If the best high school teams in the Joliet area are playing their best baseball at the right time, the postseason should be something special.
Ed Flink Field, which hosts so many big games every season, is the site of the Class 4A Lockport Sectional that will involve many of our area schools.
The teams in the sectional, as the IHSA recently announced, include Joliet Central, Joliet West, Lincoln-Way Central, Lincoln-Way West, Lincoln-Way East, Providence and Romeoville, in addition to Lockport. Not to discount anyone else, but do you think a sectional that included Lincoln-Way East, Lockport, Providence and perhaps Lincoln-Way Central might grab our attention?
The regional hosts in that sectional are Providence, Lincoln-Way West, Marist and Thornton Fractional South. Online voting for seeds, which in effect will determine which of the top teams will play in each regional, will be conducted a couple of weeks before the end of the regular season.
Each regional host will play at home. Each regional will get one of the 1 through 4 seeds and one of the 5 through 8 seeds.
The Lockport Sectional winner will play in the 4A super-sectional at the University of Illinois against the Illinois Wesleyan Sectional winner. That sectional is divided into Sub-Sectional A and Sub-Sectional B. The regional hosts in Sub-Sectional B, where Minooka has been assigned, are Danville and Normal Community. So if you are planning to see the Indians battle for their regional and/or sectional title, you better start saving your gas money.
We also have five area schools – Bolingbrook and the four Plainfields – that will be in the Hinsdale South Sectional. The winner there will face the St. Laurence Sectional winner in a 4A super-sectional at Standard Bank Stadium in Crestwood.
The regional hosts for the Hinsdale South Sectional are Plainfield North, Yorkville, Naperville Central and Hinsdale Central. It is unlikely to work out this way, but wouldn’t it be something if all four Plainfield schools reached the sectional? From what we have seen from South, Central, East and North, all four would enter the postseason with the potential to become regional champions.
Of course, we are not concerned only with Class 4A. In 3A, keep an eye on Sub-Sectional A of the Ottawa Sectional. That’s where Joliet Catholic Academy, Coal City and Morris have been assigned. Morris and Manteno will be regional hosts in that sub-sectional.
Lemont, always a postseason threat, is in Sub-Sectional B, the other half of the Ottawa Sectional, and is a regional host there, along with Bremen. The survivor from the Ottawa Sectional will have a date with the Brooks Sectional winner in the 3A super-sectional at Crestwood.
Then there’s 2A, where Sub-Sectional A of the Seneca Sectional includes Reed-Custer, Peotone, Wilmington and Seneca, with Herscher and Chicago Christian the regional hosts. The IC Catholic Sectional winner will meet the Seneca winner in the Benedictine Super-Sectional.
Finally, in Class 1A, Dwight and Gardner are assigned to Sub-Sectional B of the Illinois Wesleyan Sectional, with Ottawa Marquette and Stark County the regional hosts. The Wesleyan Sectional winner will return to the same site to take on the Schlarman winner in a 1A super-sectional.
Granted, you never can count on anything in sudden-death baseball tournaments. However, if we do not get multiple teams to sectional finals and perhaps beyond, it will be an unpleasant surprise.
A tough break for local fans of Atlanta pitcher Mike Foltynewicz. The Braves are in town this weekend, playing the Cubs at Wrigley Field, but Foltynewicz’s next start will not happen until at least Monday. In three starts covering 151/3 innings, he is 1-1 with a 2.93 ERA to go with 18 strikeouts and five walks.
• Washington Nationals right-hander Tanner Roark (Wilmington) is 1-1 with a 3.50 ERA. In three starts covering 18 innings, he has allowed only 12 hits and six walks while striking out 16.
• Left-handed reliever Tony Cingrani (Lincoln-Way Central) is 0-0 with a 0.00 ERA for the Dodgers. In six appearances, he has worked 42/3 innings and yielded two hits, walked nobody and struck out six.
Switching over to basketball, if you are looking for local rooting interest in the NBA playoffs, which opened this weekend, stick with the Philadelphia 76ers’ Richaun Holmes (Lockport). The 6-foot-10 forward averaged 15.5 minutes, 6.5 points, 1.3 assists and 0.6 blocks in 48 games played during the regular season. He shot 56 percent from the field and 66.1 percent from the free-throw line.
• DePaul red-shirt junior and former Lewis standout Max Strus has announced his intentions to enter this year’s NBA Draft but has not hired an agent. That way, he will maintain eligibility for his senior season with the Blue Demons.
In a story on the DePaul website, Strus was quoted, “After talking with my family and coaching staff, I’m entering my name into the 2018 NBA Draft to test the waters and get feedback. In order to get a true sense as to where I stand in the eyes of the NBA, this is the best route to get direct communication with NBA teams.”
Strus averaged a team-best 16.8 points, 5.6 rebounds and 2.8 assists this season. He scored in double figures in 26 of 31 games, including 12 games of at least 20 points. He scored a career-high 33 points against Northwestern and against Xavier.
• Dick Goss can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.