High-SchoolIndiana: Baseball

Lake Central hasn't had an easy road through the Class 4A state tournament, and it will get even tougher when the top team in the POWERADE state rankings takes on No. 2 Zionsville on Saturday.

The top teams in Indiana will meet in the 4A semifinals, with the victor advancing to play the winner of Roncalli/New Palestine for the state championship. New Palestine is at No. 4 in this week's rankings, while Roncalli is No. 5.

POWERADE State Baseball Rankings
  1. Lake Central (30-1) — Last week: No. 1
  2. Zionsville (28-4) — Last week: No. 4
  3. Greensburg (27-1) — Last week: NR
Click for complete POWERADE state rankings.

Follow Mike Grimala on Twitter (@MGrimalaESPN).
The sectional playoffs were a rough time for most of the teams in last week's POWERADE state rankings, as four Top 10 teams found themselves bounced from the tournament.

No. 1 Lake Central is still alive in Class 4A, but the Nos. 2, 3 and 4 teams from last week are all out, as Huntington North, New Albany and Cathedral were all upset. With regionals set to begin on Saturday, look for more turnover in next week's edition of the POWERADE rankings.

POWERADE State Baseball Rankings
  1. Lake Central (26-1) — Last week: No. 1
  2. Jasper (26-3) — Last week: No. 5
  3. Andrean (24-3) — Last week: No. 7
Click for complete POWERADE state rankings.

Follow Mike Grimala on Twitter (@MGrimalaESPN).
It was a fairly uneventful week in terms of the Indiana POWERADE state rankings, as most of the teams in the Top 10 held serve. The result is a list that has few changes from last week -- the top three teams remain in order, and there is only one new team in the Top 10.

Cathedral is on a tear, and the Fighting Irish jump from No. 7 to No. 4 this week. And with Homestead dropping out of the rankings, Crown Point is able to sneak in at No. 10.

POWERADE State Baseball Rankings
  1. Lake Central (25-1) — Last week: No. 1
  2. Huntington North (27-2) — Last week: No. 2
  3. New Albany (25-3) — Last week: No. 3
Click for complete POWERADE state rankings.
Lake Central's stay at No. 2 was short-lived, as the Indians return to the top spot in this week's edition of the POWERADE state rankings.

Huntington North, last week's No. 1, drops down one spot after losing to Logansport. A big matchup with FW Carroll looms on Thursday, so Huntington North could be on the move again in next week's rankings.

POWERADE State Baseball Rankings
  1. Lake Central (22-1) — Last week: No. 2
  2. Huntington North (23-2) — Last week: No. 1
  3. New Albany (21-2) — Last week: No. 3
Click for complete POWERADE state rankings.

Follow Mike Grimala on Twitter (@MGrimalaESPN).
Huntington North remains at No. 1 in this week's edition of the POWERADE state rankings, but that's about the only stability in the top half of the rankings.

Elkhart Central tumbles from No. 2 to No. 6 after a rough week, and Zionsville slips from No. 3 to No. 5 after losing to Westfield. Lake Central takes over the No. 2 spot, while New Albany is now No. 3. Both Lake Central and New Albany have been ranked No. 1 at some point this season.

POWERADE State Baseball Rankings
  1. Huntington North (19-1) — Last week: No. 1
  2. Lake Central (18-1) — Last week: No. 4
  3. New Albany (19-2) — Last week: No. 5
Click for complete POWERADE state rankings.

Follow Mike Grimala on Twitter (@ESPNHSGrimala).
With the top two teams in the state both stumbling last week, there are new faces in new places in this week's edition of the POWERADE state rankings.

Former No. 1 Lake Central suffered its first defeat of the season against Chesterton, and No. 2 Cathedral hit a pothole against Center Grove, dropping them to Nos. 4 and 6, respectively. That paved the way for Huntington North to jump from No. 3 to No. 1, while Elkhart Central climbs from No. 4 to No. 2 this week.

POWERADE State Baseball Rankings
  1. Huntington North (14-1) — Last week: No. 3
  2. Elkhart Central (12-1) — Last week: No. 4
  3. Zionsville (15-1) — Last week: No. 5
Click for complete POWERADE state rankings.
Take a quick glance at this week's POWERADE state rankings, and the first thing that jumps out is probably No. 3 Zionsville. The Eagles have leaped all the way from No. 10 to No. 3 this week after winning three games to improve to 6-0 on the season.

The move also reflects Zionsville's climb up to No. 11 in the POWERADE Midwest Regional Rankings.

Lake Central remains at No. 1 this week, and Cathedral is once again right behind at No. 2. Aside from Zionsville, two other teams jumped forward this week -- Huntington North and Marian enter the rankings at No. 8 and No. 10, respectively.

POWERADE State Baseball Rankings
  1. Lake Central (9-0) — Last week: No. 1
  2. Cathedral (8-1) — Last week: No. 2
  3. Zionsville (9-0) — Last week: No. 10
Click for complete POWERADE state rankings.

Follow Mike Grimala on Twitter (@ESPNHSGrimala).
For the third straight week there's a new team atop the POWERADE state rankings. Last week's No. 1, New Albany, was upset by North Harrison, opening the door for Lake Central to jump up from the No. 2 spot.

One-loss teams Cathedral and FW Carroll remain in the mix, settling at Nos. 2 and 3, respectively. New Albany has dropped to No. 4, just ahead of unbeaten Crown Point and Elkhart Central.

