Playoffs bring abundance of storylines, excitement

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Four teams with a combined 12 championships and four seeking their first title comprise a 2017 PGBL playoff field that features three 100-win teams and two division rivalries in the first round.

The defending champion Chicago Cardinals open their quest for a sixth crown and 12th North League pennant as the league’s top seed against Norris Division foe Boston. The Braves eclipsed 90 wins for a second straight season after totaling just 66 in the prior two years.

Overall top seed Dublin’s prize for winning 121 games and the Confederate Division crown is a first-round South League matchup with the upset-minded Flagstaff Elk, who are making their first postseason appearance since 2010 and third overall. The Guinness are seeking the franchise’s third overall title but its first since relocating from Key West.

Three-time champ Memphis won 118 games but will go on the road for its series opener with two-time winner Tijuana. The Melee last made the playoffs in 2012 when they lost a tight five-game division series to the Tequila Swiggers, who went on to a repeat crown.

In the other NL matchup, the tense season-long Maple Leaf Division rivalry between Vancouver and Calgary continues after both teams finished the regular season at 92-60. The Roughnecks held the tiebreaker and sealed home field advantage by beating the Wildcats in the first two of their season-ending four-game matchup on the road. Both teams are seeking their first World Series appearance in their current location.

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