Tourney games get started this week

High school spring sports athletes and teams begin their postseason trek this week and several teams in Trumbull County appear to have legitimate shots at the regional tournament and from there, the state final four.

In baseball this week, sectional tournament games are scheduled Monday and Tuesday in Division II, Tuesday and Wednesday in Division III, Wednesday and Thursday in Division IV and Thursday and Friday in Division I. The schedule is the same next week in the district tournament.

Sectional tournament games are played at the better seeded team’s home site, while district games are scheduled at a fixed — usually neutral — location.

The softball schedule this week and next has Division IV on Monday and Tuesday, Division I on Tuesday and Wednesday, Division II on Wednesday and Thursday and Division III on Thursday and Friday.

Baseball coaches will be dealing with pitch counts in the postseason for the first time and the new rule could have an effect on who a coach starts on the mound. With games on back-to-back days, teams must have two effective starting pitchers in order to have success, and coaches have to decide in which game to start their ace.

Some coaches contend that you have to win the first game in order to play the next night, so they start their best pitchers in that first game. Others judge the strength of their potential opponents and try to match up their best pitchers against the most formidable opponent.

Three Trumbull teams — Niles in Division II, Champion in Division III and John F. Kennedy in Division IV — were seeded first in their respective district tournaments. In addition, Western Reserve was voted the top seed in the Division IV Struthers District.

Howland, Mathews, Jackson-Milton and Canfield earned No. 2 seeds in their respective districts, and Lakeview, Grand Valley, Boardman and Poland are No. 3 seeds.

In softball, No. 1 seeds are Champion in Division III, Hubbard in Division II, Mathews in Division IV and Canfield in Division I. Area No. 2 seeds include Lakeview and McDonald, while Newton Falls, Bristol, Boardman and Western Reserve are seeded third in their respective districts.

Three Trumbull schools are defending district champs in softball — Lakeview, Champion and Bristol — while Poland and Western Reserve won district titles a year ago in baseball. Poland also won a regional title and lost in the state semifinal round.

Boys tennis postseason competition also starts this week with sectional tournaments scheduled at Canton and Solon for area Division I schools and at Boardman for Division II schools.

The top four individuals and the top four doubles teams advance to the district tournament the following week at Springside Racquet & Fitness Club in Akron.

Track and field district meets are also scheduled that week. Division I and III meets are scheduled Wednesday and Friday (May 17 and May 19), while Division II meets are Thursday and Saturday (May 18 and May 20).

Area D-I schools compete at Austintown Fitch, Division II schools are at Lakeview (except Poland which goes to Salem), and Division III schools in the area are split betweebn Cuyahoga Heights and Springfield High School in New Middletown.