There's a lot going on in the next couple of weeks, with eight spring sports making their way through various stages of the postseason. Here's what I'm hearing and looking forward to:
• First off, an exciting announcement in regards to tomorrow's Central Section South Area track and field meet at Liberty, where the top 16 big-school athletes in each event in the area will compete for three guaranteed spots at the section finals: BVarsity Live will cover the entire meet live. Check bakersfieldcalifornian.com/sports around 3:30 tomorrow afternoon for coverage. Should be some good stuff, including races from junior Blake Haney of Stockdale, who leads the state in both the 1,600 and 3,200 meters. The Sierra-Sequoia section championships, by the way, are also tomorrow afternoon/evening in Exeter.
• Baseball and softball seasons conclude this week, and while most Kern County league races have been decided, the one big exception to that is SWYL baseball. It's been a crazy race all season, and the finish promises to be dramatic. Centennial (9-4) holds a slim one-game lead on Liberty and Stockdale (both 8-5) but must play the Patriots twice this week — Wednesday at Centennial, Friday at Liberty. Remember, a couple of weeks ago, Liberty and Stockdale split their two-game series, with each team completing an unlikely walk-off comeback on their home field. Meanwhile, Stockdale finishes up with two games against Bakersfield (5-8). That's not easy, considering the Drillers will likely throw USC commit Mason Perryman in Friday's season finale. How crazy has this season been? Earlier this season, Frontier (6-7) became the first Kern County team to win the Fresno Easter Classic in nearly 30 years, but the Titans are eliminated from winning their own league.
• The other baseball/softball league winners (all of these have either clinched or will do so with a split this week): SWYL: Stockdale softball. SEYL: Garces baseball, Garces softball. SYL: Ridgeview baseball; Ridgeview softball; SSL: Bakersfield Christian baseball; Taft softball. The only other team with a chance to nab a share of a league title would be Golden Valley baseball, which is a game behind Ridgeview with a game to play. The Wolf Pack plays West on Thursday while GV plays South.
• Stockdale, Garces and Frontier will all head to Porterville next Tuesday with thoughts of winning a Central Section boys golf title. The Titans are in Division II and had the top qualifying area score, 404, among D-II schools at Monday's South Area meet. Competition is much stiffer in Division I, but both the Mustangs, who won the area meet with 381 strokes, and Rams (391) got a boost when Buchanan, the top school in the North Area, didn't make it out of its area meet. Instead, top competition will come from defending champion Clovis West and Clovis North.
• Team tennis playoffs started today, with Bakersfield Christian chasing its ninth straight team championship, this time in a four-team Division III bracket. The Eagles took out Delano in the semifinals Tuesday and will play host to Ridgeview for the D-III title on Thursday. In Division I, Stockdale is seeded No. 4, Liberty No. 6 and Garces No. 7. But the heavy favorites will be No. 1 Clovis West and No. 2 Bullard.
• If that weren't enough, things are going to get even more crazy from here — Saturday is a huge day, with area tennis tournaments wrapping up (Liberty's Anthony Busacca and Bakersfield Christian's Sullivan Roche are the top seeds in singles, with the Liberty team of Drew Engel-Andrew Raney the top doubles seed), plus three league swimming meets at BC, plus the release of baseball and softball section playoff brackets. The diamond sports' postseason gets going next week, and then May 18 is Super Saturday, with section championships contested in swimming, individual tennis and track and field, all within hours of one another.