It's high school sports, so let's do some homework.
I'll warn you ahead of time: the preview is pretty comprehensive, so rather than reading 1,000-plus words of me talking about teams you don't care about, notice that all the schools are bolded so you can jump around to whatever interests you. Why? Because I care.
No. 10 Syosset (10-7) vs. No. 1 Calhoun (18-1) -
As the seeding would indicate, Calhoun is the heavy favorite in the best of three series. Syosset, though, is not without its strengths. The Braves are riding high after a big upset over rival Massapequa (the Chiefs swept them in the regular season series) and have made a habit of winning with the odds stacked against them - check out how they took two of three games from Oceanside, which finished first in AA-I. They've got a capable starter in Tommy Morris (4-3) though, since he pitched Saturday, you may not see him until later in the series.
As for Calhoun, well, they actually got scarier. The thing to remember is that the Colts built that record without ace Joe Christopher (5-1, 1.18 ERA last year). Well, he's back and picked up where he left off with a 4-3 win over Mepham. Jake Thomas? He never left. The lefthanded-hitting catcher has five home runs on the year. Calhoun has five lefties atop the lineup, four guys with multiple home runs (watch out for sparkplug/American Idol alum Robbie Rosen), and three starters not named Joe Christopher who have gone a combined 14-0.
EDGE: Calhoun. They're good, but they're not unbeatable. The Colts' one loss came courtesy of Baldwin, which was able to get to their bullpen to win on a walkoff home run in the seventh.
No. 8 Baldwin (11-8) vs. No. 2 MacArthur (15-4)
Baldwin's Nick LoBello and Kieth Teurff have been solid for the Bruins, going a combined 7-2 on the season. Perhaps Baldwin's biggest trump card, though, is their propensity for the big hit. Eight of their 11 wins have come runs scored in the fifth inning or beyond. The Bruins won five - close to half of their wins - in the seventh or eighth inning.
MacArthur swept Baldwin in the regular season series and outscored the Bruins 17-4 in the process. Their rotation is both well-balanced and successful, with three starters with over four wins. That certainly gives them the edge in a three-game series. Keep an eye out on junior Joe Chiaramonte who notched his first career no-hitter this season.
EDGE: Even. Yup. Though MacArthur has the slight advantage, they're 2-3 in one-run games and, when your team only has four losses, that's a significant stat. That, along with Baldwin's fieriness (recall, they beat Calhoun earlier in the year), could pose problems. That said, MacArthur is hugely talented and they've certainly earned that two seed. Should be a fun series to watch.
No. 6 Plainview JFK (12-7) at No. 3 Oceanside (14-5)
Say what you will about momentum only being as good as the next day's pitcher, but I'll posit that winning a game on a walk off home run in the 10th - like Plainview did Saturday courtesy of Seth Noreman - doesn't hurt either. Let's not forget Gil Doremus with five home runs on the year, and Matt Moskowitz and Stephen Stafford with three apiece. Stafford, also a pitcher, hasn't lost a game all year (5-1). And then there's sidearmer Shane Lovisi (3-0) who's given teams fits all year. The rest of the staff is 3-4, so the key will be to take pitches, work the count, and get to the pen as quickly as possible.
Oceanside has historically been known for its pitching and this year is certainly no different. Led by two five-game winners (Mike Russ and Erik Kondak), the Sailors have allowed two or fewer runs nine times this season. That is, frankly, ridiculous. Coupled with the fact that they've scored in double digits six times, the Sailors have seemingly locked on to a fantastic strategy: score a lot, don't let other teams score a lot, win. Plainview should watch out for Chris Flynn, who's proved to be a big impact player in the lineup.
EDGE: Oceanside. Plainview could easily pull the upset with that one-two punch, but I tell yah - that, "score a lot, don't let others score" thing is pretty good. O'Side may be on to something.
No. 5 Farmingdale (11-5) at No. 4 Carey (13-6)
The first thing to notice about Farmingdale is that the Dalers can hang pretty much anyone. They were swept by Oceanside in the regular season, but won every other series. Ian Kornfield wields the big bat, with three home runs while Chris Vitale (4-2) has anchored the rotation. Alex Brosnan (4-2) has also been impressive.
