All three Vigo County high schools and Northview appear to have a realistic chance of winning sectional championships in softball this week.
Trying to figure out which will survive and which won’t is the fun part as sectionals involving Wabash Valley teams begin today at Martinsville (Class 4A), Edgewood (Class 3A), Cascade (Class 2A), South Knox (Class 2A), Riverton Parke (Class A) and Clay City (Class A).
• At Martinsville, leading Terre Haute South’s offensive attack have been junior first baseman Mackenzie McGregor (.425 batting average, five home runs, 26 runs batted in and eight doubles); senior second baseman/pitcher Cheyenne Reinig (25 RBIs, three homers and six doubles); senior catcher Shelbie Scamihorn (three homers and six doubles); junior shortstop/pitcher Kelsey Marlow (.397, 23 RBIs and 17 stolen bases); sophomore pitcher/designated hitter Jackie Swain (five homers and 17 RBIs) and sophomore third baseman Hollie Jones (.400 and 17 steals).
South’s top pitchers in a Metropolitan Interscholastic Conference championship season have been Hannah Gossman (9-5 record and a 3.89 earned-run average) and Swain (6-3, one save, 3.49 ERA and 41 strikeouts in 59 innings).
Having drawn a first-round bye, South’s sectional opener will be against Northview in the second semifinal game Tuesday evening. The Braves and Knights faced each once in the regular season and that resulted in an 8-8 tie in the rain in the Big Four Classic.
“I think we’re going to see similar firepower,” South first-year head coach Dwayne Stout predicted. “We’re going to have to be selective at the plate. We need to get our pitch to hit.”
Northview is likely to counter with senior right-handed pitcher Taylor Carter, who will take her talents to East Tennessee State next season.
Carter is 12-5-1 with a 1.29 ERA and a school-record 185 strikeouts (and counting) in 108.1 innings. Sophomore Whitney Halfhill is the Knights’ other pitcher, having compiled a 3-3 mark.
Northview coach Bethany Jones knows Carter and the Knights’ defense will have their hands full against South.
“They have some power hitters,” Jones said of the Braves. “We know they’re going to hit the ball, so we’ve got to be ready to hit and play defense.”
On offense, the Knights have relied upon pitcher/shortstop Carter (.451, 10 homers and 30 RBIs); senior center fielder Hope Torbert (.440 and 19 RBIs); senior catcher Ashley Hughes (.395); and shortstop/pitcher Halfhill (.333 and nine doubles).
Northview tied West Vigo and Brown County for the Western Indiana Conference championship with a 5-1 mark, so its players are accustomed to success as well.
But it’s possible that Terre Haute North may advance even farther than South or Northview. The Patriots have plenty of difference-making hitters of their own.
Among them are senior left fielder Allie McKinney (.590 and 21 RBIs); senior right fielder/pitcher Alisha Ludwig (.512 and 14 RBIs); junior third baseman Katie Herrick (.474, two homers and 13 RBIs), junior shortstop Jazmine Allen (.458, four homers and 20 RBIs); sophomore first baseman Conner Nelson (five homers); and senior right fielder/DH Lorrie LaTourette (four homers).
“We definitely hit,” North coach Jack Kirchner emphasized. “We hit the ball. The kids work hard at it. … We’ve been a little iffy on defense, but hopefully we score enough to make up for that.”
Pitching-wise, North rolls with sophomore right-hander Allison Crick (11-1 and a 2.73 ERA), the southpaw Ludwig (3-1, 3.25 ERA and 39 strikeouts in 38 innings) and junior righty Morgan Young (3-0 and a 0.91 ERA).
“Allison’s more of a groundball type of pitcher,” Kirchner noted. “She’s not a strikeout pitcher.”
North will battle Mooresville for the first time — they were rained out twice in the regular season — in tonight’s second contest. The winner of that will face today’s Martinsville-Plainfield survivor in the semifinals at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday.
Plainfield, for those who may have forgotten, went on to capture the Class 4A state championship last year. Although the Quakers lost some key players to graduation since then, they’re still considered a sectional title contender this year.
“If you’re going to call a favorite, you’d have to say Plainfield,” Kirchner told the Tribune-Star. “They won the state last year.”
“Our sectional is tough,” Jones assessed. “Whoever comes to play will be who wins.”
“North is a juggernaut of a hitting team,” Stout said in respect of the Patriots. “I think my squad has to play well together. Defense, I believe, will play a huge role in this sectional.”
The Martinsville Sectional championship game is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Wednesday.
• At Edgewood, West Vigo, co-WIC champion, will meet the host Mustangs in the sectional opener at 5 p.m. today.
West Vigo coach Cherish Easton said sophomore center fielder Baylee Waters, senior second baseman Ciara McClain, junior catcher Brittany Voils and senior third baseman Jacy McClain were all hitting in the low .300s late last week and freshman shortstop Shelby Edington was around 20 RBIs.
Although Easton considers her own squad, Brown County and South Vermillion as possible co-favorites to emerge victorious in the sectional championship game, which starts at 5 p.m. Thursday, she isn’t ruling out the Mustangs.
“They’re a strong hitting team and they’re disciplined,” she said.
But the Vikings aren’t too bad themselves in 2013, although there’s room for improvement.
“We’ve been playing well enough to win,” Easton mentioned, “but that doesn’t mean we’re playing up to our potential.”
• Game 1 — Martinsville vs. Plainfield, 5:30 p.m.
• Game 2 — Mooresville vs. Terre Haute North, about 7:30
• Game 3 — Game 1 winner vs. Game 2 winner, 5:30 p.m.
• Game 4 — Terre Haute South vs. Northview, about 7:30
• Game 5 — Championship, 5:30 p.m.
• Game 1 — West Vigo vs. Edgewood, 5 p.m.
• Game 2 — Greencastle vs. Brown County, about 7
• Game 3 — Game 1 winner vs. Game 2 winner, 5 p.m.
• Game 4 — South Vermillion vs. Owen Valley, about 7
• Game 5 — Championship, 5 p.m.
IHSAA Softball Sectional
Admission at each site — $6 per session or $9 for all sessions.
• Game 1 — South Putnam vs. Cloverdale, 6 p.m.
• Game 2 — Cascade vs. Covenant Christian (Indianapolis), 6 p.m.
• Game 3 — Speedway vs. Game 1 winner, about 8
• Game 4 — Championship, 6 p.m.
At South Knox
• Game 1 — Linton vs. North Knox, 6 p.m.
• Game 2 — Sullivan vs. North Central, 5 p.m.
• Game 3 — Bloomfield vs. South Knox, about 7
• Game 4 — Eastern Greene vs. Game 1 winner, 5 p.m.
• Game 5 — Game 2 winner vs. Game 3 winner, about 7
• Game 6 — Championship, 6 p.m.
At Riverton Parke
• Game 1 — Rockville vs. Riverton Parke, 5 p.m.
• Game 2 — Attica vs. Covington, about 7
• Game 3 — Game 1 winner vs. Game 2 winner, 5 p.m.
• Game 4 — Turkey Run vs. North Vermillion, about 7
• Game 5 — Championship, 6 p.m.
At Clay City
• Game 1 — Union vs. White River Valley, 5 p.m.
• Game 2 — Clay City vs. Shakamak, about 7
Game 3 — Championship, 7 p.m.