If you’re following the 2007 high school baseball playoffs to root for the underdog, you’re probably not hoping for a repeat of 2006.

Five of the eight top seeds entering last year’s tournament reached the state championship. Only Class B champion Oak Hill didn’t receive a bye in the first round.

This year’s underdogs and favorites started examining their chances after the playoff brackets were revealed by the Maine Principals’ Association yesterday. Like a lot of his peers, Poland coach Dave Jordan concluded that his top-seeded team’s outlook in Western B is simple – don’t overlook anyone.

“Greely and Mountain Valley are the two teams besides us that you hear people talk about a lot, but there’s nobody in the playoffs you can look past,” Jordan said.

The preliminary round begins Tuesday with games around the state. The tournament will continue through the state championship games on Saturday, June 16.

Defending state champion Bangor heads the bracket in Eastern A. The unbeaten Rams will meet the winner of the Skowhegan/Mt. Ararat match-up. Second-seeded Gardiner and No. 3 Oxford Hills (13-3) also earned byes.

The Vikings will face the winner of the prelim between No. 11 Lawrence and No. 6 Brewer next Thursday. That means they’ll have a nine-day layoff since last Tuesday’s shutout loss to Gardiner. Coach Shane Slicer isn’t too worried that his team might have lost some momentum.

“In 2005, we lost to Gardiner 7-0 in the KVAC championship game and we went on to win the state championship, so one game isn’t going to put us down,” he said. “We had different guys, but hopefully we have the mentality to come back like they did.”

Both Twin Cities schools will see preliminary action on Tuesday. No. 7 Lewiston (9-7), coming off its first winning season since 1993, will host 10th-seeded Cony (8-8). The Blue Devils will be searching for their first post-season win since 1989.

“We’re pretty fired up to be in,” said coach Todd Cifelli. “Even though we’ve got a winning season under our belts, I really feel our guys don’t feel we’ve accomplished what we set out to accomplish yet.”

Edward Little (6-10) edged out Mt. Blue for the 13th and final spot in the bracket. The Red Eddies’ reward is a long bus ride to face fourth-seeded Old Town (12-4).

Western B offers a mix of Western Maine Conference, Mountain Valley Conference and Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference teams. WMC champion Poland (15-1) is the top seed and will face the winner of the prelim between No. 9 Falmouth and No. 8 Wells. No. 2 Greely awaits the winner of the tilt between No. 10 Yarmouth (9-7) and No. 7 Oak Hill (9-7). No. 3 Mountain Valley (13-1) will be next in line for whoever survives No. 6 Fryeburg and No. 11 Cape Elizabeth. Maranacook (14-2) and MVC champion Lisbon (12-2) already know they’ll be facing each other in the 4-5 match-up.

With a lot of teams who have never played each other before in the bracket, Jordan thinks the region may come down to who can adjust best to different match-ups.

“We didn’t see a lot of lefties in our league this season,” said Jordan, who has three southpaw hurlers he can use. “But going into the playoffs, when you add these other teams from the other conferences, there are a lot more lefties into the mix now. It will be interesting to see how teams that haven’t been used to seeing these lefties match-up in the playoffs.”

Top-seeded Winthrop (12-2) is led by a couple of good lefties, Forrest Dwyer and Kyle Plossay, but teams in the MVC-dominated Western C playoffs won’t be going into the playoffs blindly. The Ramblers will take on whoever comes out of the 8-9 prelim between Georges Valley (7-8) and Telstar (7-8).

Second-seeded St. Dom’s (15-1) will try to win its fourth straight regional crown starting in the quarterfinals against the 7-10 winner of Monmouth (8-6) and Old Orchard (8-7). No. 3 Livermore Falls (9-5) could face rival Jay (8-6) if the sixth-seeded Tigers outlast North Yarmouth Academy (7-9). No. 4 Dirigo (10-5) just missed out on a bye and will have to host a prelim against No. 13 Sacopee Valley (6-10).

In Class D, defending regional champ Richmond (16-0) is once again the top seed. No. 3 Rangeley (10-4) will travel to No. 2 Buckfield (10-5) in the semifinals on Saturday.


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