Editor’s Note: The Deseret News’ McCade Pearson, a graduate of Riverton High, has a passion for all sports, including high school sports. He’s also passionate about sports analytics and is fine-tuning formulas and models for his own power ranking and state tournament predictive system. Here’s his take on the upcoming 6A, 5A softball playoffs.


Throughout my life, two things have always been tied together — my love for sports and my love for numbers. The past decade has provided me opportunities to work in athletics as well as receive a mathematics-statistics degree.

When I looked over the empty brackets before the final RPI release, my mind wandered and I started thinking about all the exciting things that could occur during the next few weeks. Using my unique power rankings system from the regular season, I built some models to try and predict what might unfold in the 6A and 5A softball state tournaments.

The predictive model I designed rewards teams for results over the past two seasons, with extra weight added to the current season for obvious reasons. It has aspects that try to make it more predictive of the future than analytical to the past. Trying to predict the future is always a work in progress in sports.

There is always another number to crunch and another variable to factor in and try to quantify. I openly admit these predictions are far from perfect, and I will likely spend significant time in the coming months refining and redefining to try and get final results closer to reality for numerous sports. 

High school softball: 5A/4A/3A/2A playoff roundup from Friday’s games

However, that is what makes sports great. No matter how many predictions are put out there, the future is just one reality. Below is a summary of 100,000 simulations for each 6A and 5A softball tournament. And yet when the players actually take the field during the coming weeks, only one version of each match will be played, only one team will come out with a victory, and they will do so just one time as one champion is crowned. We just have no idea which of the infinite simulations that will be and that is the magic of sports.

Unlike my predictions for the soccer state tournaments — which are single elimination —  it’s much more likely to see the higher-seeded teams advance throughout the softball state tournaments because of it’s double-elimination format.

The 5A tournament kicked off with play-in games on Friday, and with the first round of both the 6A and 5A tournaments getting underway on Saturday.


6A model predictions

Note: The ranking column is the power ranking formula I’ve created. The other columns are probability of reaching those rounds of the playoffs.

Predicting 6A softball state tournament

TeamsRankRPISRF8F6F4FinalChamp
Riverton2180.31100%100%98%94%83%61%
Skyridge1992.22100%99%85%62%24%6%
Bingham2104.53100%99%93%83%63%27%
Fremont1966.94100%95%82%55%11%3%
Mountain Ridge1892.25100%79%58%27%3%1%
West1917.66100%82%55%27%6%1%
Farmington1904.97100%78%51%24%6%1%
Westlake1871.58100%76%43%18%3%0%
Taylorsville1439.81663%0%0%0%0%0%
Hunter1402.31737%0%0%0%0%0%
Cyprus1762.69100%24%9%2%0%0%
Kearns1232.4240%0%0%0%0%0%
Copper Hills1773.21298%21%8%2%0%0%
Clearfield1395.0212%0%0%0%0%0%
West Jordan1669.81374%4%1%0%0%0%
Roy1576.12026%0%0%0%0%0%
Layton1645.61483%2%0%0%0%0%
Herriman1490.01917%0%0%0%0%0%
Pleasant Grove1771.81198%18%7%2%0%0%
Syracuse1358.5222%0%0%0%0%0%
Weber1783.91099%22%9%3%0%0%
Corner Canyon1266.9231%0%0%0%0%0%
Lone Peak1559.91571%1%0%0%0%0%
Davis1483.91829%0%0%0%0%0%

5A model predictions

Note: The ranking column is the power ranking formula I’ve created. The other columns are probability of reaching those rounds of the playoffs.

Predicting 5A state softball tournament

TeamsRankRPISRF8F6F4FinalChamp
Spanish Fork2041.71100%97%94%90%80%69%
Bonneville1866.42100%89%78%62%37%10%
Uintah1853.53100%90%78%60%34%9%
Bountiful1814.34100%84%68%43%12%4%
Wasatch1789.05100%83%64%37%7%3%
Springville1668.86100%40%23%9%1%0%
Lehi1811.57100%61%48%30%11%3%
Salem Hills1736.58100%73%45%22%6%1%
Timpanogos1636.6994%24%11%4%1%0%
Woods Cross1350.8256%0%0%0%0%0%
Stansbury1789.41099%41%28%16%6%1%
Timpview1344.6231%0%0%0%0%0%
Box Elder1753.61196%58%34%17%5%1%
Alta1437.2224%0%0%0%0%0%
Cedar Valley1619.41274%13%5%1%0%0%
Skyline1525.72126%0%0%0%0%0%
Orem1662.41333%6%3%1%0%0%
Tooele1767.22067%9%6%3%1%0%
East1667.71480%15%7%3%0%0%
Northridge1535.81920%1%0%0%0%0%
Viewmont1602.11562%5%2%1%0%0%
Maple Mountain1571.91838%2%1%0%0%0%
Murray1651.61675%8%4%1%0%0%
Payson1548.41725%1%0%0%0%0%