Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs begin for several sports across the Stanislaus District today.
The Beyer and Turlock High girls soccer teams take on Stockton-area powers in Division I south semifinals.
The Modesto Metro Conference-champion Patriots (24-2-1) play San Joaquin Athletic Association power Lincoln at Lincoln's Alex G. Spanos Stadium at 6 p.m. The Central California Conference-champion Bulldogs (19-5-2) are at Tri-County Athletic League champion St. Mary's. The Rams beat Beyer in penalty kicks in last year's south championship.
Division IV, V and VI soccer begins first-round play today.
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Valley Oak League champion Sonora, which won the Division IV title last year, has a home game against Capital Valley Conference No. 3 seed Center of Antelope. The Wildcats feature senior forward Lexi Kopf, who has 31 goals this season. Kopf has what is believed to be a District-best 123 career goals in four years with Sonora.
The other VOL teams are on the road: Runner-up Sierra is at last year's section runner-up, CVC champ West Campus; VOL No. 3 Oakdale, playing in the first girls soccer playoff game in school history, is at Pioneer Valley League champ Colfax.
The Division V field is wide open with Western Athletic Conference champion Central Catholic at home against Trans-Valley League runner-up Hughson in one of the top first-round games. The winner gets the Modesto Christian-Linden winner.
The other side of the bracket features TVL champ Ripon (home vs. Calaveras) and WAC runner-up Hilmar (home vs. Bret Harte), the defending section champion.
In Division VI, Southern League champ Le Grand plays host to Vacaville Christian. SL runner-up Denair is at Forest Lake Christian of Auburn.
The Division V baseball tournament begins with two games at Lodi's Tony Zupo Field.
TVL runner-up Ripon Christian, which finished a game back of champion Hughson and is back in the playoffs for the first time since 2002, takes on WAC champion Central Catholic at 4 p.m. The Raiders, ranked No. 1 in the state by CalHiSports.com, have won 14 games in a row. The Cinderella Knights are on a five-game winning streak.
At 7 p.m., TVL No. 3 Escalon plays Mother Lode League champion Bret Harte, a "bubble team" in the state rankings.
The Division V softball tournament begins with all four first-round games at 5 p.m. at the Arnaiz Stadium complex in Stockton. The winners will play again at 7 p.m.
The most intriguing matchup is in the stadium, where TVL runner-up Modesto Christian plays WAC champion Orestimba, ranked No. 4 in the state.
At Modesto Junior College Stadium, the trials of the Division III track and field championships begin. The field events begin at 3 p.m. with running scheduled to start at 4.