News and Tribune

May 19, 2013

H.S. SOFTBALL: Pursuit of sectional championships begin tonight

Jeff, Charlestown and Providence are Greg’s picks to win titles

By GREG MENGELT
greg.mengelt@newsandtribune.com

> SOUTHERN INDIANA — After two months of regular-season games, four local softball sectionals in four different classes open tonight.

Two of the sectionals (Class 4A at Jeffersonville and Class 3A at Salem) appear to be wide open. In the other two (Class 2A Eastern and Class A Lanesville) has two clear favorites.

Here’ a look at each of the area’s four sectionals with picks by News and Tribune sports editor Greg Mengelt.



CLASS 4A AT JEFFERSONVILLE

• Favorite:
In a sectional this tight, the favorite has to be the defending champion. That’s Floyd Central. The Highlanders have won six of the last 12 titles. However, there really isn’t a favorite in this sectional. There are five teams that could win it.

• Top contender: Jeffersonville played for the Hoosier Hills Conference championship and have the homefield advantage. That makes the Red Devils very dangerous in pursuit of their first sectional championship since 1997.

• Darkhorse: With the field this wide open, there really isn’t a darkhorse. Every team but Bedford is a legitimate threat (and the Stars have improved throughout the season). Seymour would have to go through Floyd, Jeff then either Jennings County or New Albany to win the title, so the Owls are a longshot. That still doesn’t mean they have no shot.

• Best draw: Jennings County. The HHC champions drew the bye and a New Albany team they’ve beaten twice. The Panthers will only have to win two games and will likely have to face Floyd or Jeff, not both.

• Players to watch: Kayleigh Thomas and Emily Gray, Jeffersonville. Thomas and Gray both have the ability to pitch and hit the Red Devils to the championship.

• Top storyline: As it’s been established, this may be the most wide-open field in the state, as well as one of the best from top to bottom. There doesn’t appear to be a single game that has a heavy favorite. Like last year, this sectional will likely come down to one or two key plays in each game.

• Greg’s pick: Jeffersonville. It’s just a gut feeling. The Devils have the experience, the pitching, the hitting and the defense to be able to pull this off. Floyd, Jennings, New Albany and Seymour would all be legitimate picks.



CLASS 3A AT SALEM

• Favorite:
Salem. Although the Lions aren’t playing their best, they won the Mid-Southern Conference and have the homefield advantage.

• Top contender: Charlestown. Any team with Alli Webster would have a serious shot. The Pirates must get the bottom part of the lineup hitting from the start.

• Darkhorse: Silver Creek. Really the Dragons aren’t much of a darkhorse. They’re really pretty good. However, the 2011 Dragons are young and all the talk has been about Charlestown and Salem. Remember, the Dragons beat both teams this season.

• Best draw: Charlestown. There really isn’t a good draw with five teams that can win a championship, but the Pirates are the only team in the sectional who don’t play until Wednesday. They’ll have a tough run, however, having to beat Salem then either Silver Creek, Brownstown, North Harrison and Corydon from a loaded half of the bracket.

• Player to watch: Sydney Ledgewedge, Silver Creek. One of the Dragons’ few seniors, no one has been hitting like Ledgewedge. If she can come up with some key hits, Creek has a legitimate shot of winning this crown.

• Top storyline: All season, Salem has appeared to be the prohibitive favorite but some late losses leaves this field open to four other teams. Top to bottom, the Lions are probably the most talented team, but there are five team that now truly believe they can win the title.

• Greg’s pick: Charlestown. I love the advantage of having Webster, who may be both the best pitcher and hitter in this sectional.



CLASS 2A AT EASTERN

• Favorite:
Providence. The Pioneers are the defending champions and have had one of the two best team in this field all season.

• Top contender: Paoli. Providence beat the Rams in nine innings a month ago, but they’re certainly good enough to win steal the title from the Pioneers.

