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2008 IESA Girls Softball State Finals This Weekend

Competition in the eighth annual Class A and Class AA Illinois Elementary School Association (IESA) Girls Softball State Final Tournaments will be this weekend at Champion Fields in Normal.

Three of the teams in the Class AA field were in last year's tournament led by defending champion Metamora GS. The only returnee in Class A is perennial contender Glasford Illini Bluffs, which finished fourth a year ago.

The starting times of the games Friday and Saturday are staggered by class. The Class A quarterfinals begin Friday at 10:30 a.m. The Class AA quarterfinals get under way at 10:00 a.m. The four quarterfinal winners advance to semifinal games Saturday morning with the third place and championship games set for Saturday afternoon. The Class A semifinals get under way at 10:30 a.m. with the third place game set for 2:30 p.m. and the championship game at 4:30 p.m. The Class AA semifinals begin at 10:00 a.m. with the third place game at 2:00 p.m. and the title game at 4:00 p.m.

The price of admission Friday will be $5.00 for adults and high school students and $2.00 for senior citizens (62 and over) and students (K-8). Children younger than kindergarten are admitted free both days. Fans attending the games Saturday will receive a wristband that is to be worn all day and will be used for entry to the facility throughout the day. Each team advancing to the Saturday games will play two games that day. The price of admission for the wristband Saturday will be $7.00 for adults and high school students and $3.00 for senior citizens (62 and over) and students (K-8).

Complete pairings for each state final, plus the FanZone, can be found at www.iesa.org. Click on the Girls Softball line in the orange box at the top of the IESA Web Site Home Page.

IESA girls softball began in 1978 and was a one-class state series until 2001 before the split to Class A and Class AA competition bringing eight teams in each class to the state final. Classes in IESA two-class competition are determined by dividing the schools entered in the sport evenly.

This year a total of 180 schools entered the softball series and began competition at the regional level. A total of 90 schools were assigned to Class A and 90 schools to Class AA. Classification of each school is determined by the enrollment of students in the seventh and eighth grade for the previous school year. The Class A enrollment range this year was 1-157 and AA began at 158.

Class A

Glasford Illini Bluffs has qualified for the Class A state final for the third straight year. The Tigers lost in the quarterfinals in 2006 and placed fourth last year. Mulberry Grove JHS is the only unbeaten team in the 2008 Class A field bringing a 15-0 record into its quarterfinal game. The eight finalists have a combined won-lost record of 125-32, a winning percentage of .796.

McNabb Putnam County (13-8) plays Lockport Kelvin Grove (15-4) in the opening Class A game at 10:30 a.m. Then Downs Tri-Valley (15-8) faces Kinderhook Western (13-4) at 12:30 p.m. In the third game, Springfield Christ The King (17-2) meets Mulbery Grove JHS (15-0). Sumner Red Hill (17-2) battles Glasford Illini Bluffs in the last quarterfinal game at 4:30 p.m.

Both Mulberry Grove JHS and Glasford Illini Bluffs rolled to regional titles and then advanced to the state final with one-run wins in the sectional. Mulberry Grove JHS posted shutout wins over St. Elmo (10-0) and Altamont (5-0) to take the regional before beating Edinburg 8-7 in the sectional. Glasford Illini Bluffs has given up only one run in each of its three state series games. Illini Bluffs stopped Peoria Limestone Walters 11-1 and Bartonville Oak Grove 14-1 in the regional and then Princeville 2-1 in the sectional.

Springfield Christ The King has flexed its offensive muscle during the state series, stopping Springfield St. Aloysius 11-1 and Springfield Calvary 7-3 in the regional and then Hartsburg-Emden 9-1 in the sectional.

Sumner Red Hill has given up only one run in three state series games. The Salukis stopped Newton St. Thomas 14-0 and Oblong 10-1 in the regional before beating Toledo Cumberland 3-0 in the sectional.

Of the 143 players listed on the rosters of the eight finalists, 3 are in fifth grade, 21 are in sixth grade, 50 in seventh grade and 69 in eighth grade.

In IESA competition, school enrollments are determined by the students in seventh and eighth grade. Class A is the smallest class. Enrollments of the eight finalists are: Mulberry Grove JHS 71, Kinderhook Western 86, Springfield Christ The King 102, Sumner Red Hill 140, McNabb Putnam County 148, Glasford Illini Bluffs 151, Downs Tri-Valley 157 and Lockport Kelvin Grove 162.

