> SOUTHERN INDIANA —
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.