• Darkhorse: Clarksville. Tim Hauber’s bunch beat New Albany on Friday and nearly beat Jasper on Saturday. They’re playing their best softball right now.

• Best draw: Eastern. The Musketeers drew a bye and arguably the sectional’s worst team in Crawford County. Eastern should have a spot in the championship.

• Player to watch: Ashtyn Kaskie, Henryville. Kaskie is capable of shutting down offenses. She’ll have to be at her best — as will the Hornets defense — for Henryville to beat Providence in the opener.

• Top storyline: Providence and Paoli appear to be headed on a collision course for Tuesday’s semifinals. Clarksville and Henryville could have something to say about that in two highly-anticipated games on Monday’s opening day.

• Greg’s pick: Providence. The Pioneers and Rams may be a toss-up. With that being the case, I’ll take the defending champions. The Providence offense will have to come through for the Pioneers’ first repeat championship in school history.



CLASS A AT LANESVILLE

• Favorite:
New Washington. The defending champions have had a great follow up season after their first championship in eight years.

• Top contender: Lanesville. The sectional figures to come down to Tuesday’s championship game between the Mustangs and Eagles in what should be a toss-up.

• Darkhorse: Borden. The young Braves program continues to improve under coach Alex Knerr.

• Best draw: Lanesville. The Eagles should cruise by South Central and into Tuesday’s title game.

• Player to watch: Whitney Morris, New Washington. Morris shut down Lanesville in last year’s nine-inning, 1-0 victory in the championship game. The Mustangs’ hurler will need to come up with another gem or two this week.

• Top storyline: After a classic championship game last year, New Wash and Lanesville figure to meet on Tuesday. The crown figures to be determined by a play or two.

• Greg’s pick: In what should be a great championship game, I’ll take Lanesville at home. It could go either way, though.



SECTIONAL PAIRINGS

CLASS 4A JEFFERSONVILLE SECTIONAL

FIRST ROUND

MONDAY, MAY 20


    Seymour vs. Floyd Central, 6 p.m.

    Bedford North Lawrence vs. Jeffersonville, 7:30 p.m.

SEMIFINALS

TUESDAY, MAY 21


    Seymour or Floyd Central vs. Bedford North Lawrence or Jeffersonville, 6 p.m.

    Jennings County vs. New Albany, 7:30 p.m.

CHAMPIONSHIP

THURSDAY, MAY 23


    Semifinal winners, 6 p.m.



CLASS 3A SALEM SECTIONAL

FIRST ROUND

MONDAY, MAY 20


    Salem vs. Scottsburg, 5:30 p.m.

TUESDAY, MAY 21

    Corydon Central vs. Silver Creek, 5:30 p.m.

    Brownstown Central vs. North Harrison, 7 p.m.

SEMIFINALS

WEDNESDAY, MAY 22


    Charlestown vs. Salem or Scottsburg, 5:30 p.m.

    Corydon or Silver Creek vs. Brownstown or North Harrison, 7 p.m.

CHAMPIONSHIP

THURSDAY, MAY 23


    Semifinal winners, 6 p.m.



CLASS 2A EASTERN SECTIONAL

FIRST ROUND

MONDAY, MAY 20


    Providence vs. Henryville, 5 p.m.

    Paoli vs. Clarksville, 6:30 p.m.

SEMIFINALS

TUESDAY, MAY 21


    Providence or Henyville vs. Paoli or Clarksville, 5 p.m.

    Eastern vs. Crawford County, 6:30 p.m.

CHAMPIONSHIP

THURSDAY, MAY 23


    Semifinal winners, 5:30 p.m.



CLASS A LANESVILLE SECTIONAL

SEMIFINALS

MONDAY, MAY 20

 
   Borden vs. New Washington, 5 p.m.    

    Lanesville vs. South Central, 6:30 p.m.

CHAMPIONSHIP

TUESDAY, MAY 21


    Semifinal winners, 5 p.m.