East County Sports

CIF Division I Softball Preview



By Adam Paul

(3) OTAY RANCH (16-12) vs. (4) STEELE CANYON (22-7-1), 7 PM

PREVIEW: Despite the slow start to the season as they started off with a record of 2-8 the Otay Ranch Mustangs who finished third in the Metro Mesa League behind both Mater Dei Catholic and Bonita Vista have turned things on as they have roared through the Division I playoffs undefeated by outscoring Mission Hills, Patrick Henry, and Mission Hills again in the semi-finals by a score of 21-13.

Otay Ranch the last three years has won the Division II championship in 2021, the Open Division in 2022, and Division I in 2023.

On the other side the Steele Canyon Cougars who won back-to-back Division III crowns in 2006 and 2007 under former head coach Julie (Bohe) Neubauer and last appeared in the Division II title game in 2017 when they finished as runners-up have been playing with what you would call house money since they lost to Carlsbad in the quarterfinals. Despite the loss to Carlsbad they rebounded with a win over RBV, a rematch with Carlsbad, and consecutive wins over Grossmont Hills rival Granite Hills to advance to the championship contest from the challengers bracket.

This will be the first time these two teams will face each other this season.

Steele Canyon goes into the CIF Division I championship riding a four-game winning streak and is 8-2 in their last ten games.