SANGER -- After pitching a two-hit shutout to help top-ranked Bullard High secure the outright Country/Metro Athletic Conference softball title, Adriana Bencomo eased up and practiced a bit of diplomacy.
"Just getting to the playoffs is exciting," Bencomo said after the Knights' 4-0 victory over Sanger on Friday evening completed a 23-6 regular season and a 10-0 run through the CMAC. "There are a lot of good teams out there and we're all evenly matched."
While that might be true, no team enters the Central Section playoffs riding higher than Bullard.
The Knights are winners of 15 straight games, reaching the final of the Clovis Easter Classic (which was rained out and never made up) and winning the Best of the West tournament in Santa Maria along the way.
Central Section commissioner Jim Crichlow along with area commissioners Joe Spino (North), Charlie Guerrero (Central) and Bill Ver Heul (South) will decide today whether the Knights have done enough to earn the top seed -- and the homefield advantage that comes along with it -- for the Division I playoffs, which are scheduled to begin Tuesday.
Southwest Yosemite League champion Stockdale, winner of nine straight, also will be strongly considered. Tri-River Athletic Conference champion Central likely took itself out of the running for the top seed with a 1-0 loss to Buchanan on Friday.
"It's not a bad thing to have, but I don't care," Bullard coach Jaime Maxey said. "When it all boils down, you've got to win them all to win Valley. I don't envy those people making that call. I haven't seen teams in the TRAC in four weeks, but I think we can hang with anyone."
Bullard broke open a scoreless tie with a four-run fifth inning, keyed by a run-scoring double from Ashley Warren on a no-ball, two-strike pitch. Gina Fausone followed with a two-run double and Lauren Zenimura added an RBI single.
That's all Bencomo would need as she set down the final nine Apaches in order.
"It's a relief, we're done with this," Fausone said of the regular season. "It doesn't matter [where Bullard is seeded]. We play the faceless opponent. We're all together and pushing through the playoffs."