Skip to content Skip to sidebar Skip to footer

May 26—Sitting out the entire 2020 season because of COVID-19 is almost becoming a distant memory to Wabash Valley baseball teams.

They’ve gotten in plenty of games lately to prepare them for the IHSAA sectionals, which will begin Wednesday and continue through next Monday, which happens to be Memorial Day.

In Class 4A action Wednesday at Plainfield, Terre Haute North (13-11) will face Decatur Central at 6 p.m. Then Terre Haute South (15-11) will square off against the host school afterward.

During the regular season, North split a doubleheader with Decatur Central. On April 24, Decatur Central slipped past the Patriots 4-3 in Game 1 before North came back with an 11-3 victory. The website lists Decatur Central’s season record at 12-13.

“We’ll be familiar with them and they’ll be familiar with us,” noted North coach Scott Lawson, who wasn’t sure which pitcher would start against the Hawks from Indianapolis.

Lawson said Cade Moore, Bryson Carpenter, Caden Mason, Will Egger and Jayson Cottrell have been some of the Patriots’ top hitters this season.

“Quite a few guys have consistently put the ball in play this year,” Lawson emphasized, adding that Moore is North’s home-run leader with three.

From the South perspective, veteran coach Kyle Kraemer believes the Plainfield Sectional is slanted toward the Avon-Brownsburg winner Monday afternoon, because that survivor will be the only team which plays once before Monday night’s championship game.

But first things first. Regarding the Quakers on Wednesday, Kraemer said: “We played them in a doubleheader the first weekend of the season and we split with each other. We won Game 1 by a 13-6 score and they won Game 2 [by a score of] 6-1.”

Kraemer plans to start either Caleb Stultz (4-3) or Kade Kline (2-1) against Plainfield. The Quakers own a 14-12 mark, according to

Kraemer listed some of South’s leading hitters as Stultz (.427), Kline (.375) and Jackson McFarland (.348).

Meanwhile, West Vigo (22-6) will head into the Owen Valley Sectional ranked No. 4 among the state’s Class 3A teams. The Vikings’ first opponent will be the host Patriots, starting at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday.

West Vigo, the 2021 Western Indiana Conference champion, won its only regular-season clash against Owen Valley 13-2 on April 21. lists Owen Valley’s current record at 12-10.

“We know it’s going to be a battle and we are at their park again,” West Vigo coach Culley DeGroote told the Tribune-Star. “Not sure why, but they continue to host the sectional. We’re not sure who’s pitching what games in our sectional yet, but we have a number of options.”

Some of West Vigo’s most effective hurlers are senior Brayden DeLattre (5-0), junior Josh Sigler (1-2) and sophomores Ben Kearns (5-1), Dilun King (6-2), Kaleb Marrs (3-0), Rhyan Shaffer (2-1) and Carter Murphy (0-0 with one save and has not allowed an earned run in seven appearances this year).

“Our team ERA [earned-run average] is 2.30 [before Monday’s 9-3 triumph over Shakamak] and we’ve had seven different pitchers appear in five games or more,” DeGroote pointed out. “So we don’t rely on one pitcher and we’re proud of that fact.”

DeGroote also is proud of the Vikings’ offense, highlighted by junior shortstop Peyton Clerk, junior catcher Jerome Blevins, senior second baseman Case Lautenschlager, sophomore third baseman/pitcher Murphy and sophomore center fielder/pitcher Kearns.

“All five of those guys have had good seasons at the plate,” the Vikings’ coach stressed. “We’re hitting .318 as a team [prior to Monday] and we’re averaging nine runs a game with one freshman, five sophomores and three juniors getting regular playing time. Case Lautenschlager is the only senior in our batting lineup.”

As for the sectional as a whole, DeGroote isn’t ruling out any of the six teams.

“Our sectional is tough once again this year,” he admitted. “Obviously, Edgewood and Indian Creek have had plenty of postseason success in the last few years and we know Sullivan and Owen Valley are talented enough to beat anyone in the sectional.”

Elsewhere in Class 3A, Northview and South Vermillion find themselves making the trip to North Montgomery in the city of Crawfordsville. At least Northview’s first sectional contest won’t be until Memorial Day when the Knights take on Frankfort at 1:30 p.m.

“Really solid baseball team, 2019 played in the regional championship game against Edgewood,” Northview coach Craig Trout said of Frankfort. “Really tough team who plays hard.”

The Knights owned a 15-5 record before a Tuesday home clash with Riverton Parke.

Trout named Gavin Morris as his “probable” first-game pitcher in the sectional. Morris has a 1.37 ERA with 70 strikeouts. Dylan Zentko also is a possibility, however. He has a 1.40 ERA and 80 Ks. All statistics were compiled before Tuesday’s game.

“Tough sectional with a lot of good arms,” Trout assessed about the six-team group. “Lebanon has Garrett Harker, who is going to be 90-plus mph and is one of the top pitchers in the state. Crawfordsville, North Montgomery, South Vermillion and Frankfort are all tough teams with good pitching staffs. I think we will need to play our best games because there is no one you can sneak by. We are hoping to hit the ball and help out our great pitching and defense.

“Overall, we have a good opportunity with the draw we got and we need to capitalize on the opportunity. I really love this group of guys, great team unity, and I hope they can have one of those special runs in the tournament because they deserve it.”

South Vermillion (16-7) will meet the host school at 7 p.m. Wednesday.

“We’re kinda the dark horses of that tourney because nobody knows too much about us [except for Northview],” South Vermillion coach Tim Terry said. “We’ve just gotta not make mistakes and get hits when we need them.”

Lebanon, ranked No. 3 in the state (one spot ahead of West Vigo), is likely the favorite to emerge victorious in this sectional, at least according to neutral observers.

State-ranked Class A teams from the Valley also could make sectional noise. They are No. 6 Riverton Parke (playing at its home field) and No. 10 Shakamak (playing at White River Valley).