Notebook: Defending state champs St. Bede, Rockridge assigned to same 2A sectional

St. Bede's Ella Hermes fires a pitch to Midland on Thursday, March 21, 2024 at St. Bede Academy.

The postseason is some six weeks away, but the IHSA has set up a potential grand slam in the area softball ranks.

After winning the Class 1A state championship last year, St. Bede has been bumped up to 2A this year. Their sectional assignment lines up the Bruins with Rockridge, the three-time Class 2A defending state champ, in what could be a dream matchup of the area’s two premiere softball teams.

St. Bede and Rockridge have been assigned to the Peoria Notre Dame Sectional, the Bruins in subsectional A and the Rockets in subsectional B. Both will be regional hosts. By winning regionals, they would be sent to the Notre Dame Sectional at the Louisville Slugger Complex in Peoria, where each won their state titles a year ago.

St. Bede coach Shawn Sons had not seen the sectional assignments yet, but said his first take would be, “Let’s play ball.”

There will be a sneak preview of the potential sectional showdown Saturday, April 20, at the Academy’s Abbot Philip Davey Field. The Rockets won a late-season matchup 8-0 a year ago in Edgington.

St. Bede is 7-0, outscoring its past four foes 59-1, that included a barrage of eight home runs.

Rockridge won its first two games behind ace pitcher Kendra Lewis. The University of Wisconsin recruit recorded her 600th career strikeout in Thursday’s 6-2 win over Orion. She spun a no-hitter in the season-opening 4-0 win over Rock Island.

The Rockets, who fell 6-4 Friday to Ridgewood, have a new coach this year in Scott Durbin. He succeeded longtime coach John Nelson, who won four state championship in five years before departing to become the head coach at Augustana College.

St. Bede has been paired with Canton, regional host Chillicothe IVC, El Paso-Gridley, Eureka, Farmington, Fieldcrest, Hall, Manito Midwest Central and Notre Dame in subsectional A.

Rockridge will be a regional host in subsectional B along with Three Rivers rival Riverdale. They will be joined by Brimfield, Kewanee, Knoxville, Mercer County, Monmouth-Roseville, Orion, Rock Island Alleman and Sherrard.

Bureau Valley, Mendota and Princeton were assigned to the Marengo subsectional A. Oregon and Rock Falls are the regional hosts. Other schools will be Byron, Erie-Prophetstown, Genoa-Kingston, Morrison and Stillman Valley.

Woodland-Flanagan-Cornell will host a Class 1A sectional with Ottawa Marquette, Serena and regional host Newark in the opposite subsectional.

Putnam County and Amboy will be regional hosts in the Class 1A Williamsfield subsectional B.

In Class 3A, Ottawa was assigned to the Lemont subsectional B, La Salle-Peru and Streator were assigned to the Washington subsectional A.

Baseball

In baseball, Bureau Valley, Hall and Princeton were all assigned to the Chillicothe subsectional A. The Red Devils will be a regional host. Other teams assigned are Kewanee, Knoxville, Monmouth-Roseville, Orion, Sherrard and Rockridge. There still is a need for a regional host, according to the IHSA.

St. Bede will be a regional host in the Class 1A Bloomington subsectional A along with Annawan-Wethersfield. Putnam County and Henry also were assigned there.

Marquette was assigned to the Class 1A Elgin Harvest Christian Academy subsectional A along with regional host Serena.

In Class 3A, Ottawa, L-P and Streator were assigned to the Washington subsectional A.