Big hits, kicks and jumps
The Valmeyer Pirates have been on the brink of a state baseball title in each of the past two years, losing in the Class 1A title contests both time.s
Despite heavy losses to graduation, the Pirates find themselves three wins away from a third straight trip to the Class 1A state finals at Dozer Park in Peoria.
Fresh off a 4-1 win over New Athens in the regional title game on Saturday, Valmeyer (19-14) hopes to take that next step on Wednesday against the Carrollton Hawks (25-8) at the Class 1A Greenville Sectional beginning at 4:30 p.m. Gibault (23-8) will battle Greenfield (17-10)at 6:30 p.m.
The winners will meet for the sectional title on Saturday at 11 a.m. The winner advances to the Class 1A Spriingfield Super-Sectional at Lincoln Land College on Monday
Nashville (29-6) and Mater Dei (19-9) will play in Class 2A sectionals this week.
Competing at the Benton Sectional, Nashville will take on Fairfield (21-3) on Wednesday beginning at 4 p.m. The game will be followed by Harrisburg (28-6) taking on Zeigler-Royalton (14-10) at 6:30 p.m. The title game is set for Saturday beginning at 11 a.m.
Mater Dei is competing in the Teutopolis Sectional and will take on Robinson (22-6) on Wednesday at 7 p.m. Gillespie (15-11) is playing Teutopolis (23-8) b eginning at 4 p.m. The sectional title game is set for Saturday at 10 a.m.
Winners of the Benton and Teutopolis sectionals will play in the Sauget Super-Sectional at GCS Ballpark on Monday beginning at 5 p.m.
Following is a brief look at the local Class 1A-2A teams competing in IHSA sectionals:
Philip Reinhardt continues to be one of the top players in the metro-east.. On the mound, Reinhardt is 5-1 with a 1.59 ERA in 49 innings. He has struck out 75 hitters while walking just 10 asll season. Also hitting at a .372 cllip, Reinhardt has added 24 RBI. Junior Jacob Rowold (7-2, 1.89 ERA) combined with Reinhardt to gave the Pirates a solid pitching duo. On offense, senior Riley McCarthy (.457, 1 HR , 34 RBI) and Logan Seidler (.398, 1 HR 37 RB) lead the Valmeyer attack.
Always at their best in the postseason, the Hawks trounced Okawville 16-1 to win the Okawville Regional last Saturday and has won four of its last five games in all. Austin Sweeney (4.18, 1 HR 25 RBI) and Mark Branz (.443, 2 HR, 24 RBi) lead a strong offense which features five players with 20 or more RBI. Branz also is the ace of the pitching staff with a 6-0 record and 2.31 ERA in 40 innings. Sweeney (3-0) and Nick Weilbacher (3-1) have also been solid for the Hawks.
The Knights enter the Teutopolis Sectional playing perhaps their best baseball of the season. With a mark of 6-1 in their last seven games, the Knights defeated Althoff 17-6 i n the regional title game. It all begins with offense for Mater Dei, which has one of the top hitters in the St. Louis area. Drew Dant currently is hitting .538 with four home runs and 30 RBI. Nick Burg (.421, 1 HR, 14 RBI) and Zach Napovanice (.403, 4 HR 22 RBI) are also solid at the plate. Blake Sellkers (4-1., 2.38 ERA, Dant (3-1, 1.77 ERA) and Miitchell Haake (3-0, 3.35 ERA) lead the Knights pitching staff.
The Hornets defeated Red Bud 9-8 in the title game of the Red Bud Regional and figured to be put to the test against Fairview on Wednesday. Power-hitting Gavin Baldwin (.365, 8 HR, 35 RBI) has been one d the top offensive players in the River-to-River Conference for the past two years. . Cole Malwy (.375) has been the Hornets Mr. Clutch with a team-leading 38 RBI. Todd Jahnke (9-1, 1.43 ERA) and Bryce Bultman (7-2, 1.78 ERA) have been excellent on the mound all season.