When the Southern California Regional softball seedings were announced two weeks ago, Fullerton College Coach Margo Davis couldn't believe that her team was seeded second behind Palomar.
Her reasoning was that Fullerton (35-10) had played a tougher nonconference schedule, was in a better conference and played more games than Palomar (35-5).
Fullerton and Palomar didn't play in last weekend's regional, but with the start of the state tournament today at Golden West College, Fullerton will have a chance to prove the seeding committee wrong.
Palomar and Fullerton join Cypress (34-12) and Moorpark (35-10) as representatives from the south. San Mateo (37-10), Foothill (31-7), West Valley (27-13) and Fresno City (32-22) represent the north in the double-elimination, three-day tournament.
"I still think we should be the No. 1 seed," said Davis, who is retiring at the end of the season, her 17th as Fullerton's softball coach. "But now is our chance to do something about it."
Fullerton plays Foothill and Cypress plays San Mateo at noon today. The winners play at 6 p.m. Saturday, and the losers at 10 a.m.
West Valley plays Moorpark and Fresno plays Palomar in the other first-round games at 2 p.m. today. The winners play at 8 p.m. Saturday and the losers at 10 a.m. The championship game is scheduled for 1 p.m. Sunday.
Fullerton is led by Kristin Jacobs (28-7), who was both the state and the Orange Empire Conference pitcher of the year. She has allowed 104 hits and had 268 strikeouts in 265 1/3 innings with an earned-run average of 0.47. Jacobs has pitched two no-hitters in three playoff starts. She has signed a letter of intent to play at Cal State Fullerton this fall.
The Hornets are led on offense by Debbie Wagner, Kelli Johnson and Tammy Rodriguez. Wagner and Johnson also were starters on Fullerton's basketball team, which reached the semifinals of the state tournament last winter.
Wagner, a sophomore shortstop, hit .410 and led the team with 23 stolen bases. Johnson, a sophomore center-fielder, hit .333. Rodriguez, a sophomore second baseman, hit .266 and led the team with 11 RBIs and three triples. She also stole 20 bases.
Sophomore Stephanie Fleischaker, Fullerton's first baseman, led the team with 11 extra-base hits, including seven doubles and two home runs.
While Fullerton was consistently strong all season, Cypress struggled to its first state tournament.
The Chargers were 2-5 at one time in conference play before rallying to finish 10-8 and tied for second with Saddleback, seven games behind Fullerton. Cypress is led on offense by Rose Ferrante, a freshman catcher who was the player of the year in the Orange Empire Conference.
Ferrante hit .401 with seven doubles, eight triples, five home runs and 40 RBIs. Teammate Alisha Bokano, a freshman second baseman, hit .367. Kerry Callahan, freshman outfielder, was third on the team in hitting with a .292 average. Cypress is led on the mound by sophomore Colleen Moore, who was 24-7 with a 0.53 ERA.