Pittsfield radio station WBBA will broadcast the games in which Kinderhook Western plays this weekend, and the game(s) will be streamed on WBBA.com.

Class AA

Defending champion Metamora GS (18-0) is one of three undefeated teams advancing to the Class AA state final. The others are Mattoon (17-0) and recent powerhouse Edwardsville Lincoln (20-0). The combined win-loss record of the 2008 Class AA finalists is a staggering 151-16, a winning percentage of .904.

Metamora GS beat Casey-Westfield 10-0 in five innings to win last year's Class AA title. Williamsville beat Edwardsville Lincoln 6-2 for third place in 2007.

Traditional softball contenders Williamsville (25-4) and Beecher (23-3) play the first quarterfinal game at 10:00 a.m. Glen Ellyn Hadley (14-3) faces Metamora GS in the second quarterfinal game at noon. Then Mattoon battles Wenona Fieldcrest (23-3) at 2:00 p.m. Mahomet-Seymour (11-3) meets Edwardsville Lincoln in the final quarterfinal game at 4:00 p.m.

Beecher is appearing in the Class AA state final for only the second time but has played in five Class A state finals since the series was split into two classes in 2001. Beecher was Class AA champion in 2001 and won Class A in 2006 after finishing second in 2005.

Coach Lori Blade's Edwardsville Lincoln Wildcats are after their third straight Class AA trophy. Lincoln was Class AA champion in 2006 and finished fourth last year. Over the past three years Edwardsville Lincoln is 55-3 heading into Friday's game with Mahomet-Seymour. In 2006, Lincoln finished 16-1 and was 19-2 in 2007, both losses coming on the last day of the state tournament. The Tigers return 5-foot 8 pitcher Amber Toenyes, who pitched three complete games last year in the Class AA state final.

Williamsville returns 5-foot 5 pitcher Hayley Long, who was 2-1 in last year's state final, pitching 21 innings, giving up 11 hits and only five runs while striking out 13 and walking 9. Williamsville has outscored its three state series opponents 13-0 heading into the Beecher game.

Glen Ellyn Hadley uses the arms of seventh grade pitchers 5-foot 3 Taylor Langtry and 5-foot 6 Katie Ball. The Wildcats have outscored their three state series opponents 22-1 and have not been scored upon the last two games. In the regional, Glen Ellyn Hadley was the No. 2 seed and nipped Lisle, 2-1, in the semifinals before blanking No. 1 seed Antioch 11-0 in the title game. Then the Wildcats bounced Romeoville Martinez 9-0 in the sectional.

Defending champion Metamora GS has outscored its three state series opponents 21-2. The Redbirds beat Farmington Central 10-2 and Canton Ingersoll 8-0 in the regional and East Peoria Central 3-0 in the sectional.

Mattoon has not allowed a run in its three state series games, outscoring three opponents 30-0. The Wildcats beat Sullivan 14-0 and Shelbyville Moulton 4-0 in the regional and than blanked Teutopolis 12-0 in the sectional. Coach Jenny Nolte lists eighth graders 5-foot 10 Kacey Starwalt and 5-foot 8 Kaylee Conlin as her pitchers.

Wenona Fieldcrest was seeded second in the regional. The Lady Knights beat Wilmington Stevens 5-3 in the regional semifinals before thumping No. 4 seed Coal City 21-0 in the regional title game. Then Wenona Fieldcrest topped Normal Kingsley 7-2 in the sectional.

This is the first year that Mahomet-Seymour has fielded junior high teams in softball and baseball. The softball team comes into the state final off a pair of one-run wins. In the regional the Bulldogs opened with an 8-2 win over Danville North Ridge. Then they nipped Tolono Unity 2-1 in the title game before getting by Bourbonnais UGS 4-3 in the sectional.

Of the 133 players listed on the rosters of the eight finalists, 11 are in sixth grade, 50 in seventh grade and 72 in eighth grade.

In IESA competition, school enrollments are determined by the students in seventh and eighth grade. Class AA is the largest class. Enrollments of the eight finalists are: Wenona Fieldcrest 176, Beecher 180, Metamora GS 185, Williamsville 224, Mahomet-Seymour 421, Edwardsville Lincoln 481, Mattoon 495 and Glen Ellyn Hadley 774.



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