The softball state tournaments kick off next week, and all seven local teams will be fighting to advance, whether it be by an expected win or a monumental upset.
At least one local squad is represented in every bracket this year, with the first-round matchups getting underway on Tuesday, which will be a busy day on the diamond in the area.
Over in Class LL, New Britain earned the No. 18 seed after a 13-7 regular season, and it will have to travel to take on No. 15 Amity on Tuesday at 4 p.m. The Hurricanes didn’t face Amity this season, but it enters the tournament having dropped its last two games.
Amity holds an identical 13-7 record as New Britain, but the Hurricanes will be challenged with winning on the road, where five of their seven losses have come this season.
The winner will face No. 2 Trumbull (19-1), which will be coming off a first-round bye.
Southington will be staying put for the first round, as the No. 6 Blue Knights will host No. 27 Wilton on Tuesday at 4 p.m. Southington finished the season at 17-3 but didn’t face Wilton (9-11)
If the Blue Knights emerge victorious, it could set up an intriguing local matchup in the second round.
Should Southington win, it could meet No. 11 Newington (14-6) in the second round if the Indians can avoid the upset against No. 22 Manchester (11-9) on Tuesday. The Indians didn’t face Manchester this season, but they do enter the tournament on a five-game winning streak, and will have ace Dani Pantano in the circle, which immediately gives them a solid chance of advancing.
In Class M, Plainville will have to pull off a major upset in order to advance to the second round. The No. 29 Blue Devils meet No. 4 Notre Dame-Fairfield on Tuesday on the road in a tough first test.
Plainville finished the year 9-11 and ND-Fairfield finished 17-3. The two teams have yet to meet this season, and the Blue Devils enter the tournament having won two games in a row.
The winner of that game will play the victor of No. 13 Griswold (15-5) and No. 20 Cromwell (13-7).
Also in Class M, No. 21 Berlin will look to pull off an upset of its own when it faces No. 12 Plainfield (15-5) on Tuesday. The Redcoats finished 13-7 during their regular season slate and never faced Plainfield, but they enter the tournament on a hot streak at the plate, having score at least 10 runs in each of their last two games.
Whichever team advances will face either fifth-seeded Lewis Mills (17-3) or No. 28 Stonington (10-10).
Innovation will have to secure an even greater upset to advance in Class M, as the Ravens are set to face No. 3 Waterford (17-3) on Tuesday.
Innovation finished the year with an 8-12 record and never faced Waterford, but it should undoubtedly be one of the toughest tests of the season for the Ravens.
Should Innovation win, it will take on either No. 14 Wilcox Tech (15-5) or No. 19 Haddam-Killingworth (13-7).
Goodwin Tech earned a home game to open the Class S tournament, as the Gladiators secured a date with No. 18 Windham Tech (10-10) on Tuesday. Goodwin Tech finished the year 12-8, though one of those losses was against Windham Tech back in April at home, when the Gladiators lost by a decisive score of 18-5.
A meeting with No. 2 Coventry (18-2), which is coming off a bye, awaits in the second round.
Ryan Chichester can be reached at (860) 801-5094 or firstname.lastname@example.org