INDIANAPOLIS – The postseason path is now set for area prep softball teams.
The IHSAA held the drawing this morning for the 32nd annual state tournament series, which is set to get rolling at area sectional sites on May 23.
A total of 64 sectionals, involving 374 teams, will be contested in the four-class state tourney this year. One-game regionals are slated for May 31 with four-team semi states on June 4 and the four state championship games on June 11 at Ben Davis High School in Indianapolis.
Wawasee is the team to keep an eye on for local softball fans. The Warriors, who checked in at No. 8 in the latest Class 3-A coaches poll, made it 10 wins in a row Wednesday night as they blanked Northridge to clinch at least a share of their second straight Northern Lakes Conference championship.
The Warriors, who are led by junior star pitcher and slugger Meghan Fretz, sit at 19-4 on the season. Wawasee will face West Noble in the opening game of the Fairfield Sectional on May 23. Host Fairfield, who is ranked No. 7 in Class 3-A, drew the bye and plays Lakeland on May 24. The Falcons are the defending sectional champions and beat Wawasee 3-0 in a sectional semifinal game in 2015. The pair met this year on April 11 in Syracuse with Fairfield posting a 9-2 win. The Warriors, however, had not played a game in almost two weeks prior to that contest and had not practiced in some 10 days due to Spring Break.
Wawasee, who won the sectional title in 2014, boast a potent, homer-happy offense that has been on a tear since losing to NorthWood when they were shorthanded due to injuries and school commitments. Coach Jared Knipper’s team has a strong lineup from top to bottom with the likes of Hanna Haines, Danielle Gunkel, Kylee Rostochak, Amber Lemberg and Allissa Flores. Junior Lemberg also gives the Warriors a potent pitching punch with Fretz.
Tippecanoe Valley will meet NorthWood in the second game at Fairfield on May 23. The Vikings, who are led by Abby Betten and Katie Gunter, are 7-10 on the year after a win at Wabash Wednesday night.
Warsaw will serve as a sectional host this year and drew the bye game in its six-team field, which has played at Elkhart Memorial in the past. The Tigers, who are 5-15 after an NLC loss to NorthWood Wednesday night, face Northridge in a semifinal game on May 25. Warsaw, whose last sectional crown came in 2007, is led by outstanding freshman Grace Johnson. Coach Kevin Dishman’s team also features a strong freshman in the circle in Courtney Chookie and an offense led by Johnson, Sarah Shoemaker and Lauren Shaffner.
Concord, the defending champion in the Warsaw Sectional field, will face Elkhart Central in a first-round contest on May 23 at WCHS.
Whitko makes the move to Class 2-A this postseason and will compete in the Oak Hill Sectional. The Wildcats, who are having a strong season at 12-5, will face North Miami in a first-round game on May 24 in the seven-team field at Oak Hill. Whitko last won a sectional title in 2005.
Triton will look to claim its fourth straight sectional title at home. The Trojans, who are 7-8, face Lakewood Park Christian on May 23 in their own four-team Class 1-A sectional.
The regional matchups on May 31 will see the Warsaw Sectional winner play at the winner of the Mishawaka Sectional, which features No. 1 ranked Penn. The Fairfield Sectional champion will host the Garrett Sectional winner. The Oak Hill Sectional winner will host the Carroll (Flora) Sectional champion. The Triton Sectional champion will play at the winner of the LaCrosse Sectional.
The semi states on June 4 are at Harrison (West Lafayette) for 4-A, at Twin Lakes for 3-A, at LaVille for 2-A and at Frontier for 1-A.
Softball Sectional Pairings
May 23: 5:30 p.m.: Goshen vs. Elkhart Memorial; 7:30: Concord vs. Elkhart Central
May 25: 5:30: Goshen-Memorial winner vs. Concord-Central winner; 7:30: Warsaw vs. Northridge
May 27: 6:30: Championship Game
May 23: 5 p.m.: Wawasee vs. West Noble; 6:30: Tippecanoe Valley vs. NorthWood
May 24: 5: Wawasee-W. Noble winners vs. Valley-NorthWood winner; 6:30: Fairfield vs. Lakeland
May 26: 6: Championship Game
At Oak Hill
May 23: 7 p.m.: Wabash vs. Northfield
May 24: 5: North Miami vs. Whitko; 7: Manchester vs. Oak Hill
May 25: 5: Southwood vs. Wabash-Northfields winner; 7: N. Miami-Whitko winner vs. Manchester-O. Hill winner
May 28: 7: Championship Game
May 23: 6: Elkhart Christian Academy vs. Bethany Christian; 7:30: Lakewood Park Christian vs. Triton
May 24: 6: Championship Game