Gorches: Time for some softball predictions
Steve T. Gorches 648-3141 or firstname.lastname@example.org May 20, 2012 11:28PM
Hebron's Mollie Lindeman pitches in the second inning against Kankakee Valley Wednesday afternoon at Hebron High School. | Jeffrey D. Nicholls~Sun-Times Media
Updated: July 1, 2012 12:47PM
In recent years, I’ve been slipping at these prediction columns. In fact, when that word is brought up in the office, the response from Mr. T’s memorable character Clubber Lang from the movie “Rocky III” is invoked.
“My prediction? Pain.”
Predicting the winners of Northwest Indiana softball sectionals has become painful at times. Maybe I’m thinking too much. To quote another movie, maybe I should take the advice of Crash Davis from “Bull Durham”, when he tells Ebby Calvin LaLoosh, “Don’t think; it can only hurt the ball club.”
So I’ll go with the non-thinking method this time and just go with my gut on these sectionals, which, thanks to realignment, are a little tougher to matriculate through.
Morton’s been a pretty darn good story this season in region softball, winning the Great Lakes Athletic Conference and doing what every team in any sport at any level strives for — win every game. The Governors didn’t quite win all of them, but they have the best record of any team in the region going into the postseason.
And that’s where the feel-good story ends since the Govs happen to be in the same sectional as Lake Central, which has been cemented at the No. 1 spot in the Post-Tribune poll from the first day of the season and in the top five of the state coaches poll.
LC defeated state No. 1 South Bend Riley last week, so the Indians are going into the postseason on a roll. I’d love to say Morton has a chance in the Highland Sectional, but I just don’t see it.
In the Chesterton Sectional, the host Trojans are on the easier side of the bracket while contenders Portage and Crown Point, and sleepers LaPorte and Michigan City are on the other side of the bracket. That means the Trojans have an advantage, and that’s my pick since it doesn’t require much thinking.
As for the regional and beyond, Lake Central’s season has ended in the semistate the last two years. That will change as the Indians finally make it back to the state final.
It seems like Andrean is a lock to reach the state final again. After all, the 59ers have done that quite often over the last decade. But Kankakee Valley is even more formidable this year in the sectional.
Can the Kougars beat Andrean for a third time in the last two seasons? Sure. Will they? I can’t predict that with the way Nikki Steinbach has been pitching. Andrean’s hitting has been good too, so look for another long run to the state final.
In the other sectional, a new alignment has Griffith sitting as the favorite. Gavit is the four-time defending champ, while Clark has been focused all season on ending its 14-year sectional drought. If I used my brain, it would tell me to go with Griffith. But remember, no thinking involved, so I’ll go with my heart and alma mater Clark.
Hebron lost in the semistate final last season, one game from a trip to Indianapolis. That’s been a driving force behind the Hawks this season, at least in the back of their minds. Not it’s time to move it to the frontal lobe. The Hawks should easily roll in the sectional, which is just a precursor to another week of softball.
Look for Hebron to break through this time and reach the state final for the first time.
The most competitive area sectional might be at Bishop Noll in which the hosts and Wheeler meet in the second game. Those are the favorites, but the first game between Whiting and Lake Station is also a good one. The Eagles won twice against the Oilers this season, and also played close games against Wheeler and Noll.
Lake Station winning would be another feel-good story, just like Morton. But I can’t pick them, even if I could cheer for them if I wasn’t impartial. I’ll go with Wheeler.
South Central won last year. I can’t really go against the Satellites this season, even though Westville will challenge them. The Blackhawks only lost to South Central by one last week, but the Satellites have a little more winning experience.
In the other sectional, four Porter County Conference will fight for the crown. Kouts won last year, but Washington Township has played well this year, and the Senators steal a lot of bases. Call me old-school, but I love stolen bases, so I’ll pick the Senators to win their first softball sectional crown, but I don’t think either region winner will advance much further.
There you go — no thinking needed. And if I get most of them wrong again, the result will be predictable: Pain.