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10/09/2016 - From The Press Box: Possibilities Endless For Lincoln Teams' Post-Season Aspirations

 With two weeks left before the playoffs, we're getting into crunch time mode and there are still chances for some Lincoln teams to make the post season.

Here's my basis, according to the wildcard points in each of the four Class A districts.  Non-scientific and unofficial, of course.  Remember, top 16 teams go.  

Inevitably, Southeast is post-season bound and even a win over Omaha South this weekend doesn't necessarily guarantee they will host a first-round playoff game.

The Knights would have to win the season finale at Grand Island to claim the runner-up spot in the A-4 district in hopes of hosting an opening round game at Seacrest Field.  Omaha North, with a likely win over Millard South and a "potential" win over Lincoln Pius X, would outright be the A-4 champ and top seed of the playoff bracket.

Other possibilities:

Lincoln High could be a lock for the playoffs with a win over Lincoln Southwest Friday afternoon and not necessarily have to rely on a victory over Millard West on Oct. 21.  Still, the Links (who in my opinion are the hottest team in the city at the moment) would like to finish with a strong outing, win or lose, against the Wildcats.

Lincoln Pius X has hit the rough part of their schedule.  The Thunderbolts are 5-2 after dropping back to back losses to Southeast and Grand Island.  This Friday night's game with Lincoln East is a MUST win if the 'Bolts want to claim that fourth and final spot from A-4.  If Pius X doesn't come away with a win, but happens to upset Millard West, that could prove to be an interesting dynamic.

East, on the other hand, needs to keep the momentum going into this week's game at Pius X.  Again, whoever wins this game will be the final team into the post season from A-4.  

Lincoln Northeast definitely needs to win Friday night against Papillion-LaVista to even consider a shot of getting into the playoffs for a second-straight year.  Right now, the Rockets are on the outside looking in and need to bounce back strong against the Monarchs, before hosting Creighton Prep on Oct. 21.  If Northeast beats Prep, then there's a shot for the Rockets. They would have to hope for a major shake up in the point standings this week, for sure.

Southwest and North Star may be on the outside looking in.  If the Silver Hawks win over Lincoln High, they possibly could get in.  North Star's opportunity came last Friday night at Omaha Westside, but the Navigators fell to the Warriors on a field goal and a miraculous win over Omaha Burke may give them a chance.

I'll be curious to see how many Lincoln teams can get in.  Remember a year ago, two 4-5 teams (Northeast and North Star) got in and fell on the first night to highly seeded opponents.  This year has been much different and more interesting to watch.

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Congratulations to Lincoln Southwest, Lincoln East, Lincoln Pius X, Malcolm and Raymond Central for all making the State Softball Tournament in Hastings.

Southwest won the A-6 title with a 10-0, four inning win over Omaha Central on Saturday afternoon.  The Silver Hawks will face Millard North in a No. 5 vs. No. 4 match up.  East gets in with a wildcard, after losing the A-7 title to Omaha Marian.  The Spartans get a first-round draw in top-seed Papillion-LaVista.  

Pius X is a wildcard entry in Class B, facing Gretna Wednesday morning.  The Thunderbolts are a No. 5 seed.

In Class C, Malcolm won the C-3 championship 7-4 over Raymond Central.  The Clippers claim the No. 2 seed and will play No. 7 Wahoo Bishop Neumann.  Meanwhile, the Mustangs play No. 6 seed Central City.

Action starts Wednesday morning at the Smith Softball Complex, which I've had the great fortune of playing on those fields during my fast pitch softball days.  The set up is perfect for any state tourney setting and another thing you can check out is the Nebraska Softball Hall of Fame, which my father was inducted into as fast pitch player from 1964 to 1985. 

Enjoy the tournament and best of luck to all the area teams! 

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