will be crowned at the state finals June 17-19.

At the Division I level, Waschusett Regional, Doherty Memorial, and Grafton out of the Central region are off to flying starts. The North region is loaded with solid teams. Binnerica Memorial, Reading Memorial, Peabody Veterans Memorial, Westford Academy, Lowell, Beverly Arlington, and Medford are all capable of not only coming out of their region, but in winning the championship.

The South region In D-I is as strong as any in the state. Bishop Feehan (Attleboro), King Philip Regional (Wrentham), Taunton, Plymouth North, Silverton Regional (Kingston), Hingham, and Walpole have all posted double digit wins and are on a collision course in the playoffs.

In the D-I West region, Westfield, Agawam, Ludlow, and Minnechaug Regional (Wilbraham) lead the way.

There are so many good programs in D-II that it would be pure speculation to pick a favorite. This highly-talented and competitive conference will see great competition throughout the playoffs and all the way to the final game. Whoever wins the D-II title will have earned it.

The Central Region sees Hudson, Littleton, Clinton, Nipmuc Regional (Upton) and Blackstone-Millville (Blackstone) leading the way at the mid-season point. Burlington, Burlington Catholic, North Reading, and Wakefield Memorial head up the North Region.

The South Region sees a bevy of outstanding clubs at the top of the rankings. Greater New Bedford RVT, Dighton-Rehoboth Regional (North Dighton), Pembroke, Dedham, Norton, and Hanover will certainly have a say as to which team may eventually hoist the championship gold.

The West Region of D-II has a group of equally talented and determined teams at the fore. Hampshire Regional (West Hampton), Greenfield, Wahconah Regional (Dalton), Southwick-Tolland (Southwick), and South Hadley have the requisite pitching and offense to carry the field when the playoffs start.

The Division III competition will be keen through the playoffs as there are no less than 20 teams that have the talent to win the state title. Leading the way in the Central region are Advanced Math and Science Academy (Marlborough), West Boylston, Montachusett RVT (Fitchburg), Millbury, and Maynard. The North region is as talented as any in the state regardless of classification. St. Mary’s (Lynn), Austin Prep (Reading), Salem Academy Charter (Salem), Academy of Notre Dame (Tyngsborough), Boston Latin Academy (Dorchester) and East Boston have all posted solid records to date and appear ready to take on any and all competitors.

The South Region of Division III has five clubs that have separated themselves from the region with their early season play. Abington, Archbishop Williams (Braintree), Wareham, Millis, and Monomoy (Harwich) are solid clubs with big promise.

Finally, The West Region of D-II looks to be a two team race between Franklin County Tech (Turners Falls) and Turners Falls (Montaque). This neighborhood rivalry could be exciting to watch as the season moves towards a competitive conclusion.

Vermont

Castleton University will play host to the Vermont Principals Association state championships June 10-11. Four division champions will be crowned.

At the Division I level, Essex, Bellows Free Academy, Missisquoi Valley, South Burlington, and St. Johnsbury Academy are the current front runners. It would not be surprising to see an upset or two along the way in this highly competitive division.

Lyndon Institute, Middlebury Union, Milton, Mt. Abraham, and Hartford are the front runners in Division 2. With a good deal of the regular season remaining, this conference still has room for change at the top, although the current rankings leaders appear driven and determined.

In D3, Vergennes, Randolph Union, Thetford Academy, Oxbow, and Leland & Gray are sound programs. Each has shown quite well and are positioned at the mid-point of the season to make a strong playoff run. Any of this group has the talent to win it all.

Richford, Proctor, West Rutland, Danville, and Blue Mountain head up the Division 4 rankings at mid-season. There are a few other programs on the cusp of the top five who could make some noise before the playoffs end.

New Hampshire

Four division championships will be awarded by the New Hampshire Interscholastic Association next month.

Concord, Exeter, Londonderry, Salem, Timberline, and Goffsford currently lead a talented list of Division I programs that all have their sights on winning the title.

The Division II conference sees four dominating teams at the top of the standings. There is very little difference in these quartet of solid programs. Coe-Brown Northwood, Merrimack Valley, Hollis-Brookline, and John Stark each have the roster make-up to win the title. There could be an upset along the way, but it would not be surprising to see one of these four teams hoist the championship trophy.

At the top of the Division III rankings sit five outstanding squads, each of which have had very positive starts to their seasons. Prospect Mountain, Campbell, Newport, Hopkinton, Newfound have strung together a number of victories this year and are each ready for what the post-season brings.

The four clubs at the top of the Division IV rankings are not separated by much. All appear to have solid pitching and are opportunistic on offense. Moultonborough, Woodsville, Newmarket, and Pittsfield are all capable of winning the title.

Maine

The Maine Principals Association will crown four champions on June 17-18. The playoffs begin in Class A through D on June 7. Teams in Pine Tree State are gearing up for an exciting post-season.

The Class A division, which will play their championship games at Cony HS, sees Skowhegan, the defending state champions, leading the way. Biddeford, last season’s runners-up, and another traditional power, Scarborough are also in the mix.

Defending Class B champion Cape Elizabeth, and Winslow, last season’s championship runners-up, are heading up this competitive conference. A couple of other clubs including Brewer, Old Town, and York have had fine seasons to date and will certainly make a push towards an appearance at the University of Southern Maine for the Class B finals.

The Class C division, which will play its championship at Brewer HS, is led by last season’s state champ, Hall-Dale. Madison, Buckshot, and Dexter, last year’s runners-up, have each posted solid mid-season records and appear primed for a solid post-season run.

Searsport, last year’s champs, and a traditional Class D powerhouse, again heads up this competitive level. Ashland, which finished a close second to Searsport last June, appears to be on a mission. Also in the hunt for the Class D championship banner to be decided at the University of Southern Maine are, Penobscot Valley, Greenville, and Richmond.

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