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2013 IESA Boys Baseball State Finals This Weekend

Competition in the 8th annual Class 1A, 2A and 3A Illinois Elementary School Association (IESA) Boys Baseball State Final Tournaments will be this weekend at East Side Centre in East Peoria. Eight teams in each of the three classes (1A, 2A, and 3A) have advanced to the finals. This is the 59th year that IESA has conducted a state series in baseball.

Class 1A

The Class 1A tournament holds claim to a strong mix of tournament veterans as well as several teams making their first ever state appearance. Debuting in Class 1A are the 18-1 Timberwolves of Findlay Okaw Valley as they are pitted against the Knights of Normal Epiphany (19-4). Following a quick tournament exit in 2012, the Knights return with what head coach John Harris attributes as a "never say die attitude". "The fact that we continue to receive contributions from a different student athlete in each of our close games is what makes us stand out," said Harris. In the opposite dugout will be a Timberwolves squad sporting a three-headed monster on the mound in eighth graders Garrett Fritz, Cody Drake and Austin Harshman.

Game two in Class 1A pits Joliet St. Paul (11-5) against the Bruins of Springfield Blessed Sacrament (14-4). Following a one year hiatus, the Bruins return to the state tournament for the first time since claiming second back in 2011. The Giants of St. Pault have plenty of state experience of their own, capturing first in 2006 as well as advancing to the state scene a year ago. The Giants are led by eighth graders Matt Bebar and Aidan Tyrell who, in 38 innings pitched, have allowed only 14 hits, 9 earned runs and combined for 56 strikeouts.

Moving on to game three and what will be the battle between tournament newcomers in Bartonville Oak Grove West (13-4) and the Eagles of Gifford (15-3). Fresh off an impressive sectional win, Eagles head coach Mitch Pruemer is confident in his team heading into this weekend. "We have a very balanced team that picks each other up," said Pruemer. "This team has some great players that compete hard and know how to win." Bartonville Oak Grove West also knows a thing or two about winning, tallying a 13-4 record on the season. The Eagles of Bartonville rely offensively on speed, more specifically, the speed of eighth grader Josh Graves. "He bats leadoff for us and ever since we moved him there, he has been on a hot streak," said head coach Chris Uptmor.

Wrapping up the quarterfinal action in Class 1A are the Shamrocks of Jacksonville Our Saviour at 18-5 against the Raiders of Champaign St. Matthew (19-4). The Raiders return to Class 1A following an impressive debut a year ago, capturing third place. The previous two years, Springfield qualified for state in Class 2A, as head coach John Staab feels the prior experience will suit his team well come Friday. "We have been to the state tournament the past four years so our kids have some experience handling the excitement that goes with the event," said Staab. The Shamrocks have some state history of their own, advancing for the first time since winning it all back in 2008.

The following links provide additional information about the Class 1A tournament:

Class 2A

With an astounding five teams making their debut in Class 2A, this weekend's state baseball tournament is sure to see some history made. Speaking of one of those newbies, game one of the quarterfinals features the Hawk of Carrollton GS (14-0) as they take their undefeated record up against the tournament savvy Wooden Shoes of Teutopolis (16-4). The 2011 Class 2A state champion Wooden Shoes are back at state following an absence last year. Since the start of 2009, Teutopolis has managed an impressive 5-2 record in the tournament, which includes a second place finish back in 2010. On the opposite end, Carrollton head coach Greg Pohlman has preached a team concept en route to their first ever Class 2A appearance. "No superstars, no MVPsalways one group with a common goal and that is picking each other up during games and throughout the season."

Game two will feature plenty of intrigue, as both Princeville (12-6) and Maroa-Forsyth (13-3) are new to the Class 2A state tournament. The Princes of Princeville are led by eighth graders Griffin Headley, Kirkland Herold and Tagen Steidinger who, according to their head coach Chris Delbridge, have been coming up with big hits all year. Meanwhile, the Trojans of Maroa-Forsyth attribute much of their success to a certain seventh grader known for his actions off the field. "Ty Martin was voted by the team as being the one who represents the true meaning of sportsmanship," said head coach Jim Peck. "He treats everyone with respect, including the umpires and opponents. His passion for the game and sportsmanship was noticed by the whole team when he was chosen to be the only 7th grade captain at the beginning of the year."

Next in line is a key matchup between tournament powerhouse Chillicothe (19-4) and the Hornets of Lockport Kelvin Grove (13-3). The Hornets, back for the first time since 2006, are led by their MVP duo of eighth graders Zack Pytlweski and Antonio "AJ" Gradi. Pylweski has led the way on the mound while Gradi has had a phenomenal season at the plate, averaging nearly an extra base hit per game. The Mustangs of Chillicothe return following back-to-back years of quick exits at the state scene. Thrilled to be back for a third consecutive year, head coach Alex Razo knows the frustration following a fast elimination. "It is a great feeling to get to the tournament but unless you win that first round game, it is so disappointing and takes quite a while to recover from not advancing."

