Updated Team Rankings and Week in Review

By Sean Duncan
Executive Director

If last week was any indication, this year’s playoffs will be one of the more topsy-turvy ones in recent memory.

Class 4A and 3A regionals, which top-level teams usually cruise through, were turned upside down last week, with ranked teams dropping one after another. And the surprises weren’t just reserved for the big-school classifications. Last week also saw 2A powerhouse Harrisburg fall to Shelbyville in the sectional semifinals.

The most damage, however, was done in the 4A regionals, where highly ranked teams were upended by the bulk. Ranked teams that had their seasons ended already include: Sandburg, Mundelein, Naperville Central, Huntley, Joliet West, Crystal Lake South, O’Fallon, Edwardsville, Minooka. Top-ranked Normal West also got knocked off by No. 12 Moline in the state’s toughest 4A regional final on Saturday.

And that’s just in 4A.

In 3A, Rock Island Alleman, which was one of the favorites, fell to Galesburg, and Springfield Sacred Heart-Griffin lost to conference rival Glenwood.

The mass exodus of ranked teams quite naturally created havoc in the top 25 state rankings. With Normal West’s loss, the Chicago Catholic Blue powers St. Laurence, Mount Carmel and St. Rita hold the top three spots, respectively, while Lincoln-Way North, which survived a 1-0 nine-inning scare from Lincoln-Way Central on Saturday, moves to No. 4.

No. 5 Downers Grove South, No. 6 Lockport are still alive, while No. 7 Teutopolis, which has one of the top pitching staffs in the state, looks to be the clear favorite in 2A. No. 8 Metamora, No. 9 Glenbrook South and defending 4A champ No. 10 Oak Park-River Forest round out the top 10.

No. 11 Galesburg, which quietly has put together an impressive season, sharing the Western Big Six crown with Alleman, jumps to No. 11, and Moline moves to No. 12. No. 13 Lyons Township has one of the most difficult roads to making a third straight trip to Joliet, defeated Simeon in the regional final, and now has No. 2 Mount Carmel in the sectional semifinals on Wednesday. The winner of that game will play the winner of No. 1 St. Laurence and No. 3 St. Rita in the ridiculous Reavis Sectional final championship game.

Don’t look now, but here comes No. 15 Joliet Catholic Academy making another postseason push. The Hilltoppers looked anything but contenders this season, as a slow start and a rash of injuries had them hobbling throughout. It all began with a season-opening loss to Marmion, and JCA never got fully on track. That is, until now. The Hilltoppers surprised many by winning the loaded Steven M. Bajenski Memorial Tournament, shutting out No. 2 Mount Carmel and No. 3 St. Rita along the way. JCA rode the wave into the playoffs, where it won the state’s toughest Class 3A regional. Senior right-hander Sam Couch (4-1, 1.03 ERA) has been a big reason for JCA’s late surge. The 5-foot-8 Lewis University recruit first tossed a five-hit shutout at St. Rita, and one-upped himself on Saturday when he no-hit Lemont with nine strikeouts in the Lemont Regional championship game. What once looked like a longshot, the Hilltoppers are now in position to earn its fourth state trophy in six seasons.

No. 16 Lake Park, No. 17 Neuqua Valley, No. 18 Plainfield South, No. 19 Glenwood, No. 20 Prairie Ridge and No. 21 Wheaton North are back in the top 25 rankings again.

No. 22 Rockton Hononegah makes its first appearance, and No. 23 Alton and No. 24 Peoria Notre Dame are still alive as well.

Class 2A and 1A supersectionals are Monday, with the state semifinals set Friday and Saturday at O’Brien Field in Peoria. Class 4A and 3A sectional semifinals are Wednesday and Thursday, with sectional semifinals scheduled for Saturday.

CLICK HERE to view Top 25 Team Rankings

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