The NJSIAA playoff cutoff dates arrive this week for the baseball, softball and lacrosse teams. All four teams will be competing in the playoffs, but a lot can happen over the next few days in regards to improving or hurting seeds. Below is a breakdown of where the local teams are and where they can end up by week’s end.
BASEBALL (Friday cutoff): Given the fact that less than two weeks ago the Eagles were sitting at 3-9, the following seems almost preposterous to say: West Deptford has a serious shot at a home playoff game.
A recent three-game winning-streak, combined with a Group 2 field that is not particularly deep this season, has allowed the Eagles to jump right back into the middle of the standings. At 7-10, they are currently in 11th place in Group 2, but are within striking distance of five teams, most notably, Deptford (8-8), Cinnaminson (7-7) and Pennsauken Tech (7-6).
The Eagles have three games left before Friday’s cutoff. They face Highland (Monday, in Cooperstown N.Y), Collingswood (Tuesday) and Haddon Heights (Thursday). Highland is 7-7 and the Eagles beat the Panthers and Garnets earlier this season so a sweep is not out of the question.
A home game is still unlikely, but even if the Eagles were to lose all three games, they would not fall below the 16th seed.
SOFTBALL (cutoff Froday): At 11-5, the Eagles are currently in sixth place in Group 2. Buena (14-2) and Gloucester Tech (14-3) are first and second in the group, with Haddon Heights (14-5) in third. The Eagles and Garnets meet Thursday in a rematch of a contest Haddon Heights won 9-1 the first time around. West Deptford also faces Collingswood (Tuesday) and Lenape (Friday). Regardless of results, the Eagles are assured a home playoff game. West Deptford could move up to fifth with a winning week, as Sterling—currently in that position—is also 11-5.
BOYS' LACROSSE (cutoff Saturday): Because far fewer schools have lacrosse than baseball and softball, the tournament begins at the state level, rather than region. Thus, the talent pool becomes much deeper and much more complicated. That’s why, despite compiling a 10-4 record, West Deptford is not yet assured a home game.
The Eagles currently sit in eighth place in Group 1, just a half game up on Glen Ridge and one game up on Red Bank. Given the location of possible first-round opponents, the Eagles would love to avoid a long bus ride and secure their second home playoff game in as many seasons.
West Deptford has games left against Woodstown (Monday) and Cherokee (Friday). Woodstown has struggled this season, and already lost to West Deptford, but Lenape is locked in a nine-game winning streak. There are nine teams currently within two games of each other in the Group 1 standings, so the Eagles will likely not know their fate until right before Saturday’s cutoff.
GIRLS' LACROSSE (cutoff Monday): The clearest playoff picture is girls’ lacrosse, thanks to the fact that playoff entries close Monday night. Unlike boys’ lacrosse, the girls’ playoff system is broken down in regions. West Deptford defeated Sterling Friday, 16-8, to improve to 9-6. The win also snapped a four-game losing streak.
The Eagles will take on Seneca on Monday. It figures to be a close game as Seneca won 10-8 earlier in the season. If the current standings hold, West Deptford will be a No. 5 seed in Group 2 and will host No. 11 Lower Cape May when the playoffs begin.