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Baseball playoff previews: Highly touted Falcons prepare for loaded sectional

Wheaton North

Class: 4A

Sectional seed: No. 3

Regional: Wheaton North

Regional opener: 4:30 p.m. Wednesday vs. No. 19 Streamwood/No. 14 Addison Trail winner

What to watch: Though Wheaton North was denied a third straight DuPage Valley Conference title, the Falcons have put together another 20-win campaign.

As a result, the squad was rewarded with the No. 3 seed in the challenging St. Charles East sectional that features top-seeds Lake Park and Batavia.

Wheaton North would most likely see Glenbard North in the regional final, a team the Falcons just beat two out of three times in a DVC series.

The team is led by a deep pitching staff, headlined by Lake Bachar (6-0, 1.62 ERA) and Tom Colletti (6-1, 0.78 ERA). Offensively, Ryan Kent is hitting at a .405 clip while John Peltz checks in at .375 with nine doubles and 22 runs scored. Bachar has added a team-high 28 RBIs.

Wheaton Warrenville South

Class: 4A

Sectional seed: No. 6

Regional: Romeoville

Regional opener: 4:30 p.m. May 23 vs. No. 11 Yorkville

What to watch: Despite a couple of injuries, the Tigers are in the midst of a solid 2013 campaign.

Entering the week with 16 wins, Wheaton Warrenville South drew the No. 6 seed in the challenging Neuqua Valley sectional. The Tigers open against Yorkville and the winner would most likely see No. 3 Neuqua Valley in the regional final.

Wheaton Warrenville South features a deep pitching staff. Rich O'Neil is 3-1 on the spring with an ERA of 1.71 while Brett Streubing is 4-3 with an ERA of 1.71.

Leadoff hitter Eric Giltz is a sparkplug for the Tigers and is hitting .380 with five doubles, four home runs and 25 runs scored. Matt Walsh has scored 21 runs while catcher Justin Kelly has driven in 15.

West Chicago

Class: 4A

Sectional seed: No. 17

Regional: Schaumburg

Regional opener: 4:30 p.m. Monday at No. 15 Schaumburg

What to watch: Falling just short has been the theme this spring for West Chicago, which is a better team than its record might indicate.

The Wildcats have lost 14 games this spring by three runs or less.

Armed with a strong No. 1 pitcher in Mike Zajac, the squad could spring an upset in their opening-round playoff matchup against Schaumburg. The winner advances to take on No. 1-seed Lake Park in a regional semifinal.

Zajac has struck out 55 batters in 48 innings and has three wins on the spring.

At the plate, Connor Dall is hitting .384 with five doubles. Ryan Koester is at .371 with 18 RBIs while A.J. Seidler is batting .355 with two home runs and 13 RBIs.

St. Francis

Class: 3A

Regional seed: No. 1

Regional: Kaneland

Regional opener: 4:30 p.m. Wednesday vs. No. 5 IMSA/No. 4 Plano winner

What to watch: Playing some of its best baseball during the past month, the Spartans had posted a record of 16-9 through its first 25 games.

Sophomore Jason Sullivan has made quite a name for himself, compiling a record of 6-1 on the mound with an ERA of 1.57 while also hitting .382 with 17 runs scored.

Jack Petrando leads the team offensively with his .404 batting average while Tim Zettinger checks in at .390.

Wheaton Academy

Class: 3A

Regional seed: No. 5

Regional: Burlington Central

Regional opener: 4:30 p.m. Monday at No. 4 Genoa-Kingston

What to watch: This season has been a struggle for the Warriors though anything can happen once the playoffs begin.

Receiving the No. 5 seed at the Burlington Central regional, Wheaton Academy will play Genoa-Kingston in its postseason opener. A victory would set up a matchup against top-seed Hampshire in a regional semifinal.

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