NWI softball sectional outlook
May 20, 2012 11:28PM
Lake Central's Lily Del Toro pitches against Michigan City in the first inning Thursday afternoon in St. John | Jeffrey D. Nicholls~Sun-Times Media
Updated: July 1, 2012 12:48PM
Monday — East Chicago vs. Lake Central, 5 p.m.; Tuesday — West Side vs. Munster, 4 p.m.; Lowell vs. Morton, 6 p.m.; Thursday — Highland vs. Monday’s winner 4 p.m.; Tuesday’s winners, 6 p.m.; Friday — Championship, 5 p.m.
The skinny — Lake Central’s state ranking (top 5 all season) has a lot to do with its hitting. But it has much to do the Indians’ pitching depth. They have four hurlers with earned runs averages at 1.97 or lower while pitching in at least eight games. Lily Del Toro sits at 1.41, Bridget Boyle at 1.64, Morgan Franovich at 1.97 and freshman Annabel Karberg at 0.82. In any other sectional, Morton would have a great shot at winning with only one loss on the season. But the Governors are a decisive underdog to Lake Central.
Next — Hosting the winner of the Chesterton Sectional on May 29
Monday — LaPorte vs. Crown Point, 5:30 p.m.; Portage vs. Michigan City, 7:30 p.m.; Tuesday — Merrillville vs. Hobart, 5:30 p.m.; Chesterton vs. Valparaiso, 7:30 p.m.; Thursday — Monday’s winners, 5:30 p.m.; Tuesday’s winners, 7:30 p.m.; Friday — Championship, 6:30 p.m.
The skinny — As with most seasons in this group of teams, it’s up for grabs. Crown Point might be a slight favorite, but Chesterton and Portage are right there with all three trading wins over each other this season. The big sleeper could be Michigan City, which has a pretty good starting pitcher in Peyton Webb (1.65 ERA, 13-6 record, .381 avg., 23 runs scored), and a huge offensive threat in Jameka Collins (.481 avg., 29 RBI, 28 runs scored).
Next — At the winner of the Highland Sectional on May 29
Monday — Hammond vs. Griffith, 3:30 p.m.; Tuesday — Gavit vs. Clark, 3:30 p.m.; Roosevelt vs. Monday’s winner, 5:30 p.m.; Wednesday — Championship 3:30 p.m.
The skinny — Gavit has won four straight sectional titles, but this group has changed slightly with Griffith moving in. The Panthers have hovered around .500 all season in a tough conference, and they haven’t won a sectional since 2007. Clark is trying to win its first title since 1998, and it will rest on freshman Valarie Ruiz, who thrives in the circle and at the plate (2.35 ERA, 113 strikeouts in 80 innings, .493 avg., 29 runs scored).
Next — Hosting the winner of the KV Sectional on May 29
Kankakee Valley Sectional
Tuesday — Calumet vs. Knox, 4:30 p.m.; Kankakee Valley vs Rensselaer, 6:30 p.m.; Thursday — Tuesday’s winners, 4:30 p.m.; Hanover Central vs. Andrean, 6:30 p.m.; Friday — Championship, 5:30 p.m.
The skinny — Andrean and the host Kougars split their regular season matchups, and it should come down to them again, though the 59ers didn’t get an easy draw with Hanover Central in their first game. Andrean has won five straight sectional titles and seven of eight. That loss in 2006 came to Kankakee Valley.
Next — At the winner of the Gavit Sectional on May 29
Bishop Noll Sectional
Monday — Whiting vs. Lake Station, 5 p.m.; Tuesday — Wheeler vs. Bishop Noll, 5 p.m.; Wednesday — Monday’s winner vs. Tuesday’s winner, 5 p.m.; Thursday — Bowman vs. River Forest, 5 p.m.; Friday — Championship, 5 p.m.
The skinny — The first two matchups in this group are the most intriguing with four Greater South Shore teams battling. A much-improved Lake Station squad will face Whiting. The Eagles beat the Oilers twice this season for the first time. Wheeler and Noll are the favorites, though due to realignment, none of the six teams in this bracket won a sectional title last year. Wheeler last won in 2010 while Noll’s last came in 2006 when it reached the state’s final four.
Next — Hosting the winner of the Winamac Sectional on May 29
Monday — North Newton vs. Boone Grove, 5 p.m.; North Judson vs. Winamac, 7 p.m.; Tuesday — Monday’s winners, 5 p.m.; Rochester vs. Hebron, 7 p.m.; Thursday — Championship, 5:30 p.m.
The skinny — Hebron is going for its third straight sectional title. The Hawks need to prevent from looking ahead since they reached the semistate final last year before losing. The winner of the Newton-Boone game has a good chance to meet Hebron in the final.
Next — At the winner of the Bishop Noll Sectional on May 29
Monday — Morgan Township vs. Kouts, 4:30 p.m. Tuesday — Washington Twp. vs. LaCrosse, 4:30 p.m. Thursday — Championship, 4:30 p.m.
The skinny — This small group has also changed from the last few years when Whiting was part of it. Kouts was the surprise winner last year, earning the program’s first softball crown. This time the Fillies will face familiar foes since all four are Porter County Conference rivals.
Next — Hosting the winner of the North White Sectional on May 29
South Central Sectional
Monday — Westville vs. Culver Community, 4:30 p.m.; Tuesday — Marquette vs. Triton, 4:30 p.m.; Wednesday — Monday’s winner vs. Tuesday’s winner, 4:30 p.m.; Thursday — South Central vs. Argos, 4:30 p.m.; Friday — Championship, 4:30 p.m.
The skinny — The host Satellites are the defending sectional champs, and have two of the top three hitters average-wise in the group. Alex Snyder is hitting at lose to a .600 pace (.596) with 24 RBI, while her teammate, Chesterton transfer Jaren Lynch, is at .508 with 26 runs scored. Westville could provide a big challenge to South Central with Shelly Cunningham leading the Blackhawks with a .533 average, 24 runs scored and 20 RBI.
Next — Hosting the winner of the Lake Park Christian Sectional on May 29
— Steve T. Gorches