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BASEBALL: 10 Teams To Watch In The Tournament

Check out our 10 top Region baseball teams that can do some damage in the State Tournament!


WHAT’S NEXT?: Hebron (5/25) in S34 at North Judson-San Pierre

KEY WINS: Kouts, Wheeler

HEAD COACH: Brent Jones

PLAYERS TO WATCH: Tommy Sullivan, Aaron Hogan, Jackson Bos

WHY ARE THEY HERE?: The Satellites are peaking at the most ideal time. 

This past week, South Central defeated Morgan Township, Hebron, and Tri-Township to win their second-ever PCC Conference Tournament since joining the conference in 2003. 

South Central started slowly with a record of 3-5 in their first 8 games, and have since then only lost once. Senior pitcher Brayden Grass has been the ace for this team and will be heavily relied on to pitch big innings in this postseason. As for hitting, seniors Tommy Sullivan and Aaron Hogan lead the team in batting average and have been key to their team’s success.

SC will start things off in the semifinals against Hebron, a team that they beat twice this year. Although Hebron bounced SC last year, the Satellites are looking to use this momentum to their advantage.

9. BOONE GROVE WOLVES (16-5, 6-1)

WHAT’S NEXT?: Calumet (5/22) in S17 at Highland

KEY WINS: Kouts, South Central, Portage

HEAD COACH: Sean Riley

PLAYERS TO WATCH: Xavier Carrera, Davian Carrera, Seth Pitcock

WHY ARE THEY HERE?: Although a disappointing exit in the PCC tournament, BG is still a threat. 

The Wolves are looking to win their first sectional title since 2021, as the squad made it to the final before losing to Andrean. 

Led by the Carrera twins, both Xavier and Davian are Indiana University commits. The Wolves may be the sleeper team of S17 as it is headlined by Andrean and Hanover Central. Boone Grove is not a team to overlook as not only are the Carrera twins key contributors, but pitcher Seth Pitcock will be an arm to watch. 

Boone Grove has a favorable first matchup against Calumet and if they win will take on the winner of Andrean and Hanover Central in the second round. Do not sleep on the Wolves. 


WHAT’S NEXT?: Bishop Noll (5/22) in S33 at Whiting

KEY WINS: Fort Wayne Bishop Dwenger, Andrean

HEAD COACH: Jeff VanderWoude

PLAYERS TO WATCH: Isaac VanderWoude, Gavin Meyer, Tyler Balkema

WHY ARE THEY HERE?: The Vikings have had a historic past two seasons as they followed up their first-ever state championship in 2022 with another state title this past season making them back-to-back 2A state champions.

The Vikings will be hunting for a three-peat this season and have been streaky throughout the season. They have won as many as five games in a row this season, but have also lost as many as four games in a row. Led by Virginia commit Isaac Vanderwoude and Ohio State commit pitcher Gavin Meyer, the Vikings are built for another deep postseason run. 

Illiana is undefeated against the field of their sectional and starts postseason playing against Bishop Noll who they defeated earlier this season. Although the team has been streaky earlier this year, the Vikings have a higher expectation than just making out of their sectional.

7. KOUTS MUSTANGS (17-7-1, 3-4)

WHAT’S NEXT?: HAST (5/25) in S49 at Morgan Township

KEY WINS: Wheeler, River Forest

HEAD COACH: Jason Dorshorst

PLAYERS TO WATCH: Logan Clark, Asher Birky, Eli Harper

WHY ARE THEY HERE?: Although the conference record may not be as eye-popping as the other teams on this list, Kouts will be quite competitive in their class. The Mustangs are currently ranked #4 in the 1A Class by the Indiana High School Baseball Coaches’ Association. 

Senior Logan Clark is the player to watch for on the Mustangs as he leads the team in both batting average, on-base percentage as well as stolen bases. Their pitching staff is deep and will have multiple arms to rely on to pitch big innings in the postseason. 

If Kouts can make it past HAST, they will advance to the sectional championship and take on the winner of Demotte Christian vs the winner of Morgan Township and Washington Township. 


WHAT’S NEXT?: Valparaiso (5/22) in S2 at Crown Point

KEY WINS: Hanover Central, Penn, Valparaiso, Illiana Christian, Lake Central

HEAD COACH: Steve Strayer

PLAYERS TO WATCH: Logan Cotton, Aslyn Farinelli, Christian Briseno

WHY ARE THEY HERE?: The Bulldogs are set for an opportunity at revenge against Valparaiso in the first round of sectionals.. 

Crown Point finished right in the middle of the Duneland Athletic Conference in fourth place as they have had multiple spurts of great play this season with two winning streaks of six games plus. Indiana commit junior Logan Cotton has led the Bulldogs in innings pitched as they will rely on him to pitch them to a sectional championship. Aslyn Farinelli is another arm that has done well for the Dogs this Spring.

One thing is for sure: the sectional at Crown Point is deep with talent. If the Bulldogs can get past Valpo in the first round, they will likely face Chesterton in the second round who beat them both times during the regular season. Crown Point does not have an easy path to begin their postseason run but do not count them out.  

5. CHESTERTON TROJANS (19-6, 11-3)

WHAT’S NEXT?: Kankakee Valley (5/22) in S2 at Crown Point

KEY WINS: Lake Central, Illiana Christian, Crown Point (x2)

HEAD COACH: John Bogner

PLAYERS TO WATCH: Rob Czarniecki, Troy Barrett, Brayden Barrett

WHY ARE THEY HERE?: The Trojans are seeking to snap a postseason drought and win their first playoff game since 2018, which is also the last time they won a sectional championship. 

