Rancho Santiago and Saddleback colleges enter today's first round in the state community college softball tournament at Palomar College with different histories.
Rancho Santiago is a team of tradition. The Dons have won the last two state titles under Coach Jim Reach, who will retire after the season.
Saddleback is making its first appearance in the state tournament, much to Coach Pete Morris' delight.
"This is absolutely incredible," he said. "We've gone further than I ever expected to."
Saddleback (35-11) plays Sacramento City (36-9), and Rancho Santiago (34-9) plays San Joaquin Delta (36-9), with both games at noon. Second-round games follow, and the championship is Sunday at noon.
Reach, who is 189-51 at Rancho Santiago, said he is leaving to get a rest from coaching but will continue to teach physical education.