Bulldogs on roll as playoffs set to start

Centennial’s softball team probably didn’t need it, but the Bulldogs got a nice morale boost in the final week of the regular season.

And that could be bad news for the rest of the teams in the Sunset Regional, which begins today at Stephanie Lynn Craig Park.

In the final week of the season, Centennial had an 11-1 win over Cimarron-Memorial, avenging an earlier loss to the Spartans and clinching the Northwest Division title.

“That was a big confidence boost for the girls after losing the first one,” Centennial coach Mike Livreri said. “Just the way they took care of business with the division title on the line; they wanted it.”

The Bulldogs followed that by scoring three runs in the bottom of the seventh on a home run by Johnna Brown to beat Northeast Division champ Las Vegas.

“We’ve been playing solid ball,” Livreri said. “We had to beat Cimarron to win the division, and then had a close game against Vegas on Friday. We had a couple good ones to wrap the season up with.”

The Bulldogs (26-4), who have won 24 of their last 25, play Spring Valley (10-9) in the opening round at 3 p.m. today. In other Sunset games, Shadow Ridge (22-5) plays Bonanza (17-9-1) at 5, Palo Verde (10-20) plays Sierra Vista (27-8) at 5, and Cimarron (21-7) takes on Durango (19-8) at 7.

The Sunrise Regional also begins today at Stephanie Lynn Craig. Las Vegas (16-5) plays Green Valley (13-13) at 3, Rancho (13-10) plays Coronado (22-5) at 3, Eldorado (8-9) plays Silverado (21-12) at 7, and Valley (10-9) plays Foothill (18-14) at 7.

Centennial features a powerful offense that averaged nearly 12 runs a game during league play. Center fielder Teresa Healy and shortstop Brown anchor the lineup, but Livreri said those two haven’t carried the offense.

“Our one through six has been solid,” Livreri said. “It gives your pitcher and your defense confidence when you go out there and know even if you get down you can put a few runs on the board.”

The Bulldogs also have more pitching than most teams with Lauren Lynds, Jennifer Johnson and Jennifer Watkins all ready to take their turn.

“Each girl’s pitched in a big game, so the girls have confidence in each of them,” Livreri said.

Defending Sunset champ Sierra Vista and Northwest Division rivals Cimarron and Shadow Ridge should be the top competition for Centennial.

The game between Centennial and Las Vegas also may have been a key for the Wildcats. Las Vegas rolled through the Northeast Division, but coach Tresa Schilder said facing a team like Centennial was good for her team, even though they lost.

“It gave my girls a little reality check,” Schilder said. “Running through our division, they got a little laid back. We do have to step it up, play our game and keep our heads in the game.”

Las Vegas should be a strong contender in the Sunrise, along with defending champ Coronado.

“Coronado is looking pretty strong, and it’s pretty even over on the other side,” Schilder said.

Both regionals continue through Friday, with the champions advancing to next week’s Class 4A state tournament.

The two second place finishers will play each other at 3 p.m. on Monday at Silverado for the South’s last state berth.

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