Like mayonnaise, area teams will be spread thin this week as the Class 4A baseball playoffs begin.
The 12 Mid-Suburban League schools plus St. Viator, Maine West and Leyden have been placed in 4 of the 8 sectionals in the state, with play beginning Monday.
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MSL champion Elk Grove earned a No. 3 seed in the Loyola Academy sectional. The Grenadiers (21-10), who are led by Adam O'Malley, Peter Arbov, Josh Bergbreiter, Johnny Assimakopoulos, Ty Lawson, Matt Wary and Brandon Post, will host their own regional and will meet the winner of Schurz and Lake View on Wednesday.
"It is great to be champions of the MSL," said Elk Grove coach Terry Beyna, whose team was a regional champion last year. "But we look forward to the state playoffs now."
Maine West (15-15), which is also at Loyola, has been playing well of late. The Warriors have won 10 of their last 13 games and have been sparked by Matt Swanson, Geoff Duckmann and Eric Outlaw. They are seeded No. 8 and take on Niles North on Wednesday Northeastern Illinois.
Leyden (8-22) is the No. 10 seed in the sectional. The Eagles play Thursday against Niles West at New Trier's Duke Childs Field.
• Schaumburg will be hosting its own sectional, where the MSL West co-champs are seeded fourth. The Saxons (16-10), who have been getting great pitching from Bradley Schwind, Brendan Beck and Jack Bellinger as well as some timely hitting from Michael Fan and Jack Holden, take on the winner of West Chicago-Streamwood on Wednesday at Lake Park.
"It was disappointing to lose in the MSL championship game," Schaumburg coach Cal Seely said. "But the playoffs are another opportunity for us."
Hoffman Estates (12-15-1), led by hard-hitting MSL West co-player of the year Ethan Bloom, will have a play-in game on Monday in the Schaumburg sectional. The Hawks, who are seeded No. 16, will host Addison Trail at 10 a.m.
Conant (12-20), which has won its last three games, will also have a play-in game at 10 a.m. Monday. The Cougars, who are seeded 19th, will play at Glenbard East.
• Barrington (25-9), which tied for top honors in the MSL West, is in the McHenry sectional. Due to the distance of the teams in the sectional, teams were placed into regionals and then seeded in each regional.
The Broncos received the top spot in the Crystal Lake South regional. Led by Mitch Pfeiffer, Jake Petersen, Jake Coon, Anthony Delaurentis and Joey Sciaccotta, the Broncos will meet the winner of Crystal Lake South-Crystal Lake Central on Wednesday
"You have to realize that time is precious," Barrington coach Pat Wire said. "Right now you have to do the best you can. When it is all said and done, these teams are good."
• The bulk of the area teams are in the Glenbrook South sectional, with none of the area teams receiving a top four seed.
The highest area seed went to St. Viator (20-13) at No. 5. The Lions, who have won three regional titles in the last four years, love to run, setting a school record with 127 stolen bases this spring. Ben Dickey has 45 stolen bases and has like-minded teammates in Matt Prazuch, Matt Darling, Bobby Calmeyn, Mike Piet and Jack McElroy. St. Viator meets the winner of Glenbrook North and Zion-Benton on Wednesday at Glenbrook North.
"This is a real tough sectional," St. Viator coach Mike Manno said. "And it is time for everyone to play their best baseball."
Prospect (18-12-1) received the No. 9 seed and got a first-round bye. The Knights, who have been getting top play from Mike Smith, Grant Miller, Pat Donohue and Dan Devereux, will play Highland Park in the Libertyville regional on Thursday.
Palatine (20-15), which was seeded 11th, also received a first-round bye. The Pirates, one of the few teams in the state to play their fully allotted 35 regular-season games, are led by Nolan Gavin, who was co-MSL West player of the year. Palatine, which also has received strong play from Brad Bauer, Matt Saltess and Zach Serna, will host Warren on Thursday.
Area teams collide in two of the play-in games Monday.
At Fremd, the Vikings (15-15) will host Buffalo Grove in a rematch of last year's regional final at 11 a.m. Fremd, which is seeded 15th, has received strong pitching from junior Mack Rosman all season. Buffalo Grove (8-21), the 19th seed, hopes that lightning can strike twice for the Bison, who entered last year's playoffs with a similar record.
Hersey (17-16-1) will meet Rolling Meadows for a third time this season. The two teams split during the regular season but this time the loser is going home for the summer.
Hersey, which hosts the regional game at 11 a.m. and is the 16th seed, will look to CJ Reichel, Joe Silva and Andrew Segalla. Rolling Meadows (12-18) hopes MSL East player of the year Erik Schurtz can help slow down the Huskies.
Wheeling (14-18), which is the 18th seed, will play at Stevenson at noon. The Wildcats have received strong pitching from Nathan Cooney and Jake Jordan and are led offensively by Brenden Spillane.