Here’s a quick breakdown of the CIAC state softball pairings, which were released today.
The state championship games will be held at West Haven or Stratford’s DeLuca Field on June 8-9.
As usual, the faint of heart need not apply for this tournament of heavyweights, which features the usual top-flight programs, and a grand total of 13 from the FCIAC.
There are 19 total regional teams, including six in the top 10 — No. 2-seeded Westhill, No. 3 Darien, No. 4 Masuk, No. 6 Amity, No. 8 Danbury and No. 9 Ludlowe.
Defending champ Conard, which bounced Westill off the championship perch last year, is the No. 10 seed.
With so many regional teams in the mix, there are quite a few first-round matchups between them. Danbury faces No. 25 Ridgefield; Masuk hosts No. 29 Staples; No. 12 Norwalk takes on No. 21 Trumbull; Westhill faces No. 31 Fairfield Warde and Amity takes on No. 27 Newtown.
Defending champion Foran — (known on this space as the Fighting Bevinos) — is the No. 1 seed after a 19-1 regular season. They top a list of just five regional teams competing in this division, which features just 24 teams statewide.
The top eight teams all received byes into the second round, including Foran, No. 5 Brookfield and No. 7 Bethel.
Bunnell is the No. 21 seed and plays No. 12 Berlin for the right to face Brookfield. Stratford is the 24th and final seed. It plays No. 9 Guilford for the right to face No. 8 Wethersfield in the second round.
Powerhouse Seymour (23-0) is the No. 1 seed for the second consecutive year. The Wildcats are looking for the title that escaped their grasp a season ago when they were upset by Sacred Heart Academy in the final.
SHA, competing in Class L, did not qualify for the state tournament this season.
Also featured in this bracket is No. 5 Law and No. 6 Oxford, both of whom received the division’s seven byes.
Rounding out the regional list is No. 9 St. Joseph, No. 14 Lauralton Hall and No. 21 Ansonia.
Law awaits the winner of Ansonia’s first-round game with No. 12 Suffield. Lauralton starts off with No. 19 Nonnewaug for the right to face No. 3-seeded Granby Memorial.
St. Joseph and Seymour are lining up for a quarterfinal showdown. The Cadets didn’t make the cut for a bye and will host No. 24 Northwest Catholic. The winner of that matchup faces Stonington/Plainfield for a quarterfinal berth.
Seymour will begin its championship drive in the second round vs. either East Haven or Woodland.
Four regional teams dot the 29-team Class S field. Though all of them are longshots to advance far, upsets aren’t uncommon in this skewed bouillabaisse of Catholic, Tech and small-town schools.
Chief among the upset candidates is No. 29 (and final) seed Trinity Catholic, which finished 8-12 against a stacked Class LL schedule.
That said, everything seems to sort out in the late rounds. The highest-seeded teams from the Shoreline and Berkshire Leagues always find a way to win it all. The No. 1 and No. 2 seeds reached last year’s final. Defending champ Hale Ray is back as a No. 14 seed. Runner-up Terryville comes in at No. 12.
Of note, perennial Class S power Coginchaug is the No. 2 seed.