Title hopes on the line for area baseball teams

Herald File Photos
In an earlier game between Southridge and Jasper, Jasper’s Grant Ahlbrand threw the ball to first base for a double play after tagging out Southridge’s Tucker Schank. The Wildcats along with Northeast Dubois are two area teams looking to repeat as sectional champions while Southridge, Forest Park and Heritage Hills are looking to break out of their sectional droughts.

By HENDRIX MAGLEY
hmagley@dcherald.com

With the IHSAA baseball sectionals starting this Wednesday, here’s a brief overview of each area sectional and what to expect, players to watch for and a recap of each area team’s season.

Class 4A Sectional at Evansville Reitz (played at Bosse Field)

Local participant: Jasper (17-9, final game tonight at home against Bloomington South).

Record vs. sectional opponents: 3-1

Key wins: Home vs. Castle, at Vincennes Lincoln, home vs. Boonville

Players to watch:

Trevor Krapf (Jr., infielder)

Jacob Lents (Sr., pitcher/outfielder),

Eric Nordhoff (Sr., pitcher/outfielder)

Austin Simmers (Sr., catcher), Josh Weidenbenner (Jr., infielder/pitcher)

Sectional schedule:

Thursday’s Games

Evansville Harrison vs. Evansville North, 6 p.m.

Evansville Central vs. Evansville Reitz 8 p.m.

Saturday’s Games

Winner Game 1 vs. Winner Game 2, Noon

Jasper vs. Castle, 2 p.m.

Monday’s Game

Championship: Winner Game 5 vs. Winner Game 6, Noon

Season overview: For the Jasper Wildcats, 2018 has been an up and down year. The Cats have racked up some big wins including five and six-inning defeats of Big Eight rivals Boonville and Vincennes Lincoln but also saw losses to Mount Vernon and the Cats first loss to Washington since 1995.

However, there’s no denying that the Cats are stacked with talent — seniors Noah Luebbehusen and Austin Simmers will be playing collegiately at Wabash College next season and a strong crop of juniors such as Grant Ahlbrand, Trevor Krapf and Josh Weidenbenner have shown they have the potential to be Jasper’s next leaders.

The keys to a fourth consecutive Jasper sectional championship and their first in Class 4A? Doing the little things right. Wildcat head coach Terry Gobert has often said throughout the season that small miscues have cost the Cats in a few close games such as the losses to the Hatchets and county rival Southridge. If Jasper can ride their three-game win streak into the postseason, watch out for the Wildcats.

Class 3A Sectional at Evansville Bosse (Played at University of Evansville’s Braun Stadium)

Local participant: Heritage Hills (15-9, final game tonight at home against Perry Central)

Record vs. sectional opponents: 2-1

Key wins: Home vs. Northeast Dubois, home vs. Mount Vernon, home vs. Tecumseh

Players to watch:

Mitchel Becher, Sr. (infielder)

Murray Becher, Soph. (infielder)

Sam Pinckert, Sr. (pitcher/infielder)

Lukus Rickelman, Sr. (infielder/pitcher)

Simon Scherry, Soph. (pitcher/infielder)

Sectional schedule:

Thursday’s Game

Heritage Hills vs. Mount Vernon, 7 p.m.

Friday’s Games (if Heritage Hills wins)

Evansville Memorial vs. Evansville Bosse, 6:30 p.m.

Boonville vs. Winner of Game 1, 8:30 p.m.

Saturday’s Games (If Mount Vernon wins)

Evansville Memorial vs. Evansville Bosse, 6:30 p.m.

Boonville vs. Winner of Game 1 , 7:30 p.m.

Monday’s Game

Championship: Winner of Game 2 vs. Winner of Game 3, noon

Season overview: Heritage Hills started the season off with a 7-2 record and while they’re still sitting well above .500, there was a stretch during mid-April through early May where they went 4-6 where the bats just didn’t seem to be there for the Patriots.

However, as the season closes out the Pats have won four of their final five battles including conference wins against Tell City and South Spencer. The Pats will search for that offensive production to continue as they hope to claim their first sectional title since 2011.

Heritage Hills has been led offensively by Simon Scherry (.400 batting average, 36 hits), Lukus Rickelman (.342 batting average, team-high four home runs) and Mitchel Becher (team-high 25 RBIs). On the mound, the Pats have been led by Scherry, Sam Pinckert and Nathan Lamar.

 

Northeast Dubois’ Sidney Schott celebrated with teammates after scoring a run during an earlier 17-7 victory over Barr-Reeve. The Jeeps have been consistent throughout the season and have even made it all the way to No. 1 in the latest IHSBCA rankings.

Class 2A Sectional at Southridge (played at League Stadium)

Local participant: Southridge (19-6)

Record vs. sectional opponents: 0-0, didn’t play any sectional foes

Key wins: Home vs. North Posey, at Heritage Hills, home vs. Jasper

Players to watch:

Colson Montgomery, Fr. (shortstop)

Tucker Schank, Jr. (center field)

Logan Seger, Jr. (pitcher)

Max Sermersheim, Sr. (infielder/pitcher)

Chase Taylor, Fr. (catcher/pitcher)

Sectional schedule:

Wednesday’s Games

Southridge vs. Mitchell, 6 p.m.

