Northview, Linton, WRV fly flag for Wabash Valley on diamonds

Tribune-Star/Joseph C. GarzaRiding this wave: Northview’s Brigham Booe high fives his teammates during the Knights’ sectional semifinal win over Owen Valley on Monday in Brazil.

The first Saturday in June is typically when the nexus of spring high school sports come together to form one of the busiest local sports days of the year.

Baseball regional games, softball semistate games, girls state tennis and the boys state track and field finals are all on the docket for June’s first Saturday.

While boys track and field is on, and Terre Haute South’s girls tennis state run came to a close on Friday, it’s been an unusually quiet year for teams on the diamond.

Only three baseball teams — Northview in 3A, Linton in 2A and White River Valley in Class A — have survived to make the regional and no area softball teams advanced past Tuesday’s regionals in that sport. That’s highly irregular.

As recently as two years, there were seven combined baseball and softball teams playing in regionals or semistates.

Of the teams remaining, Northview has the most accomplished pedigree as it tries to defend its state championship. Linton is the team that’s been knocking on the door to breakthrough to the next level. And WRV? The Wolverines did nothing short of achieve a miracle when it won its Class A sectional despite entering it with no victories.

Northview (22-3) has won 19 straight games entering its 1:30 p.m. regional matchup with Indianapolis Brebeuf.

The regional was originally scheduled to be played at Crawfordsville, but field damage there required the regional to be moved to Brebeuf’s campus on the northwest side of Indianapolis.

“I think it brings new life to the matchup. Going there? They’ll have something more to prove. We beat them 10-0 during the season, but it’s a tournament game and things are different now,” Northview coach Craig Trout said.

As they did last year when they won the Class 3A state championship, Northview got a baptism by fire having to negotiate its rugged 3A sectional. Wins over Sullivan (itself a top 10 team), Owen Valley and Edgewood blazed Northview’s path.

The Knights also see a team that gave them one of their stiffest challenges en route to the championship a year ago. Northview defeated Brebeuf 8-7 at the same stage of the tournament last year at Crawfordsville. Braydon Tucker’s three-run home run in the sixth inning of last year’s contest decided it.

“Last year, we were kind of bright-eyed. we hadn’t been to the regional in a while. When we played and competed with them. It was a big step,” Trout said. 

Tucker once again leads Northview with four home runs. Matt Clawson (.424), Mitch Howald (.419) and Trey Shaw lead a potent Northview attack. The Knights are hitting .360 overall.

Northview is no less stout on the mound. Tucker — who is expected to start against Brebeuf and who allowed just one hit to them in a matchup earlier this season — has a 1.33 ERA and Luke Lancaster is at 1.60, giving Northview that all-important one-two punch in the one-day, two-game regional. If the Knights win, they will play either Tri-West or Indian Creek in the 7 p.m. championship contest.

Expectations? They just come with the territory now for the Knights.

“We know there’s a target on our back, but we’re embracing the target. We tried to be the aggressor earlier. Last year, we hung around and it was a cardiac kids. This year it seemed we scored a lot of runs early,” Trout said.

Linton (22-7) advanced to the Clarksville Providence Regional with relative ease in winning the 2A Mitchell Sectional. Linton will also have a rematch of its 2016 regional semifinal as it plays at 10 a.m. against South Spencer. In fact, the entire regional field is the same from 2016 as host Providence plays Austin in the other semifinal.

The Miners are trying to win their first-ever baseball regional title. The Miners had a tense 1-0 win over South Spencer a year ago in a semifinal and hope they have a repeat result so the Miners get another shot at Providence. The Pioneers knocked Linton out 14-4 in last season’s regional title game.

While Northview and Linton were expected regional participants, WRV (2-17) was decidedly not. The Wolverines defeated Clay City (the defending sectional champs) and North Central en route to the Class A Morristown Regional where WRV will play Rising Sun at 1 p.m. today. Edinburgh and Indianapolis Lutheran play in the other regional semifinal with a 7 p.m. championship game.

WRV got back on its feet after a winless regular season when pitcher Chris Cornelius returned to the fold. The Wolverines’ intended primary starter missed most of the season with an arm injury, but he helped pitch WRV to its first sectional title in school history.


Class 3A Indianapolis Brebeuf Regional

Tri-West vs. Indian Creek, 11 a.m.

Northview vs. Indianapolis Brebeuf, 1:30 p.m.

Championship, 7 p.m.

Class 2A Clarksville Providence Regional

Linton vs. South Spencer, 10 a.m.

Clarksville Providence vs. Austin, Noon

Championship, 6 p.m.

Class A Morristown Regional

Edinburgh vs. Indianapolis Lutheran, 10 a.m.

WRV vs. Rising Sun, 1 p.m.

Championship, 7 p.m.

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