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Wide Open Race for 2005 Class AA Baseball Crown

There is no heavy favorite to win the 2005 Illinois Elementary School Association (IESA) Class AA Boys State Baseball Tournament title this weekend when eight tournament savvy teams converge on the EastSide Centre in East Peoria Friday and Saturday.

Seven of the eight teams making it to the State Final have been there before. Three of those seven - Minooka, East Peoria Central and Mt. Zion - have claimed the Class AA title before. Minooka claimed three straight titles from 2000-2002. East Peoria Central also has won three titles in 1991-92-95. Mt. Zion was the winner in 1994.

This is the 16th annual Class AA State Final. Mt. Zion is appearing for the ninth time and Minooka for the seventh. East Peoria Central is in the State Final for the fifth time, Stanford Olympia fourth, Danville North Ridge and Kankakee JHS third, Greenville second and Effingham JHS is making its rookie appearance.

Competition gets under way Friday at 10:00 a.m. in the first of four quarterfinal games. Semifinals are set to begin Saturday at 10:00 a.m. The third place game is set for 2:30 p.m. Saturday and the title game is scheduled to begin at 4:30 p.m. Saturday. The Class A State Final also is being played at EastSide Centre in East on different diamonds. The four quarterfinal games in the Class A tournament are scheduled for Friday, beginning at 10:00 a.m.

The Class AA quarterfinal Games Friday are: Minooka (20-2) vs. East Peoria Central (20-5) at 10:00 a.m. In game 2 at 12:15 Danville North Ridge (12-3) meets Greenville (16-4). Kankakee JHS (12-6) meets Stanford Olympia (17-3) at 2:30 p.m. In the nightcap at 4:45 p.m. Mt. Zion (14-11) faces Effingham JHS (19-5). The eight teams have a combined won-loss record of 130-39, a winning percentage of .769.

IESA boys baseball began in 1955 and was a one-class state series until 1990 when it 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 245 schools entered the baseball series and 122 began Class AA competition at the regional level. Class A enrollment range was 1-130 for seventh and eighth graders. Class AA began at 131.

The combined enrollment of the eight Class A finalists is 3,641. Kankakee JHS is the largest at 812. Greenville is the smallest at 222. The other enrollments are: Minooka 476, East Peoria Central 416, Danville North Ridge 503, Stanford Olympia 339, Mt. Zion 431, and Effingham JHS 442. All enrollments reflect a school's 7-8 grade enrollment.

State Final scores will be posted on the IESA website at the conclusion of each contest (http://www.iesa.org).

Friday, September 30 (Quarterfinals)
Game 1-- 10:00 a.m. Minooka (20-2) vs. East Peoria Central (20-5)
Game 2-- 12:15 p.m. Danville North Ridge (12-3) vs. Greenville (16-4)
Game 3-- 2:30 p.m. Kankakee JHS (12-6) vs. Stanford Olympia (17-3)
Game 4-- 4:45 p.m. Mt. Zion (14-11) vs. Effingham JHS (19-5)

Saturday, October 1 (Semifinals & Finals)
Game 5-- 10:00 a.m. Winners of Games 1 and 2
Game 6-- 12:15 p.m. Winners of Games 3 and 4
Game 7-- 2:30 p.m. Losers of Games 5 and 6 (Third Place)
Game 8-- 4:45 p.m. Winners of Games 5 and 6 (State Championship)
Coin flip determines home team for all games.

Class AA Sectional Scores

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