Linton vs. South Knox, 8 p.m.

Monday’s Games

Winner Game 1 vs. Winner Game 2, 10 a.m.

Eastern Greene vs. North Knox, Noon

Championship: Winner Game 3 vs. Winner Game 4, 7:30 p.m.

Season overview: You could almost consider the 2017-18 school year to be ‘The Year of the Raiders’. With their football team winning the 2A state championship, the boys basketball team winning their first sectional title since 2007 and now the baseball team is on good path for their first sectional crown since 2014.

The Raiders already won the Pocket Athletic Conference title and also defeated Jasper for the first time since the 2014 sectional this season. Southridge has also shown both a steady dominance on both offense and defense.

What’s most impressive is that the Raiders have been led by a solid group of freshmen — Camden Gasser, Colson Montgomery and Chase Taylor. Whether with their bats, their defensive plays in the infield or their strikeouts on the mound it seems these three have had no issue fitting into the flow of varsity high school baseball.

Class 2A Sectional at Tell City

Local participant: Forest Park (10-10).

Record vs. sectional opponents: 3-2

Key wins: At Gibson Southern, at Heritage Hills, home vs. Tell City

Players to watch:

Gage Hasenour, Fr. (pitcher/infielder)

Gavin Knust, Soph. (pitcher/outfielder)

Daniel Lusk, Sr. (infelder)

Zach Wahl, Soph. (infielder)

Trever Zink, Sr. (pitcher/infielder)

Sectional schedule:

Wednesday’s Games

Perry Central vs. Evansville Mater Dei, 5:30 p.m.

North Posey vs. Forest Park, 7:30 p.m.

Thursday’s Games

Winner of Game 1 vs. Winner of Game 2, 5:30 p.m.

South Spencer vs. Tell City, 7:30 p.m.

Monday’s Game

Championship: Winner of Game 5 vs. Winner of Game 6, 6 p.m.

Season overview: Forest Park started their 2018 campaign out on a high note with PAC wins over Tecumseh and Pike Central but then endured a skid which saw them lose six straight games. The Rangers did end up with a .500 overall record and a 6-2 mark in conference play however, and will look to carry confidence from a three game winning streak into the sectional.

The Rangers were a primarily young team this season with just two seniors on the roster as Daniel Lusk and Trever Zink (who will play collegiately at Olney Central) will graduate from the Forest Park program following the postseason.

Forest Park’s young core was led by pitcher/outfielder Gavin Knust who was one of the Rangers leaders in batting average as well as Gage Hasenour who started the year as a third baseman but saw more and more action on the pitchers mound as his constant mixing of pitches was able to fool opposing batters. A balanced mix of youth and experienced varsity players will attempt to bring back a sectional trophy to Ferdinand for the first time since 2002.

Class 1A Sectional at Cannelton

Local participant: Northeast Dubois (17-5, final game tonight at Tell City)

Record vs. sectional opponents: 3-0

Key wins: At Southridge, at Tecumseh, home vs. Springs Valley

Players to watch:

Griffen Bauer, Sr. (infielder)

Reece Bauer, Soph. (infielder/pitcher)

Case Eisenhut, Sr. (pitcher/infielder)

Reece Helming, Sr. (designated hitter)

Brandon Merkel, Sr. (outfielder/pitcher)

Sectional schedule:

Thursday’s Game

Springs Valley vs. Wood Memorial, 6 p.m.

Monday’s Games

Cannelton vs. Northeast Dubois, 11 a.m.

Tecumseh vs. Winner of Game 1, 1 p.m.

Championship: Winner of Game 2 vs. Winner of Game 3, 6 p.m.

Season overview: With a first-year head coach in Luke Woolems, Northeast Dubois has made their presence felt around Southern Indiana as their 17-5 record led them to be tied for the No. 1 ranked team in Class 1A with Hauser in the most recent IHSBCA poll as the Jeeps hunt for their third straight sectional crown.

The Jeeps have seen a large amount of success throughout the season with pitchers Case Eisenhut (5-1, 1.55 ERA, 39 strikeouts) and Reece Bauer (5-1, 4.03 ERA, 26 strikeouts) getting the best of opposing teams from the get go while Alex Harder (3.79 ERA, 23 strikeouts) has acted as Northeast Dubois’ closer.

Offense has come in bunches for the Jeeps this season as well as they’ve scored in double digits in 14 of their 22 games this year (all 14 of them were victories). Northeast Dubois has a total of 16 home runs hit with Griffen Bauer leading the way with five while Reece Helming and Owen Furhman both have three each. Eisenhut leads the Jeeps with 35 RBIs and Sidney Schott’s .457 batting average paces all Jeep batters.




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