WHO'S HOT: No. 1 Granada (23-1), No. 2 De La Salle (17-7), No. 3 California (18-6), No. 6 James Logan (17-7)
WHOM TO WATCH: Freedom's Chad Bartlett, Amador Valley's Michael Echavia, James Logan's Alex Martinez, De La Salle's Hunter Mercado-Hood, Bishop O'Dowd's Dominic Miroglio, Granada's Jacob Payne, California's Travis Roberts, Deer Valley's Jordan Rohrberg-Gough, Heritage's Mason Sargent.
DREAM DATE: James Logan and De La Salle could meet each other in the semifinals in a game that would pit the past two champions and would be a rematch of the 2011 title game, won by the Colts. Logan had some bad losses in Mission Valley Athletic League play -- the Colts were swept by Kennedy-Fremont -- but picked it up toward the end of the season and were playing well. To get there though, Logan has to get by both No. 11 Bishop O'Dowd and potentially No. 3 Cal.
BONUS: In the four years of the Division I classification, there have been four different champions and the reigning champion has never won an NCS playoff game the following season. Freedom (2009) and Amador Valley (2010) both missed the playoffs next season and Logan lost in the first round last season. De La Salle, which has a first-round bye, hopes to change that.
PREDICTED CHAMPION: Granada
WHO'S HOT: No. 1 Casa Grande (24-2), No. 2 Campolindo (17-6-1), No. 3 Clayton Valley Charter (20-4), No. 5 College Park (18-5-1)
WHOM TO WATCH: Casa Grande's Francis Christy, College Park's Joe DeMers, Washington's Brandon Sewell, Clayton Valley Charter's Ryan Snyder, Campolindo's Brett Stephens, Newark Memorial's Cal Stevenson, Campolindo's Robbie Tenerowicz,
DREAM DATE: College Park, with the hard-throwing sophomore DeMers, could meet top-seeded Casa Grande in the semifinals. DeMers, who also swings a powerful bat, would likely be lined up to pitch that game against the Gauchos and their stud Oregon-bound catcher Christy.
BONUS: Campolindo is looking to complete a four-peat. The team potentially standing in its way, top-seeded Casa Grande, is the last team to achieve such a feat when it won four straight NCS 3A Redwood Empire titles from 2004-07. Those were much different times though, as the Redwood Empire and East Bay were split apart in the postseason.
PREDICTED CHAMPION: Campolindo
WHO'S HOT: No. 1 Acalanes (17-7), No. 2 Sir Francis Drake (21-5), No. 5 El Cerrito (18-8-1), No. 6 Alhambra (15-9)
WHOM TO WATCH: El Cerrito's Ryan Delaney, Encinal's Christian Leung, Sir Francis Drake's Joe Ryan, Analy's Garrett Hill, Acalanes' Andrew Merken, , Acalanes' Jack Veasey
DREAM DATE: Acalanes and San Marin will forever be connected by the way the 2011 season ended. When rain postponed the NCS title game between the teams, a mutual time to make it up couldn't be reached and the teams were deemed co-champions. They could meet this season in the second round. Acalanes has a first-round bye, meaning a San Marin win over Eureka would set up that meeting.
BONUS: Acalanes has won back-to-back titles, including the co-crown in 2011. A team from the Diablo Foothill Athletic League has won the Division III title every year since 2009, when the current division allotment was created by combining the East Bay with the Redwood Empire.
PREDICTED CHAMPION: Acalanes
WHO'S HOT: No. 1 St. Mary's (16-5), No. 3 Piedmont (16-9), No. 4 Moreau Catholic (9-15), No. 5 Berean Christian (11-12)
WHOM TO WATCH: Piedmont's Matt Horst, St. Mary's Kevin Flemer, St. Mary's Devin Mahoney, Berean Christian's Trevin McConnell, Justin-Siena's Diano Pachote, John Swett's Allen Ressler
DREAM DATE: If Moreau, which is well below .500 but played a tough schedule against mostly higher division schools, can get on a roll it could be an interesting potential matchup with St. Mary's in the semifinals. The Mariners have wins this season over No. 3 seed Piedmont and No. 5 Berean Christian, plus three wins against teams in the Division I playoffs.
BONUS: St. Mary's is after its first title since 2009. Coach John Nelson won a title in 2008 while at Piedmont and similar to that team, his Panthers have an outstanding 1-2 punch in the pitching rotation with the right-handed Flemer and the lefty Mahoney. Both are outstanding hitters as well.
PREDICTED CHAMPION: St. Mary's
WHO'S HOT: No. 1 Valley Christian (16-7), No. 2 Head-Royce (19-5), No. 3 St. Bernard Catholic-Eureka (16-6), No. 5 Athenian (10-7)
WHOM TO WATCH: Athenian's Cameron Cotton, Head-Royce's Steven Farinaro, St. Joseph Notre Dame's Robert Hansen, Head-Royce's Nico Hoerner, Athenian's Jamey Smart, Valley Christian's Josh Stevens, Valley Christian's Vince Volpatti
DREAM DATE: A showdown between Valley Christian and Head-Royce for the championship seems inevitable. The teams have faced off three times this year, with Valley Christian winning twice. Both wins came when Steven Farinaro, the Jayhawks' UCLA-bound fireballer, wasn't pitcher. When he's on the mound, Head-Royce is extremely tough to beat.
BONUS: In the four years of the Division V bracket, Head-Royce and Redwood Christian are the only teams to win titles. The Jayhawks won last season and in 2009 while the Eagles won back-to-back titles in 2010-11. With the Bay Counties League-East producing four of the top six seeds, it seems the champion will again come from that league.
PREDICTED CHAMPION: Head-Royce