The Tippecanoe Valley baseball team will take its next step in the postseason Saturday in the Bellmont Regional.
The Vikings, in the regional for the third time in the last four years, face Hamilton Heights (19-9) in the first semifinal game of the Class 3-A event at 11 a.m. The second game pits host Bellmont (22-8) versus No. 3 Leo (25-3).
The winners return to Bellmont Saturday night for the title game at 8 p.m. with a regional championship at stake and a berth in the June 9 semi state in either South Bend or Kokomo.
Coach Ryan Moore’s Valley squad captured the program’s fifth sectional title Monday by beating NorthWood 7-2 in the championship game of the Wawasee Sectional.
The Vikings, who are 16-9, will rely heavily on star pitcher James Hackworth again Saturday. The senior southpaw, who will play at Indiana State, is coming off quite the performance Monday. Hackworth fired a three-hitter with 15 strikeouts, including the final five of the game, in the title tilt victory over NorthWood. For good measure, he also slugged a solo home run for the Vikings.
“I’m just excited to have James on our side going into the regional,” said Moore Monday night after winning the sectional title in Syracuse. “When you have a guy like him on the mound you always have extra confidence.”
Hackworth, one of four seniors for the Vikings, knows his team needs to keep its edge for the regional.
“We’re playing solid ball and we have to stay that way,” said Hackworth after the sectional championship game. “We have to keep that mentality going. We have to win that first one at the regional.”
Hackworth, along with fellow seniors Brody Andrews and Kameron Larimer, each had two hits in the sectional finale.
Hamilton Heights beat Muncie Central 3-0 in the championship game of the Yorktown Sectional. It was just the second sectional championship in school history, the other coming in 2006.
Bellmont won its own sectional by topping Norwell 4-3 in the title tilt. Leo beat Garrett 5-1 in the sectional championship contest at Garrett.