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2007 IESA Girls Softball State Finals This Weekend

Competition in the seventh 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 A field were in last year's tournament. Metamora St. Mary's finished second while Toledo Cumberland and Glasford Illini Bluffs were quarterfinalists. The only returnee in the Class AA field is defending champion and unbeaten Edwardsville Lincoln (18-0).

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 175 schools entered the softball series and began competition at the regional level. A total of 88 schools were assigned to Class A and 87 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 1-160 and AA began at 161.

Class A

Four of the eight Class A quarterfinalists have won 19 or more games this year. Pairings for the quarterfinals are: 10:30 a.m. - Dwight (11-4) vs. Toledo Cumberland (23-2); 12:30 p.m. - Buffalo Tri-City (13-7) vs. Metamora St. Mary's (22-3); 2:30 p.m. - Mackinaw Dee-Mack (16-8) vs. Glasford Illini Bluffs (19-1); 4:30 p.m. - Payson Seymour (9-8) vs. Springfield Calvary (22-3).

Of the 126 players listed on the rosters of the eight finalists, 11 are in sixth grade, 43 in seventh grade and 72 in eighth grade.

Toledo Cumberland's only losses this year were to Sumner Red Hill and Mattoon. Toledo Cumberland avenged that regular season defeat by beating Sumner Red Hill 7-0 in the sectional. Right-handed pitcher Shana Marti tossed the sectional shutout. The Raiders have outscored their three state series opponents 29-3, scoring 11 runs in both regional games. Leading hitters are shortstop Jasie McMechan, outfielder Kendra Jensen and catcher Olivia Titus.

Metamora St. Mary's finished second last year with a 22-4 record and is advancing to the State Tournament for the fourth straight year. The Falcons have 5-8 eighth grader Molly Cull on the mound for the second straight year. In last year's state tournament, she pitched all three games. In the regional and sectional this year she allowed only two runs as St. Mary's outscored opponents 40-2. The leading hitters are centerfielder Hayden Filson, catcher Katelyn Alig, third baseman Shelby Holsapple and rightfielder Cassidy Ioerger. Metamora St. Mary's has not lost to a Class A team this year. Unbeaten Metamora GS beat the Falcons twice during the regular season. The other loss was to Eureka.

Another of the four teams in the Class A state tournament to lose to Metamora GS during the regular season is Glasford Illini Bluffs. It is the Tigers' only loss of the year. Metamora GS also beat Mackinaw Dee-Mack during the season. Illini Bluffs has outscored its three state series opponents 27-3 heading into its quarterfinal game with Mackinaw Dee-Mack.

Twins Kenzie and Hannah Wall play big roles for Illini Bluffs. The 5-10 Kenzie is the Tigers' pitcher while 5-8 Hannah plays second base. Another leading hitter is 5-5 Whitney Walker. In seventh grade competition in last spring's IESA Class A State Track and Field Meet, Kenzie Wall placed third in the shot put and Whitney Walker was third in the discus.

Eighth grader Amber Schmidgall is the Dee-Mack pitcher. Among the Braves' hitters are 5-1 eighth grade second baseman Kayla Craig, 5-0 eighth grade catcher Kayla Schamberger and 5-1 eighth grader Kahla Burmaster, who catches or plays first base.

Springfield Calvary rides the arm of 5-6 eighth grade pitcher Cristen Seiders. The Saints battled their way through the rugged Springfield regional-sectional complex. They beat perennial powers St. Aloysius, 9-2, and St. Agnes, 13-0, in the regional, respectively, before knocking off Christ The King, 6-2, in the sectional. Leading hitters are Cristen Seiders, second baseman Ali Mattsson, and first baseman Kristina Stroble.

Class AA

Unbeaten Edwardsville Lincoln and Metamora GS appear to be on a collision course that would lead to their meeting in the championship game. But perennial powers Casey-Westfield and Williamsville may block the path.

Pairings for the quarterfinals are: 10:00 a.m. - Edwardsville Lincoln (18-0) vs. Lisle (16-3); 12:00 noon - Manteno (19-4) vs. Casey-Westfield (21-4); 2:00 p.m. - Williamsville (29-1) vs. Forrest Prairie Central (12-8); 4:00 p.m. - *Metamora GS (26-0) vs. Lockport Oak Prairie (14-1).

Of the 124 players listed on the rosters of the eight finalists, 11 are in sixth grade, 48 are in seventh grade and 65 are in eighth grade.

Coach Lori Blade's Edwardsville Lincoln Tigers took the 2006 crown with a 16-1 record, beating Casey-Westfield, 15-1, in the championship game. Both pitchers on this year's roster are seventh graders. One is 5-3 Amy Stein and the other is 5-7 Amber Toenyes. A big hitter for the Tigers is 5-8 eighth grade shortstop Sam Epenesa, who pounded out five hits and drove in seven runs in last year's state final.

Edwardsville Lincoln beat Rochester, 11-1, and Chatham Glenwood, 12-2, in the regional and then topped Quincy, 3-1, in the sectional.

Casey-Westfield lists a pair of pitchers on the tournament roster. They are 4-10 eighth grader Kendall Hutson and 5-0 eighth grader Toni Burris. The Lady Braves have 5-10 eighth grader Michaela Montgomery at first base. Casey-Westfield won seven single-class state titles and has finished runner-up five times in the 30-year history of IESA girls softball. Casey-Westfield has outscored its state series opponents 28-4 heading into the quarterfinals.

Williamsville, which won the single-class title in 1989 and 1991, rides the arm of unbeaten pitcher Hayley Long, a 5-5 seventh grader. The Bee Bees' only loss was to Petersburg PORTA in a split-squad contest. Catcher Kathryn Spenn, a 5-8 eighth grader, is the leading hitter and has three over-the-fence home runs this season. Williamsville has outscored three state series opponents 25-3.

Metamora GS squeaked past Washington Central, 6-5, in the first game of the regional and has not been score upon since. The Redbirds shut out Eureka, 9-0, for the regional title and then beat East Peoria Central, 10-0 in the sectional. Kasey Kanaga, a 5-3 eighth grader has pitched every game for Metamora GS.

Lockport Oak Prairie is a five-year-old school playing in IESA girls softball for the third year. The only loss this season has been to Frankfort Summit Hill. The Bulldogs nipped Lockport Kelvin Grove, 1-0, in the first regional game and then edged Minooka, 7-6, in the regional final. Lockport Oak Prairie blanked Homer Glen Homer, 10-0, in the sectional. Marquette (Marki) Kernbauer, a 5-5 eighth grader, is the ace of the pitching staff. Two of the top hitters are catcher Meredith Jensen and 5-5 seventh grade first baseman Jessica Jatis.



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