Finishing out the Class 2A quarterfinal games will be newcomers Green Valley Midwest Central (12-7) and the Eagles of Paris Crestwood (15-0). The unbeaten Eagles, led by head coach John White, are flying high following their notable 7-3 win over Danville Oakwood in the state sectional. On the flip side, the Raiders of Green Valley are led by a battery of eighth graders Brendan Schumm and Cole Bikai, as both have managed the game from a pitching and catching standpoint. On the offensive side, head coach Zach Roberts singles out Drew Stout and Tanner Allen for their clutch at bats throughout regionals and sectionals. Rounding out the group is eighth grader Sam Weimer, who epitomizes the meaning of sportsmanship for the Raiders. "Sam had an arm injury about a week before the regional, and has shown incredible sportsmanship throughout the remainder of the season," said Roberts. "His attitude, support and encouragement throughout practice and games is something that I think shows the true meaning of sportsmanship."

The following links provide additional information about the Class 2A tournament:

Class 3A

The Class 3A field will look very familiar with seven of the eight qualifying teams all having previous state final tournament experience. Game one features a Frankfort Summit Hill squad at 17-4 who will be making their sixth straight tournament appearance. Highlighted by a 2008 first place finish, the Spartans led by head coach Fred Pufahl, are hoping history repeats itself this weekend. Standing in their way will be an unbeaten Mahomet-Seymour squad (16-0) that finished fourth in last year's state tournament. The Bulldogs, fresh off their 8-5 sectional title win, are aiming to repeat the undefeated success of Morton JHS from a year ago en route to a state title.

Next on deck is a key matchup between the 10-9 Mustangs of Homer Glen Homer against the 21-3 Warriors of Coal City. Back for the first time since 2011, Coal City enters the state tournament with the most wins of any Class 3A qualifying team. On the opposite side, Homer Glen knows that the importance of tournament experience and the Mustangs have plenty. Highlighted by a state tile back in 2009, Homer Glen Homer holds an impressive 4-2 record all time at the Class 3A state tournament.

Game three will feature the lone newcomer in Edwardsville Lincoln (17-3) dueling it out against the Braves of Mt. Zion (19-2). Advancing to the state tournament for the third time in four years, the Braves are led by head coach Matt Smith who continually preaches the team concept. "We have 26 solid kids who have bought in to the coaches and the program," said Smith. "This is why we are having a successful season and each kid has bought in to their role for this team." Edwardsville Lincoln may be first timers in Class 3A, but their imposing 11-1 sectional defeat over Pleasant Plains shows that they are more than ready for the big stage. Edwardsville boasts a strong team with a very good pitcher in 6'3" Caleb Strohmeier.

Rounding out quarterfinal play will be the Junior Potters of Morton JHS (20-3) scheduled to play the Pythons of Normal Parkside (16-6). The Pythons, who qualified in Class 3A a year ago, have advanced to back-to-back state tournaments for the first time since the 07-08 seasons. Parkside is hoping to duplicate the success of that previous run that saw them take home second and third in consecutive seasons. It will be a tall task, however, as the Pythons will have to knock off the 2012 Class 3A state champion Junior Potters of Morton. Since 2007, the Junior Potters have advanced to the state tournament five times while accumulating an 8-4 mark that also saw them capture gold back in 2007. This game will be a rematch of a 2013 regular season matchup in which Morton narrowly defeated Parkside, 6-4.

The following links provide additional information about the Class 3A tournament:

The starting times of the games Friday and Saturday are slightly different than in years prior. The quarterfinal games on Friday in Class 1A are set for 9:30 a.m.; 11:30 a.m.; 2:00 p.m.; and 4:00 p.m. On Saturday, the two semifinals games are set for 9:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. with the third place game set for 2:00 p.m. and the championship game at 4:00 p.m.

In Class 2A, the quarterfinal games are set for 10:00 a.m.; 12 noon; 2:30 p.m.; and 4:30 p.m. On Saturday, the two semifinals games are set for 10:00 a.m. and 12 noon with the third place game set for 2:30 p.m. and the championship game at 4:30 p.m.

In Class 3A, the quarterfinal games begin at 10:30 a.m.; 12:30 p.m.; 3:00 p.m.; and 5:00 p.m. On Saturday, the two semifinals games are set for 10:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. with the third place game set for 3:00 p.m. and the championship game at 5:00 p.m.

Should weather become a factor, the IESA web site will contain up-to-date information regarding the tournament playing schedule. Go to www.iesa.org.

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). Each team advancing to the Saturday games will play two games that day. Fans attending the games Saturday will receive a wristband that is to be worn all day and will be used for re-entry to the facility throughout the 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). Children younger than kindergarten are admitted free both days.

Complete pairings for each state final, plus the FanZone, can be found at www.iesa.org. Click on the Boys Baseball line at the top of the IESA Web Site Home Page. Scores will be updated on the IESA website after each game.

The IESA sanctioned boys baseball in 1955. There was one class of boys baseball until 1990 when the activity was split into A and AA based upon a school's 7th-8th grade enrollment. It was split again in 2006 into the current three classes of 1A, 2A and 3A.

For more information, please contact the Baseball Administrator Steve Endsley at 309-829-0114 or steve@iesa.org



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