Rochester gets rematch with Winamac in softball sectional opener; Pioneer awaits winner
Valley, Caston, Argos also receive byes; Culver draws Westville
BY VAL TSOUTSOURIS
Sports Editor, RTC
The next time the Rochester and Winamac softball teams meet, it will be a game that will have both 41 days and 10 years of anticipation.
Meanwhile, Tippecanoe Valley, Caston, Pioneer and Argos all received sectional byes, according to the IHSAA draw which was revealed Sunday.
Sectionals will be held from May 22-27. Regionals are May 30 with champions of the odd-numbered sectional hosting, and semistates are June 3 at Frankfort (1A), Warsaw (2A) and Twin Lakes (3A).
Purdue University's Bittinger Stadium will host the state finals on June 9-10.
Sectional tickets are $7 per session or $15 for an all-sectional ticket.
Here’s more on the draw.
Rochester will play Winamac in a Class 2A, Sectional 37 quarterfinal at Rochester on May 22. That will be 41 days since their last meeting, a 9-8 Winamac win at Town Park on April 11.
It will also be their first postseason meeting at Rochester’s Fansler Field since Winamac stunned No. 1 Rochester 6-1 in the 2013 sectional final thanks to Bethany Brogdon’s pitching gem. Rochester is hosting a softball sectional for the first time since.
The Rochester-Winamac winner will play Pioneer, who received a bye, in the semifinals. Pioneer lost to Rochester 15-1 in six innings on April 8 but defeated Winamac 13-12 on Tuesday.
Winamac is 10-6, but only two of their wins are against teams with winning records. One of those two wins, however, came against Rochester (7-4).
In the other half of the draw, North Judson will play Wabash with the winner to meet Lewis Cass. Wabash is 6-5, North Judson is 5-6, and Lewis Cass is 4-9.
Valley received a bye in Class 3A, Sectional 20 at Kankakee Valley and will meet the winner of the John Glenn-Kankakee Valley game in the semifinals.
Valley already owns a 10-2 win at John Glenn on April 15. Valley will not play Kankakee Valley during the regular season.
Kankakee Valley is 6-10, but they are a defending regional champion.
Tippecanoe Valley is seeking their first sectional title since 1992.
In the other half of the draw, Knox will play Culver Academy with the winner to play Rensselaer. Knox has 10 wins while Culver Academy and Rensselaer have four wins combined.
Caston’s search for their first sectional title in school history ended with a 5-3 loss to North Miami in last year’s sectional final. If they were to meet in this year’s Class 1A, Sectional 52 at North Miami, it would again be in the sectional final, but Caston might first have to beat No. 4 West Central just to get the chance.
Caston will play the West Central-North White winner in the semifinals. West Central swept a doubleheader from North White on April 8. Caston won at West Central 10-4 on Monday.
Meanwhile, North Miami’s path to the sectional final will start against Southwood in the quarterfinals. The Southwood-North Miami winner will meet Northfield, who received a bye, in the semifinals.
North Miami beat Caston 2-0 on April 10 in Caston’s season opener.
Neither Culver nor Argos has ever won a softball sectional title. If they were to meet in this year’s sectional, it would occur in the semifinals.
Both wound up on the same side of the draw with the host school in Class 1A, Sectional 50 at Westville.
Culver drew Westville in the quarterfinals with the winner to meet Argos.
Argos is 4-8, and Culver is 2-6. Neither Argos nor Culver has a win over a team with a winning record so far. Westville is 7-5 and won a sectional as recently as 2021.
The other half of the draw has Triton meeting Oregon-Davis with the winner to play Marquette Catholic.
With South Central (Union Mills) now in Class 2A, there is no defending sectional champion in the field.
Triton won four straight sectionals from 2013-16 but has not won one since. Marquette Catholic has not won a sectional since 2004. Like Argos and Culver, Oregon-Davis has also never won a softball sectional title.