- Val T.
Softball draw: Rochester, Valley get byes, will play each other in sectional semis
Caston gets North White; Pioneer draws Rensselaer, Winamac gets Hebron in Sectional 34
BY VAL TSOUTSOURIS
Sports Editor, RTC
The Rochester and Tippecanoe Valley softball teams are sectional rivals for the first time since 1999, and the IHSAA wasted no time in matching them up with each other.
Rochester and Valley both received byes and will play each other in a Class 2A, Sectional 37 semifinal at Wabash. Dates and times of games have yet to be announced.
Sectionals will be held statewide May 24-29.
Meanwhile, Winamac will try to avenge one of its previous losses in its Class 2A, Sectional 34 quarterfinal while Pioneer will face one of only two teams in the sectional that isn’t ranked.
Also, Caston will play a North White team it has already defeated in Class 1A, Sectional 52. In Sectional 50, and Argos drew No. 3 South Central while Culver drew Triton.
Rochester, Tippecanoe Valley
Valley will be seeking its first sectional title since 1992 under coach Brittany Mathias. Rochester will be trying for its first sectional since 2012 for coach Becky Lee.
In the other half of the draw, Wabash will play Lewis Cass, and Whitko will take on Manchester in the quarterfinals.
Whitko is ranked No. 20, Lewis Cass is No. 22, and Valley is No. 27 in this week’s Class 2A poll. Valley beat Rochester 7-5 at Fansler Field Monday. Unranked Manchester beat Whitko 5-0 in their Three Rivers Conference meeting last Friday.
Whitko won back-to-back regionals in 2017 and 2018 before losing in the semistate both times.
Plowing through its schedule with a 19-1 record, No. 2 Caston will play North White in a Sectional 52 quarterfinal at North Miami.
Caston beat North White 13-1 in five innings in Monon on April 19 in their most recent meeting. Isabel Scales went 3 for 3 with a homer and four RBIs in that game.
Caston has never won a sectional title in program history, and they are one of four ranked teams in the sectional.
The North White-Caston winner will play the winner between No. 15 Northfield and No. 9 North Miami in the semifinals. North Miami handed Caston their lone loss, a 5-4 decision on April 12 in Denver.
In the other half of the draw, No. 7 West Central and Southwood both received byes and will play each other in the semifinals.
Class 2A, No. 11 Winamac is 14-4, but one of their losses was a 6-0 loss to No. 15 Hebron and freshman pitcher Brooke Cunningham on April 8.
The rematch is in a Sectional 34 quarterfinal at Winamac Town Park. The winner will play No. 27 North Judson, who received a bye, in the semifinals. Winamac beat North Judson 8-0 in their Hoosier North matchup one day after the draw was released on Monday.
In the bottom half of the draw, No. 3 Pioneer drew Rensselaer in a quarterfinal. Pioneer has 20 sectional titles in its history, including four straight from 2016-19. This will be Pioneer’s first appearance in the 2A state tournament. They were the 1A state champs in 2018 and the 1A state runners-up in 2019.
Meanwhile, Rensselaer has never won a sectional title in program history.
The Rensselaer-Pioneer winner will play the North Newton-Boone Grove winner in the semifinals. Boone Grove is 8-4 and ranked No. 6. They won five consecutive sectionals from 2015-19.
South Central (Union Mills) is 16-2 and ranked No. 3, and one of their 16 wins was a 21-0 win in five innings at Argos on April 14.
The rematch is in the sectional quarterfinals at South Central.
The Lady Satellites have won 15 sectionals all time, including six in a row from 2014-19. Meanwhile, Argos has never won a sectional.
The winner will play the winner of the Culver-Triton matchup in the semifinals. Culver is 4-8 and coming off a 19-0 win in five innings over Oregon-Davis Tuesday in which lefty A.J. Hinds threw a no-hitter.
Culver and Triton are also scheduled to meet Monday in their Hoosier North meeting. Their sectional meeting will occur two weeks later.
South Bend Career Academy and LaCrosse received byes and will play each other in the bottom half of the draw.
Sectional tickets are $6 per session or $10 for an all-sectional ticket.
Regionals will be held June 1, semistates are June 5, and Center Grove High School in Greenwood will host the state finals June 11-12.
Champions of odd-numbered sectionals will host regional games on June 1. So among area teams, Rochester or Tippecanoe Valley would host a regional while Winamac, Pioneer, Caston, Argos and Culver would all have to play their regional games on the road.
Semistate sites include Newton Park in Lakeville for Class 2A and Frankfort in Class 1A.