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2014 IESA Boys Baseball Finals Begin This Friday

Competition in the 9th 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 60th year that IESA has conducted a state series in baseball.

Class 1A

The first quarterfinal contest of the day in Class 1A pits the 14-3 Wildcats of Springfield Christian against the Bullpups of Effingham St. Anthony (14-4). Returning to the Class 1A finals for the fourth time in five years (10,11,12,14), Effingham St. Anthony is led by head coach Ken Cornell and is fresh off an impressive sectional championship win over Nokomis JHS. On the flipside, the Wildcats are back to the Class 1A state finals since capturing fourth place back in 2010.

Game two of the morning features the Dragons of Grant Park (10-4) set to square off against the Eagles of Gifford (16-5). The Eagles return to the Class 1A state finals following an early exit a year ago. With tournament advancement on their mind, head coach Mitch Pruemer consistently spreads the message of "team first" baseball. "We have many contributors on our team and it takes all the players to be great," said Pruemer. Meanwhile, the Dragons of Grant Park are hoping to make some school history of their own, as the 2014 state finals will be their first. Led by head coach Desi Desiderio, Grant Park punched their ticket to state this past Saturday after defeating Pontiac St. Mary's in their sectional championship game.

Quarterfinal contest three features a pair of tournament heavyweights in defending state champion Joliet St. Paul (13-2) and last year's fourth place finisher Jacksonville Our Saviour (16-0). After suffering two heartbreaking losses to end their 2013 state finals, the Shamrocks of Jacksonville Our Saviour return to the big dance, this time with an unblemished record of 16-0. Led by head coach Bob Lonergan, the Shamrocks are aiming to capture their second Class 1A state title since after winning it all back in 2008. To do so, however, they'll have to contend with a Joliet St. Paul squad that will be looking for their third state championship in nine seasons (06,13). Led by a standout pitching staff that features eighth graders Caden Boggetto, Alex Vera and Josh Bolek, the Giants are 6-1 all time in the Class 1A finals.

Rounding out the group in Class 1A is a matchup between the 12-1 Flyers of Bartonville Monroe and the 15-4 Minutemen of Lexington. Making their debut in Class 1A, Lexington is led by head coach David Lingle and is coming off an impressive 15-0 sectional championship win over Delavan. Also entering the Class 1A state finals for the first time are the Flyers, who are led by head coach Evan Haffner. Bartonville Monroe defeated Washington St. Patrick this past Saturday en route to capturing their sectional championship.

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

http://www.iesa.org/activities/bbb/stateinfo/IESA-BBB1A_Press.pdf
http://www.iesa.org/activities/bbb/stateinfo/IESA-BBB1A_Brackets.pdf

Class 2A

Game one in Class 2A features the 14-1 Princes of Princeville pitted against the 13-4 Turks of Tremont. The 2014 Class 2A state finals will mark the fifth appearance in nine years for the Turks, as the team is led by head coach Jim Kuban. Meanwhile, Princeville returns to the 2014 state finals following their early exit a season ago. Led by team captains Justin Janssen, Matthew Butterfield and Adam Snedden, the Princes are hoping that last year's finals experience can fuel them in 2014.

On deck in game two showcases the undefeated Hawks of Morris Saratoga (20-0) set to do battle against the 15-1 Terriers of Staunton. Ready to make some noise is their first ever Class 2A state finals appearance, the Terriers are led by head coach Ryan McGowen and are fresh off a nail-biting 2-1 sectional championship win over Carrollton GS. Back for the first time since 2012, Morris Saratoga is led by team MVP and starting pitcher Jacob Overbeck. The standout eighth grader boasts an 8-0 record this season, while allowing a mere 1 earned run over 40 innings pitched.

The Teutopolis Wooden Shoes (16-5) are back to the Class 2A state finals after capturing state titles in two of the previous three tournaments (11,13). The 2014 state finals also marks the team's fifth appearance since 2009, as Teutopolis owns an all-time 2A record of 8-2. "I would say tradition and post season experience sets us apart from most schools," said head coach Kent Niebrugge. "Quite a few of these boys have been to the state finals multiple times watching older brothers, cousins, or family friends. I would like to think they have a comfort level that other teams do not have." That comfort level will be tested early against a Glasford Illini Bluffs squad poised to make tournament history of their own. Returning to the Class 2A state finals for the first time since capturing fourth in 2010, the Tigers (9-4) are led by head coach Steve Schafer.

The final Class 2A quarterfinal contest of the day will see the Bruins of Springfield Blessed Sacrament (10-3) compete against the 14-3 Eagles of Bismarck-Henning. Making their first ever Class 2A finals appearance are the Eagles, who are led by head coach Michael Packard. Bismarck-Henning will look to keep their momentum going following a 3-2 sectional championship victory over Champaign St. Matthew. Also making their 2A finals debut are the Bruins of Blessed Sacrament, who upended Sullivan 13-1 en route to earning a trip to state.

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

http://www.iesa.org/activities/bbb/stateinfo/IESA-BBB2A_Press.pdf
http://www.iesa.org/activities/bbb/stateinfo/IESA-BBB2A_Brackets.pdf

Class 3A

Kicking things off in Class 3A is a matchup between tournament veteran Homer Glen Homer (12-3) and the Titans of Chatham Glenwood (9-4). Returning to the Class 3A finals for the first time since capturing third back in 2012, the Titans are led by head coach John Hummel. Meanwhile, the Mustangs of Homer Glen are aiming for their first state championship since 2009. After last year's early finals exit, head coach Joel Button has his squad locked in following last Saturday's 12-0 sectional championship victory over Bolingbrook Brooks.

Quarterfinal game two in Class 3A pits the Cornjerkers of Hoopeston Area (15-1) against the Spartans of Frankfort Summit Hill (13-4). Making their astounding seventh straight Class 3A finals appearance, the Spartans return to the big dance after securing a fourth place finish  a year ago. Led by head coach Fred Pufahl, Summit Hill is hoping to capture their first state title since 2008. Standing in their way will be a Hoopeston Area squad that is aiming to make school history in their first ever 3A state finals appearance. The Cornjerkers are rolling to the finals following their 15-6 sectional championship victory of Champaign Edison.

Game three is a rematch of  the 2013 Class 3A state title, as last year's winner in Coal City (20-4) will once again due battle against the Junior Potters of Morton (13-6). A year ago, it was Coal City edging out Morton by the final score of 6-4 en route to the school's first ever 3A state championship. Hoping to duplicate those efforts is a Warrior squad that is riding high following last Saturday's sectional championship victory over Minooka. Meanwhile, the Junior Potters have a decorated state history of their own, with championships in 2007 and 2012. The 2014 state finals will mark the sixth consecutive appearance for Morton, who is led by standout pitcher Nick Guerra. The eighth grader will try to build upon his impressive season that has seen 39 innings pitch while only allowing two earned runs.

Last but not least is a matchup between the Pythons of Normal Parkside (18-4), as they are set to square off against the Rockets of Rochester (7-8). Making their first Class 3A state finals appearance since 2006, the Rockets are led by head coach Nick Ramsey and are aiming to achieve their first ever top four finish. Speaking of tournament hardware, the Pythons have seen a four year finals run result in a second (07) and third (08) place  finish. Hoping to capture that illustrious state title, Normal Parkside is led by head coach Shawn Beaty and is coming off a 1-0 sectional championship win over Normal Chiddix.

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

http://www.iesa.org/activities/bbb/stateinfo/IESA-BBB3A_Press.pdf
http://www.iesa.org/activities/bbb/stateinfo/IESA-BBB3A_Brackets.pdf

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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