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  • Val T.

Sectional 37 softball draw: Rochester to play Lewis Cass, Winamac to play Pioneer

Valley to play Knox, Caston gets West Central


BY VAL TSOUTSOURIS

Sports Editor, RTC

The Rochester softball team already knew that they would finish Three Rivers Conference play against Lewis Cass. Now they know they will turn around and play them again in the sectional five days later.

And while that will be one of the quarterfinal games at the sectional that Rochester will host, the other will feature a rematch of Hoosier North rivals Pioneer and Winamac.

Those were among the revelations of the IHSAA softball draw Monday night.

Meanwhile, Valley drew Knox in what could be a pitching rematch between Dalynne Bussard and Bethany Barnes, and Caston drew West Central in a battle of two ranked teams in Class 1A.

The only area team to receive a bye as Culver, but they might have to face rival Argos in the semifinals of their Class 1A sectional.

Sectionals will be held from May 20-25, regionals are set for May 28, semistates are June 1, and the state finals will be played June 7-8 at Bittinger Stadium on the Purdue campus in West Lafayette.

Tickets are $7 per session or $15 for an all-sectional ticket.

Rochester, Pioneer, Winamac

Lewis Cass came into last year’s sectional with a 5-20 record, but they beat North Judson and Winamac to win the sectional before losing to Delphi in the regional.

Lewis Cass is 4-6 so far this season and 1-1 in their first season in the Three Rivers Conference. They will host Rochester on May 15 and then meet them again in a Class 2A, Sectional 37 quarterfinal at Fansler Field.

Rochester (5-9), who has five freshmen and two sophomores in their regular lineup, is seeking their first sectional title since 2012.

Rochester beat Lewis Cass 6-5 in a sectional quarterfinal at Oak Hill in 2019 in their most recent postseason meeting.

The winner of the Lewis Cass-Rochester quarterfinal will play North Judson, who received a bye, in the semifinals.

In the other half of the draw, Winamac drew Pioneer with the winner to play Wabash.

Pioneer is tied for No. 9 in the most recent Class 2A coaches poll. They are the only ranked team in the poll.

They also defeated Winamac 12-10 in last year’s sectional semifinals and 17-2 in five innings in the sectional final during their run to the 2021 Class 2A state title.

Winamac has not defeated Pioneer since April 17, 2017.

Tippecanoe Valley

After ending a 31-year sectional drought last year, Valley will try for a repeat under new coach Brian Barger in Class 3A, Sectional 20 at Kankakee Valley.

Valley’s meeting with Knox in the quarterfinals wll be a rematch of a game that Knox won 1-0 on Wednesday.

Barnes pitched a five-hit shutout with one walk and seven strikeouts. Bussard, who broke Valley’s school record for career strikeouts, had 14 whiffs in that game while pitching her own five-hitter.

The Knox-Tippecanoe Valley winner will play Rensselaer, who received a bye, in the semifinals. At 7-4, Rensselaer has the best record of any team in the sectional though no team has lost more than six games.

In the other half of the draw, Kankakee Valley drew John Glenn with the winner to face Culver Academy in the semifinals.

Kankakee Valley and John Glenn do not met during the regular season.

Caston

Caston won their first sectional title in softball last spring, eventually winning the first regional and semistate team titles in any sport in school history and springboarding itself to the Class 1A state title game.

Their tournament run started with a 10-4 win over West Central in the semifinals, and they will once again open state tournament play against the Lady Trojans in a Class 1A, Sectional 52 quarterfinal at North Miami.

However, West Central beat Caston 6-4 in Fulton on April 22 in their regular season meeting despite two homers from Addison Zimpleman and one from Kylee Logan.

Caston is currently ranked No. 4 in Class 1A while West Central is tied for No. 8.

The Caston-West Central winner will play North Miami in the semifinals. Caston beat North Miami 6-4 on Thursday.

In the other half of the draw, Northfield drew Southwood with the winner to meet North White. Southwood was last year’s sectional runner-up and returns key players like pitcher Natalie Sutphin, catcher Grace Lambert, center field Izzy Ashba and second baseman Rowan Goodpasture.

Argos, Culver

Argos drew Oregon-Davis in a Class 1A, Sectional 50 quarterfinal at Westville. The winner will play Culver.

Oregon-Davis could be the sectional’s most mysterious team in that they have played only two games and none since April 17. The Lady Dragons and Lady Bobcats are scheduled to meet this Friday at Argos for their regular season game.

Culver was scheduled to play Argos on April 2, but the game was postponed and has not been rescheduled. Culver does not play Oregon-Davis during the regular season.

In the other half of the draw, Westville drew Marquette Catholic with the winner to play Triton.

Westville is the defending sectional champion, and they have the best record in the sectional at 11-4.





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