The Bee's Bill Paterson scopes out the favorites and contenders for the top three divisions in the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs:
Vintage (27-0): The national- and state-ranked Crushers have lived up to their name behind sophomores Emily Oestreich (26-0, 1.04 ERA, 256 strikeouts) and Baylee Robben (.413 batting average, 34 RBIs).
Elk Grove (20-7): With 12 of the 14 teams to reach the D-I finals the past seven years coming from the Elk Grove Unified School District, the Delta Valley Conference champion Thundering Herd can't be counted out even with only four seniors on the roster.
Pleasant Grove (18-9) The Eagles won the ultra-competitive Delta River League and have one of the section's top sluggers in first baseman Vanessa Washington (.385, 10 home runs, 28 RBIs).
Rocklin (23-3): The Thunder and second-year coach Marissa Hardy seek the program's first section final after winning the Sierra Foothill League.
Roseville (19-7-1): The Tigers, led by senior pitchers-first basemen Kayla Fields (11-4, .412) and Delany DeMello (6-2, .437), are in the mix.
Sheldon (13-12): The Huskies had another mediocre regular season, but the two-time defending D-I champions play their best in the postseason.
Woodcreek (18-8): The defending D-II section champion, making its first D-I playoff appearance, has a lineup of battle-tested players, led by San Diego State-bound catcher Frankie Orlando.
Casa Roble (20-5): With three of the section's top players in Ali Aguilar (.488, 24 RBIs), Krystal Aubert (.386, 22 RBIs) and Kaitlyn Garcia (20-5, 1.81 ERA), the Rams seek their third section title in four seasons.
Benicia (23-3): The Panthers, who went 15-0 to win the Solano County Athletic League, enter the postseason without coach Kristin Grubbs, who is no longer with the team for undisclosed reasons.
Christian Brothers (17-9): With Stanford-bound junior Haley Snyder powerful at the plate (.429, four homers) and dominating on the mound (16-6, 0.55 ERA, 251 strikeouts), the Falcons are formidable challengers.
Del Campo (16-9-1): The Cougars, the surprise D-II runners-up last season, eye another long run behind Megan Wantz (16-9, 2.03 ERA), Halee Howell (.448, 31 RBIs) and freshman Maggie West (.424).
Whitney (18-9): The Wildcats finished third in the Capital Athletic League, but with Cal-bound pitcher Taylor Cotton back after missing nine games with a finger injury, the Wildcats could win their first title after losing in the 2011 and 2012 finals.
Bear River (12-9): Although most of the players graduated from last year's D-III section champion, the Bruins finished 2013 strongly, winning 10 of their last 11 regular-season games.
Cordova (15-6): The Lancers, led by Angehleyna Wheat (.587, 24 RBIs) and Alyssa Penacho-Chavez (.449, 40 RBIs), earned the CAL's top seed. They bat .366 as a team.
Pioneer (19-5): The four-time Tri-County champions are formidable behind conference MVP pitcher Angelica Dark, a sophomore (9-1, 1.22 ERA).
Call The Bee's Bill Paterson, (916) 326-5506.