POWERADE State Baseball Rankings
  1. Lake Central (5-0) — Last week: No. 2
  2. Cathedral (4-1) — Last week: No. 3
  3. FW Carroll (6-1) — Last week: No. 4
Click for complete POWERADE state rankings.

Follow Mike Grimala on Twitter (@ESPNHSGrimala).
Nick McCartyScott KurtzSenior pitcher Nick McCarty went 11-0 with a 1.60 ERA as a junior; he has signed with Notre Dame.
This story originally appeared in the April issue of ESPNHS Magazine.

Cathedral may have come up on the wrong end of the past two state championship games, but the Fighting Irish are determined to make another run at the crown this season.

Though they lost All-State pitcher Dillon Peters to graduation, there’s already another hurler ready to step into the role of team ace — senior right-hander Nick McCarty almost matched Peters’ production last season, going 11-0 with a 1.60 ERA, so the team is more than comfortable handing him the ball in a big spot. McCarty tossed seven complete games and struck out 68 batters in 67.2 innings, so he’s ready to take over as the team’s No. 1 starter.

With McCarty anchoring the rotation, the rest of the team falls nicely into place. Last year’s regular lineup was comprised mostly of underclassmen, so there’s experience and talent returning at nearly every position. Senior shortstop Matt Dauby is one of the most exciting position players in the state, as the Virginia Tech recruit is coming off a season in which he batted .354 with six home runs and 27 RBIs. Senior infielder Austin Boos hit .333 with 21 RBIs in 2011, and junior Brendan Flood and senior Mike Kseniak give the team two more returning .300 hitters. Junior outfielder Luke Cureton is also worth keeping an eye on; a 6-foot-2 athletic specimen, Cureton plays a terrific center field and could emerge as a power threat this season. McCarty, a Notre Dame recruit, also provides a big bat in right field, as he hit .398 with 26 RBIs in 2011.

On the mound, junior right-hander Will Birch figures to get a shot at the starting rotation behind McCarty, as will junior Alex Toneges and senior Jake Mills.
Cathedral is ranked No. 49 in the POWERADE FAB 50 and No. 3 in Indiana.

Follow Mike Grimala on Twitter (@ESPNHSGrimala).
Not surprisingly, there was a lot of movement in this week's POWERADE state rankings. With baseball season still in its early stages, the rankings are bound to keep shuffling until the state's truly elite teams separate themselves.

There's a new No. 1 team this week, as New Albany rises from No. 5 to No. 1 based on several impressive victories. Lake Central climbs from No. 6 to No. 2 thanks in large part to a great pitching staff.

The preseason No. 1 team, Cathedral, suffered an upset at the hands of Roncalli and subsequently lost its place atop the rankings. The Irish are ranked No. 3 this week. Jeffersonville and Crawfordsville also slipped (to No. 8 and No. 9, respectively) after suffering losses.

POWERADE State Baseball Rankings
  1. New Albany (5-0) — Last week: No. 5
  2. Lake Central (3-0) — Last week: No. 6
  3. Cathedral (2-1) — Last week: No. 1
Click for complete POWERADE state rankings.

Follow Mike Grimala on Twitter (@ESPNHSGrimala).
ESPNHS has announced its preseason All-State baseball teams, so feel free to start debating the Indiana selections.

Cathedral senior Matt Dauby, Jeffersonville sophomore Drew Ellis and New Albany senior SS Jordan Striegel headline the first team position players, while New Castle junior LHP Trey Ball, Highland senior LHP Jordan Minch and New Albany junior LHP Josh Rogers front the first team pitchers.

Check out the entire Indiana All-State team and let us know what you think.

Click here for the Indiana All-State baseball team.

Click here for any of the other 49 states.

Follow Mike Grimala on Twitter (@ESPNHSGrimala).
Three years ago, a group of Jeffersonville tweens became local stars when they made it all the way to the Little League World Series. Now, the core of that team is pushing the Jeffersonville high school squad to similar heights.

"This is the most talented team I've ever had," says coach Matthew Rigsby. "I've taken two teams to the state championship, and they'd both get mercied by this team. It's a ridiculously talented group."

Rigsby isn't afraid to pin big expectations on his crew because he knows they can live up to the hype. Leading the way is sophomore Drew Ellis, the star of the LLWS team. A 6-foot-4 shortstop, Ellis is on the verge of becoming the best player in Indiana. As a freshman last year, he hit cleanup and batted .383 with six home runs and 30 RBIs. And his defense was just as impressive.

"Drew won us games last year just by making some of the plays he made at shortstop," says Rigsby. "He's a tremendous athlete."

Ellis expects to take another big step forward this season.

"I've been working on improving my footwork and getting stronger," says Ellis. "I'm trying to get more power at the plate, so I'm not just hitting doubles but hitting home runs."

Junior catcher Isaac Crafton provides another big bat, coming off a season in which he led the team with a .468 average and 33 RBIs. The team's ace pitcher is Trent Astle, a junior lefty who posted a 2.15 ERA last year. Astle will be backed up in the rotation by senior right-hander Aaron Wenger, who will make the move from closer to starter this spring. Wenger's low-90s fastball should make it a smooth transition.

And Ellis isn't the only familiar face on the team — sophomore infielder Josh Burke and sophomore righty Chandler Dale are also former Little League heroes who should play significant roles.

Follow Mike Grimala on Twitter (@ESPNHSGrimala).

SPONSORED HEADLINES