Zebras draw TRC rival Apaches in sectional opener
Valley gets Wawasee; Caston, Pioneer in opposite halves of Sectional 52 bracket; Argos, Culver in opposite halves of Sectional 50 bracket
BY VAL TSOUTSOURIS
Sports Editor, RTC
Two days after suffering their first loss to No. 2 Carroll (Flora), the Rochester baseball team found out they could play them again in the sectional semifinals.
But first, they will have to beat Wabash.
Meanwhile, Tippecanoe Valley will get a rematch of their highest-scoring game of the season, and senior-laden Winamac received a bye.
Also, Caston and Pioneer, who meet in a two-game Hoosier North set Monday and Tuesday of this week, could meet for a third time in the sectional final.
Meanwhile, Argos could face sectional superpower South Central (Union Mills) in the semifinals while Culver could face the Satellites in the final in Sectional 50, and Winamac received a bye in Class 2A, Sectional 34.
Sectionals will be held statewide May 25-30, regionals are June 4, semistates are June 11, and the state finals will be played at Victory Field in Indianapolis on June 17-18. This marks the 23rd time in the last 25 years that the baseball state finals have been played at Victory Field.
Sectional tickets are $6 per session or $10 for an all-sectional ticket. Sectional game times will be announced at a later time.
Rochester beat Wabash twice last season, including a 9-7 win in the sectional semifinals at Wabash’s Chris Rood Field en route to a sectional title.
They will meet again in a Class 2A, Sectional 37 quarterfinal at Wabash. They are also scheduled to meet at Rochester on May 9 in their Three Rivers Conference meeting.
The Wabash-Rochester winner will play the Carroll (Flora)-Lewis Cass winner in the semifinals. Carroll is undefeated (13-0), including a 10-2 win over Rochester on Friday. It’s already been a banner sports year for boys at Carroll with a sectional title in football and a regional title in basketball.
In the other half of the draw, Whitko and Manchester received byes and will play each other. Whitko eliminated Manchester in last year’s sectional semifinal.
Valley trailed Wawasee 15-10 going into the seventh inning of their game at the Wawasee tournament on April 23 but scored 12 runs in the top of the seventh to win 22-15.
The rematch will be in a Class 3A, Sectional 21 quarterfinal at Jimtown. The 22 runs Valley scored in that earlier meeting is the most runs Valley has scored in a game in Jarred Littlejohn’s two years as coach. (Littlejohn was hired prior to the 2020 season, but that season was canceled due to the pandemic.)
The Valley-Wawasee winner will meet the Lakeland-West Noble winner in the semifinals.
In the other half of the draw, NorthWood and Jimtown received byes and will meet in the semifinals.
Jimtown is 8-5 and is the only team in the sectional with a winning record. The other five teams are a combined 10-46.
There are no teams in Sectional 52 ranked in the top 10 in the most recent Class 1A coaches poll, but Caston and Pioneer are among “others receiving votes.”
Each will have to win two games for them to meet in the sectional final.
Caston drew West Central with the winner to meet North White in the semifinals. Caston and West Central (3-9) will have their regular season meeting on May 9 before they meet again in the postseason.
If Caston survives West Central, they will face a North White team they beat 18-3 in five innings on April 14.
In the other half of the draw, North Miami drew Pioneer and Northfield drew Southwood.
Pioneer eliminated North Miami in last year’s semifinals, but North Miami is 8-2 so far this season.
Southwood is the defending sectional champion but is just 1-8 so far this season.
Culver will meet Triton in a two-game Hoosier North series Monday and Tuesday, and they will meet for a third time in a Class 1A, Sectional 50 quarterfinal at South Central (Union Mills).
Triton is 0-11 so far this year.
The Triton-Culver winner will meet Oregon-Davis in the semifinals.
In the other half of the draw in the seven-team field, South Bend Career Academy drew South Central (Union Mills) and Argos drew LaCrosse.
Argos and LaCrosse will have their regular season meeting on May 14 at Argos before meeting again in the postseason. LaCrosse defeated Argos 11-3 in last year’s sectional quarterfinals.
South Central has won 17 sectional titles in its history, and the other six teams have won 17 sectionals combined. South Central has also won five consecutive sectionals and is ranked No. 4 in this week’s Class 1A coaches poll.
Seeking their first sectional title in 23 years, Winamac (9-2) received a bye in Class 2A, Sectional 34 at Boone Grove and will meet North Newton in a semifinal.
The North Newton-Winamac game will be a rematch of a 2019 sectional quarterfinal game that the Spartans won. North Newton went on to win the sectional that year, winning their three sectional games by a combined score of 27-3.
In the other half of the draw, North Judson drew Boone Grove and Rensselaer drew Hebron.
No team in this sectional received any poll recognition last week. Boone Grove is the defending sectional champion.