Meanwhile, Carey is on a hot streak. The Rams have won their last six, including a hugely impressive three-game sweep of Bellmore JFK to end the season. The two were tied for second going into that series and Carey essentially knocked Kennedy out of the playoffs. They did so decidedly, winning 10-6, 10-1 and 9-5. Nick Vilchez has four homers on the season and Jesse Montalto is 5-1. One of the most interesting factors, though, is the continued resurgence of John Daddino, who has become even more of a factor in the final few games. He's 2-0 in his last two starts, with a 0.54 ERA and a whopping 28 strikouts. Not a typo.
EDGE: Carey. If Daddino is being Daddino and Montalto is being Montalto, this team could go far.
CLASS A - These games are single elimination and, since none of this info will be useful come Tuesday, we're doing quick hits.
No. 14 Seaford (12-8) vs. No. 2 Clarke (17-3)
EDGE: Clarke. Clarke swept the regular season series against Seaford and ran into a red-hot Sean Abbate (Division) to put them in this position.
Players to watch: SE - Mike Lasher (6 HRs); CL - John Jarosz (6-1)
No. 13 Lynbrook (12-8) vs. No. 5 Glen Cove (14-6)
EDGE: Glen Cove. Lynbrook has lost five of its last seven, while Glen Cove has scored in double digits in eight of their last nine games (they have, indeed, won eight of their last nine.)
Players to watch: LY - Alex Weingarten (5-1); GC - Kevin Martinez (4-1, 2 HRs)
No. 10 Bethpage (12-7) vs. No. 6 South Side (12-7)
EDGE: Bethpage. South Side is coming off an absolute heartbreaker against Island Trees, while Bethpage has won six of its last seven. Also, they've got Anthony Dedona.
Players to watch: BE - Dedona (6 HRs, 3-2); SS - Lou Matarazzo (2-0, 4 HRs)
No. 9 Mineola (11-9) vs. No. 8 Wantagh (13-7)
EDGE: Mineola. The two teams are evenly matched, but Mineola's on a four-game win streak, while Wantagh had the unenviable task of dealing with Plainedge in the first round. The Warriors lost 7-0.
Players to watch: MI - Jimmy Bulva; WA - Cody Cornacchio
*I'll have you know that this all seemed much less exhaustive two hours ago, when I thought, 'you know, someone should really preview the matchups.'
No. 5 Carle Place (9-11) vs. No. 1 Oyster Bay (17-1)
Carle Place has a not-so-secret weapon in Stephen Laurino. The slugger has seven home runs on the season and certainly wants to make his mark in his senior year. If the Frogs can establish early that they can protect Laurino in the lineup, it'll give Oyster Bay no choice but to pitch to him.
What can be said about Oyster Bay that hasn't been said before? In Joe Siringo (6-0) and Chris Kelly (6-1), they have the best one-two punch in the lower classifications. But it doesn't stop there. Dillon Robinson is following in the steps of big brother Jake (who was on last year's team) and is well on his way to becoming a certifiable ace. The Baymen haven't lost since their first game of the year - against Class A Division.
EDGE: Oyster Bay. They've won four county championships in a row. They'll likely win another.
No. 3 East Rockaway (11-9) vs. No. 2 Locust Valley (16-3)
East Rockaway has a very good No. 1 in David Hobbs and, as shown by his 2-for-3, two RBI performance against Friends Academy in early May, he can swing that bat, too. Hobbs has lights-out stuff but pitched Saturday, so it's still to be seen when he'll pitch in the series.
Locust Valley has a strong rotation, led by Haydon Taylor and Nick West, with Tom McNamara as a reliable No. 3. They also happen to be on an 11 game win streak and hung in there with Oyster Bay, losing one game by one run. They swept East Rockaway in the regular season series, 7-6 and 9-4.
EDGE: Locust Valley. If anyone has a shot at unseating Oyster Bay, it's them.
Ok. That's it. I'm not doing anymore research until Thursday, at least. *
* That is most likely a dirty lie. Happy playoffs!