Rochester, Valley softball to meet for 4th time in 2 years
Caston draws Southwood; Pioneer gets Rensselaer while Winamac gets ranked Boone Grove; Argos, Culver could meet in semis
BY VAL TSOUTSOURIS
Sports Editor, RTC
The Rochester and Tippecanoe Valley softball teams will meet for the fourth time in two years, and Pioneer drew the same opponent they did last year when they went on a run that ended in a state championship.
Those were among the revelations of the IHSAA softball draw, which was released Sunday.
Sectionals will be held May 23-28, regionals are May 31, semistates are June 4, and the four state title games will be played at Bittinger Stadium at Purdue University in West Lafayette on June 10-11.
Sectional tickets are $6 per session or $10 for an all-sectional ticket. Game times and ticket information for postseason games will be released later.
Rochester, Tippecanoe Valley
Valley defeated Rochester 13-7 on April 25 in their regular season meeting. The rematch will be in a Class 2A, Sectional 37 quarterfinal at Wabash.
Valley also beat Rochester twice last year, including a 4-1 win in the sectional semifinals.
The game will also once again bring travel ball teammates together. Rochester’s Emma Howdeshell, Mia Howdeshell, Kallie Watson, Maddie Heinzmann, Sydney Haughs and Kylie Coleman are teammates with Valley’s Corinna Stiles and Molly Moriarty on the Indiana Purple Crush 16-and-under travel team.
The Rochester-Valley winner will meet Whitko, who received a bye, in the semifinals. Whitko is the defending sectional champion after beating Valley 4-1 in the final.
In the other half of the draw, Manchester drew Lewis Cass in the quarterfinals, and the winner will play Wabash in the semifinals.
No. 15 Valley is the only ranked team in the sectional. Valley has not won a softball sectional title since 1992.
Caston, ranked No. 10, drew Southwood in a Class 1A, Sectional 52 quarterfinal at North Miami. The winner will meet North White, who got a bye, in the semifinals.
Caston is not scheduled to play Southwood during the regular season. Caston and North White will meet at North White at 5 p.m. Thursday.
In the other half of the draw, the West Central-Northfield winner will meet North Miami in the semifinals. Northfield is the defending state champion and beat West Central in last year’s sectional final.
Northfield sports a 3-5 record so far this season.
No. 2 West Central and Caston are the two ranked teams in this sectional. Neither West Central nor Caston have ever won a sectional title in softball.
Caston is 3-0 against other sectional opponents, including wins over North Miami, Northfield and West Central.
Top-ranked Pioneer’s quest for back-to-back state titles will begin with a Class 2A, Sectional 34 quarterfinal game against Rensselaer at North Judson. The game will be their first matchup since Pioneer beat Rensselaer 11-1 in six innings in last year’s quarterfinal.
The Rensselaer-Pioneer winner will play the North Newton-North Judson winner in the semifinals. North Newton beat North Judson 10-0 in five innings on April 27. North Newton freshman Sydney Rainford pitched a no-hitter in that game.
In the other half of the draw, Winamac found out that they will have to beat two ranked opponents in order to make the sectional final.
First, Winamac must face No. 10 Boone Grove in the quarterfinals. The winner will meet No. 2 Hebron in the semifinals. Winamac eliminated Hebron and North Judson before losing to Pioneer in last year’s sectional final.
Argos and Culver could meet in the semifinals of Class 1A, Sectional 50 at LaCrosse, but each will have to win a game in order for that to happen.
Argos drew Oregon-Davis and will meet in one quarterfinal. The winner will meet the South Bend Career Academy-Culver winner.
According to MaxPreps, Oregon-Davis is 0-3 and has been outscored 50-0 in those games. South Bend Career Academy is 0-3 and has been outscored 62-8.
In the other half of the draw, LaCrosse drew South Central (Union Mills), and the winner will meet Triton in the semifinals.
South Central has won 16 sectional titles in its history while the other six schools have won six sectionals combined. South Central has not lost a sectional game since 2013.