Regional berths on the line this week

Tribune Chronicle file / Bob Ettinger Lakeview catcher Sam Marino prepares to tag Salem baserunner Bailee Thorn in a Division II sectional bracket final at Lakeview last week. Area teams still alive are playing district tournament games this week in a bid to advance to the regional.

Three softball defending district champions from Trumbull County — Lakeview, Champion and Bristol — are in position to defend their titles this week, and a number of solid baseball teams from the county will be looking to take that next step to the Sweet 16 when district tournament games are played.

The number of teams across the state of Ohio goes from 64 at the start of district competition to 16 by next week when regional tournaments will be played.

Technically, there are at least 65 teams still remaining in both baseball and softball, since two sectional bracket final games are scheduled to be played today.

Howland, the second seed, will face Akron Ellet today at 4:30 p.m. at Eastwood Field where the two will battle for a baseball Division I district semifinal berth. In softball, Cardinal Mooney plays host to Waterloo today to complete the Division III sectional part of tournament play.

Also today, the baseball Division II and softball Division IV districts get started. Top-seeded Niles plays fourth-seeded West Branch and No. 2 Canfield faces No. 3 Poland in the Struthers District at Cene Park. Meanwhile, in the Jefferson District, third-seeded Lakeview faces No. 2 Notre Dame-Cathedral Latin. District final games in both D-II districts are scheduled Tuesday.

In softball Division IV, top-seeded Mathews faces No. 4 Lordstown and No. 2 McDonald meets defending champ and third-seeded Bristol in the Warren District played at Candlelight Knolls. In the district at Western Reserve High School, the host Blue Devils are still alive, playing East Canton today. Both district finals are scheduled Tuesday.

Also Tuesday, the baseball Division III districts play their semifinals. Top-seeded Champion faces No. 4 LaBrae on the Vikings’ home field and No. 2 Hawken and No. 3 Grand Valley in the LaBrae District. At Cene Park, in the Struthers District, Cardinal Mooney faces top-seeded Canton Central Catholic. The D-III district finals are Wednesday.

In softball Tuesday, Division I semifinals are scheduled at Roxbury Field in Solon. Top-seeded Canfield meets Solon and third-seeded Boardman goes against Aurora. The district final is Wednesday.

Semifinals on Wednesday will be played in baseball’s Division IV and softball’s Division II. Top-seeded John F. Kennedy meets No. 5 Maplewood and second-seeded Mathews goes against Fairport Harbor in the D-IV baseball district at Fairport Harbor. In the Struthers District, No. 4 McDonald meets top-seeded Western Reserve and No. 2 Jackson-Milton plays No. 3 Lisbon at Cene Park. The district title games in both districts are scheduled Thursday.

Wednesday’s softball district semifinals are in Division II at Alliance High School where top-seeded Hubbard faces No. 4 Marlington and second-seeded and defending champion Lakeview goes against No. 3 West Branch. The district final is scheduled Thursday.

The final groups to play this week are Division III softball and Division I baseball which are in action Thursday and Friday. Third-seeded Boardman will play the Howland-Ellet winner in a semifinal on Thursday at Cene Park. Kent Roosevelt and Walsh Jesuit are in the other semifinal. The D-I district final is Friday.

Defending champion and top seed Champion meets Brookfield in the D-III LaBrae District, with Conneaut and Kirtland playing in the other semifinal. If Cardinal Mooney beats Waterloo, it would play South Range in the district played at South Range. Both district finals are scheduled Friday.

Statewide, in all divisions, baseball regional semifinals are scheduled May 25 with all finals scheduled May 26. Softball regional semifinals across the state in all divisions will be played May 24, with finals slated May 27.