Chesterton started their season slow with a record of 1-4 in their first five games of the season. Since then, the Trojans have been on a tear winning 17 of the next 18 games. DAC offensive MVP, Rob Czarniecki, who is only a Sophomore, has led the team both offensively and defensively leading the team in batting average, on-base percentage, home runs, as well as ERA on the pitching side. 

Chesterton has a favorable first-round matchup against Kankakee Valley. If they advance, will play the winner of conference foes Crown Point and Valpo. As loaded as the CP sectional is, Chesterton could certainly find itself in the mix come Championship Monday. 

4. LAKE CENTRAL INDIANS (18-9, 10-4)

WHAT’S NEXT?: Munster (5/23) in S1 at Munster

KEY WINS: Noblesville, Penn (x2), Chesterton, Crown Point

HEAD COACH: Mike Swartzentruber

PLAYERS TO WATCH: Griffin Tobias, Nick Robinson, Blake Sivak

WHY ARE THEY HERE?: The Indians are coming off of a regional championship last season as well as back-to-back sectional championships and will look to extend their sectional streak to three this season. 

Lake Central has been streaky at times with multiple 5+ game win streaks throughout the season. Senior Nick Robinson has been the key piece to the offense this season as well as Indiana commit Griffin Tobias who has been a key contributor to the Indians’ offense and pitching staff. 

In a bit of a weaker sectional, Lake Central will arguably take the biggest threat to them 3-peating as sectional champions in the Munster Mustangs. They split the season series against Munster earlier in the season and game three between the two teams will be quite monumental. Although this regular season for the Tribe may not have been as dominant as in years past, the only games that matter are the ones ahead of them. 

3. VALPARAISO VIKINGS (20-2, 13-1)

WHAT’S NEXT?: Crown Point (5/22) in S2 at Crown Point

KEY WINS: at Crown Point, Lake Central (x2), Chesterton (x2)

HEAD COACH: Todd Evans

PLAYERS TO WATCH: Trent Gill, Caden Crowell, Trevor Fenters

WHY ARE THEY HERE?: The reigning S2 champions have been strong all season as they have not lost a game since 4/20 and won the Duneland Athletic Conference with a 13-1 conference record. Valpo’s 20 wins in the regular season is the program’s most in at least a decade.

The Vikings’ pitching staff and defense have been a juggernaut all season as they are allowing just two runs a game. The pitching staff, led by Notre Dame commit and the DAC MVP Pitcher Caden Crowell has a combined team ERA of 1.54. To counter their great pitching, the Valpo bats have mustered an average of about seven runs per game, leading to an average margin of victory of around five. It is as simple as that: Valpo scores runs while not giving up many.

The fifth-ranked team in the class of 4A faces off against Crown Point in the first round of sectionals who happens to be one of the two teams who defeated Valpo this season. As said about teams before, the regular season does not matter up to this point. If Valpo can continue their dominant play, they can do some damage.

2. ANDREAN 59ERS (22-5, 10-2)

WHAT’S NEXT?: Hanover Central (5/22) in S17 at Highland

KEY WINS: Independence (TN), Penn, Brother Rice (IL), Hanover Central

HEAD COACH: Dave Pishkur

PLAYERS TO WATCH: Mason Barth, Ivan Mastalski, Matt Habas

WHY ARE THEY HERE?: The 59ers seem to know a thing or two about postseason success. They have advanced to the State Championship in the last two seasons, going 1-1 in the big game.

Andrean once again is built to go on another championship run and avenge last year’s loss at Victory Field in Circle City. The top-ranked team in the class of 3A (IHSBCA) has also shown that as successful as they have been this season, they know how to respond to adversity. After a head-scratching loss to Highland on 4/22, the Niners have answered that loss well with an impressive run leading up to the postseason.

Arguably the biggest early postseason test for the Niners will be in their first tournament game against the Hanover Central Wildcats – who snatched the NCC crown from the Niners in the Wildcats’ first season in the conference. The winner of that game would potentially meet up with Boone Grove, another solid 3A squad. If the Niners can escape those first two sectional matchups – a trip to Victory Field could be in the works.


WHAT’S NEXT?: Andrean (5/22) in S17 at Highland

KEY WINS: Illiana Christian, McCutcheon, New Prairie, Andrean

HEAD COACH: Sal Aguilar

PLAYERS TO WATCH: Dylan Bowen, Caiden Verrett, Adam Young

WHY ARE THEY HERE?: The new kids on the NCC’s block have done it again.

In their first season as a member of the Northwest Crossroads Conference, they wasted no time establishing themselves as they went 11-1 in conference play and clinched the conference title on 5/15 with a win over Andrean. Hanover has been consistent all regular season and at one point won 16 consecutive games. 

After falling short in the 3A State Championship just two years ago, the Wildcats ran into a familiar sectional foe – Andrean. Hanover’s playoff run ended abruptly last spring as they lost to the Niners in the sectional semifinal. They are hoping that things may be different this time around.

The second-ranked team in the class of 3A (behind Andrean) will have a huge test in the first round of sectionals against the Niners and an opportunity to avenge their loss in last year’s sectional. Boone Grove awaits the winner of these two teams and whichever team makes it to the championship will be a serious contender moving forward. 

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