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home : columns : columns July 21, 2017

5/10/2017 2:00:00 PM
The final push to the playoffs is on

Joel Alvstad
Sports Editor

It's a bit hard to believe, but the start of the spring sports playoffs are just around the corner.
Less than two weeks from today, section softball playoff action will be underway, beginning on May 23.
The next day, section golf meets tee off, followed by sub-section track on May 25. The section baseball tournaments begin on May 27.
That means that the final push to improve playoff position is in full force.

• In Section 3AA South, the Windom baseball team is one of three teams with records over .500. Jackson County Central is currently 11-2, while Windom and Luverne are both 8-5. The Eagles and Cardinals split their two regularseason games. But Luverne has a better record against section opponents and has a win over JCC in its pocket. The Cardinals also swept the season series from Pipestone, while the Eagles split. Windom plays at JCC Friday, after playing a doubleheader with St. James Thursday. If the Eagles can beat the Huskies, they'll have a legitimate claim to the second seed. If not, it appears likely the Eagles would be seeded third, which could mean a first-round matchup with Lakeview, Redwood Valley or Martin County West.
• RRC/WWG won its appeal and dropped to Class A for this year's playoffs. But the Section 3A South field is fairly loaded at the top with Wabasso, Adrian and RRC/ WWG. Last night's game between RRC/WWG and Adrian could determine if the Falcons have a shot at a top-two seed and a home game in the first round. The Falcons won't see Wabasso until May 19. • Section 2A does not seed by sub-sections. Instead, the section seeds one through 15. Ten teams in the section currently have records above the .500 mark. At 5-7 going into the week, MLAC wasn't far behind. But based on the Minnesota- Scores.net QRF formula, seven of the teams in Section 2A are ranked in the top 20 in the state. MLAC could help its cause by knocking off RRC/WWG Thursday. The last Section 2A team on the Wolverines' schedule, Cleveland, doesn't come to Mt. Lake until May 19.

• In Section 3AA South, the Windom fastpitch team may have seen its bid at a top-two seed slip away Saturday with a loss to Martin County West. Thursday's game with St. James figures to be critical for the Eagles to maintain the third seed in the section. The Eagles previously split with Luverne and swept JCC. Luverne swept both JCC and St. James, while JCC swept St. James.
Presently, the Eagles would be seeded third in the section.
• In Section 3A, RRC/ WWG is currently in the fourth spot, but that will likely change. The Falcons lost to two teams immediately below them in the standings: Murray County Central and Russell-Tyler- Ruthton. But if RRC/WWG can pick up key wins in the coming weeks, it could solidify its spot, particularly since the Falcons handed current second-seed Tracy- Milroy-Balaton one of its two losses.
• Section 2A has yet to announce whether it will divide into sub-sections or seed straight from one through 12.
MLAC presently has a 6-5 record and the seventhbest QRF in the section. The Wolverines also have a head-to-head win over Springfield, which currently has the sixth-best QRF in the section.

• In Section 3A golf, the girls' race could be to determine if anyone has enough firepower to catch Windom, which will again enter the tourney as a favorite. However, Westbrook-Walnut Grove and Fulda have both had close dual losses to the Eagles.
For the boys, six-time defending champion Murray County Central has a pretty solid twosome at the top of the order, but not enough to go with them. That means the section race is wide open, and whichever team can solve the Worthington Country Club will be moving on. Fulda and WWG are the early favorites, with the Windom boys as a darkhorse.
• In Section 2A, it seems that Sleepy Eye is the prohibitive favorite for the boys. The task for MLAC will be to try to get players through to the second day of the tourney.

• The big change this year is the move from two subsections to three. For all three area teams, the subsection meet will be May 25 at Redwood Falls.
The top four finishers in each event at the three subsection meets will automatically advance to the Section 3A Meet, which will be held June 1 at Pipestone.
The final four spots in each event will be the topfinishing athletes from the three sub-sections combined that were not automatic qualifiers.

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