Aurora Central Catholic stands between the baseball teams from St. Edward and Westminster Christian and the postseason prize each seeks.
ACC (25-5) is the top seed at the Class 2A Westminster Christian regional, which begins Monday with No. 5 North Boone facing No. 4 Westminster Christian (10-9) in a play-in game at 4:30 p.m. A win by the young Warriors would advance them to a Wednesday semifinal against ACC at 4:30 p.m.
Westminster and ACC split a nonconference doubleheader at the same Elgin venue Saturday afternoon. The Warriors won the first game 6-5, but ACC pitcher Drew Riedy shut the Warriors out 11-0 on 2 hits in the nightcap.
The Chargers and new coach Sean Bieterman, who previously coached at Driscoll and Lincoln-Way Central, kept staff ace Matt Miller in reserve Saturday.
Likewise, Westminster first-year coach Tim Dunderdale did not throw top pitcher Clay DeHaan in Saturday's doubleheader. A junior, DeHaan is 2-2 with a 2.23 ERA in 22 innings. He has posted 35 strikeouts and issued 8 walks.
Westminster Christian is led offensively by senior Will Woodhouse (.406, 8 2B, 13 RBI) and sophomores Luke Weston (.425, 14 RBI), Chase Woods (.375, 5 2B, 20 RBI), Tyler Mamrot (.386, 4 2B, 17 RBI) and Frank Anquilo (.389, 3 3B, 10 RBI).
No. 2 St. Edward (14-8) opens the playoffs against No. 3 Aurora Christian (10-15) Thursday at 4:30 p.m. The Green Wave defeated the Eagles 12-8 in a Suburban Christian Conference crossover on April 4.
"They're a good team, but we proved we not only can hang with them but beat them," Green Wave coach Tim Dovichi said. "It's just a matter of us playing solid baseball like we can."
A victory would advance St. Edward to its second straight regional title game on Saturday at noon against the ACC-Westminster winner. St. Edward was swept by the Chargers in a 2-game SCC Gold Division series, but both contests were close (5-4, 3-0). Rain forced St. Edward and Westminster to cancel their only regular-season meeting scheduled for last Thursday.
The Wave is brimming with confidence after a comeback victory last week against perennial SCC power Montini. That game was suspended by lightning for four days and St Edward rallied for a 6-5 win when play resumed.
"The biggest motivating factor for us was the Montini win," Dovichi said. "Coming back after waiting for four days will give us that extra courage and confidence to go into the regional and take it. We played (ACC) tough both times. It's not out of the stars that we can make this happen."
Offensive leaders for St. Edward include leadoff hitter Michael Castoro (.394, .470 OBP, 26 runs), catcher Tighe Koehring (.386, 9 2B, 23 RBI) and senior Jack Tierney (.397, 4 2B, 21 RBI).
The Green Wave pitching staff is led by Indiana Tech recruit Jacob Koehring (4-2, 1.64 ERA, 46 K, 17 BB, 42 IP), sophomore Jake LaFrenz (3-3, 3.66 ERA, 36 K, 16 BB, 28 IP) and Tierney (3-2, 5.58 ERA, 22 K, 10 BB, 26 IP).