By Jeff Vorva
Since the Illinois High School Association expanded the boys baseball and girls softball playoffs from two to four classes in 2008, the TribLocal area has seen some mixed results.
In baseball, the area produced seven champions in those four years. Prairie Ridge won the first Class 4A title in 2008, Joliet Catholic Academy (3A) and New Trier (4A) were the best in 2009, Elgin’s Westminster Academy (1A) and Naperville Central (4A) won titles in 2010 and Kaneland (3A) and Lyons Township (4A) won titles last year.
But in softball, there were just three champs – all in Class 4A – and the area was shut out last year. Lincoln-Way Central won the first Class 4A title in 2008 followed by Loyola Academy in 2009 and Sandburg in 2010.
Pairings and seedings have been announced for both sports for this season and several area teams picked up high regional and sectional seeds. Class 1A and 2A games start May 14 with the state championship games June 2. Class 3A and 4A games start May 21 with the state title games June 9.
At the McHenry Sectional, Crystal Lake South and Cary-Grove were the local team to pick up a top regional seeds. At the Schaumburg Sectional, Geneva, St. Charles North, St. Charles East and Wheaton North picked up the top four seeds.
At the Evanston Sectional, Maine South, Oak Park River Forest, New Trier and Niles West picked up the top four seeds while at the Glenbrook South Sectional, Mundelein, Glenbrook North, Glenbrook South and Hersey earned the top spots.
At the Andrew Sectional, 2011 runner-up Providence Catholic picked up the first seed followed by Lincoln-Way North, Sandburg and Marist. At the St. Ignatius Sectional, defending champ Lyons Township drew the fifth seed and would have to beat out a field that includes St. Laurence (ranked No. 1 in the area by the Tribune recently), Mt. Carmel (ranked No, 2), St. Rita and De La Salle to have a chance to repeat.
In the Romeoville Sectional, Plainfield North, Hinsdale South, Neuqua Valley and Downers Grove South drew the top four seeds.
In the Sycamore Sectional, defending champion Kaneland drew the No. 1 seed in its regional and Prairie Ridge, now in Class 3A, is the top seed in the Marian Central Catholic Regional.
At the Glenbard South Sectional, Nazareth Academy earned the No. 1 seed and Glenbard South is seeded fourth. At Grayslake Central, the hosts, Vernon Hills, St. Viator and Lakes earned the top four seeds.
At the Lincoln-Way West Sectional, Joliet Catholic Academy is seeded second and Lemont third.