While released third in order of our previews, softball might bring the most intriguing postseason to date. Many storybooks remain open for historical finishes this June, whether it’s back-to-back State Finals appearances, a district title streak of over three years, or a Cinderella run no one expected. Here are some notable brackets to keep an eye on this postseason:
District 34 (Big Rapids)
Looking for their third straight title since the COVID pandemic, head coach Dawn Thompson’s Cardinals have proven their strength to be a serious regional title contender this year. Behind an offense that has totaled over 400 runs already and a defense and pitching staff that has allowed less than 90, Big Rapids comes in as the heavy favorite with their experience playing four all-state caliber teams across all four divisions. Gladwin and Ogemaw Heights come in as notable competitors with three games experience playing against each other, in which Gladwin owns a 2-1 series advantage. The Vikings and Orioles also bring intrigue entering as sneaky underdogs that each won at least a game in district play in last year’s tournament.
1st Round Matchups
Cadillac (1-9-0) vs. Ogemaw Heights (21-12-0*) – Big Rapids Softball Field**, May 30, 5:00 P.M.
Gladwin (22-12-0*) vs. Cadillac/Ogemaw Heights Winner – Big Rapids Softball Field, June 3, 10:00 A.M.
Big Rapids (32-4-0*) vs. Ludington (4-17-1) – Big Rapids Softball Field, June 3, 12:00 P.M.
Semifinal Winners – Big Rapids Softball Field, June 3, 2:00 P.M.
District 71 (Evart)
The defending state runner-up Wildcats enter this year’s tournament as top team in the Division 3 state rankings. Evart’s dominant pitching and explosive hitting will experience playing on their home diamond, a place they haven’t lost at in almost 380 days. Coach Brown’s team will have to take down Highland conference foes Lake City and McBain to face the winner of a rejuvenated Reed City team that has won four of their last six games and a Pine River team that gave the Wildcats a run for their money in the district final a year ago. While many of these teams haven’t played each other during the regular season, historical matchups and similar play style will certainly bring some extra excitement in Evart next
1st Round Matchups
Evart (26-5-0*) vs. Lake City (1-13-0) – Evart High School, May 30, 4:00 P.M.
Reed City (16-20-0*) vs. Pine River (7-10-0) – Evart High School, June 3, 10:00 A.M.
McBain (3-18-0*) vs. Evart/Lake City Winner – Evart High School, June 3, 12:00 P.M.
Semifinal Winners – Evart High School, June 3, 2:00 P.M.
District 74 (Remus Chippewa Hills)
In a highly contested CSAA race, Central Montcalm found themselves right in the mix for a second-place finish in the regular season standings. The Hornets have proven they can play with anyone, including a pair of tight losses to Division 3 honorable mentions Traverse City St. Francis and St. Louis and a split with state honoree Ithaca on the road. They face an opening test against a motivated Warrior team who will play in front of their home crowd for the first time since 2021 in postseason play. The Lakeview Wildcats also stand an intriguing matchup for the winner, while White Cloud and Morley Stanwood will square off in a regular season rubber match that saw over 27 runs cross the plate in their split double header 10 days ago.
1st Round Matchups
Central Montcalm (25-12-1*) vs. Chippewa Hills (7-21-0*) – Chippewa Hills Softball Field, May 30, 4:00 P.M.
Lakeview (9-21-0) vs. Central Montcalm/Chippewa Hills Winner – Chippewa Hills Softball Field, June 3, 10:00 A.M.
White Cloud (10-22-1*) vs. Morley Stanwood (3-18-0) – Chippewa Hills Softball Field, June 3, 12:00 P.M.
Semifinal Winners – Chippewa Hills Softball Field, June 3, 2:00 P.M.
*-Occupied via GameChanger result and statistics app.
**-Subject to change, original location reported on MHSAA.com.