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Streator St. Stephen, Undefeated Brimfield Lead 2005 Class A Softball Field

Defending champion Streator St. Stephen (19-1) and unbeaten Brimfield (17-0) lead a field of eight teams into the 2005 Illinois Elementary School association (IESA) Class A Girls State Final Softball Tournament Friday-Saturday at Champion Fields in Normal. They could meet in the second semifinal game Saturday.

Competition gets under way Friday at 10:30 a.m. in the first of four quarterfinal games. Semifinals are set to begin Saturday at 10:30 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 AA state final also is being played at Champion fields in Normal on different diamonds. The four quarterfinal games in the Class AA tournament are scheduled for Friday, beginning at 10:00 a.m.

The Class A quarterfinal schedule Friday shows: Metamora St. Mary.s (17-3) vs. Payson Seymour (10-4) in the opener at 10:30 a.m. In game 2 at 12:30 p.m., Divernon (15-2) faces Beecher (13-9). Streator St. Stephen meets Effingham St. Anthony (15-6) in the third game at 2:30 p.m., and Brimfield battles Springfield St. Agnes (19-3) in the nightcap at 4:30 p.m. The eight teams bring a combined won-loss record of 115-28 (winning percentage of .804) into the state final.

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 155 schools entered the softball series and 78 began Class A competition at the regional level. Class A enrollment range was 1-166 for seventh and eighth graders. Class AA began at 167.

Streator St. Stephen has taken home a trophy in each of the last three state tournaments, winning in 2004, placing third in 2003 and second in 2002. St. Stephen beat El Paso-Gridley, 14-4, for the title last year. Streator St. Stephen did not allow a run in rolling to its sectional championship. The Spartans beat rival Streator Woodland, 15-0 in the sectional semifinals, and stopped Henry-Senachwine 11-0 in five innings in the title game. St. Stephen.s only loss was to Stanford Olympia, 3-0, on Sept. 7. Olympia is two-time Class AA defending champion and is seeking its third straight title this weekend.

St. Stephen and Beecher, the 2003 Class A champion, are both playing in their fourth Class A tournament in the five-year history of the event.

Brimfield is seeking to become only the 14th team in IESA softball history to be undefeated state champion. The last to do it was Glasford Illini Bluffs (26-0) in 1999. Brimfield is making its first appearance in the State Tournament, as are Payson Seymour and Divernon. Metamora St. Mary.s, Effingham St. Anthony and Springfield St. Agnes each advanced to the state final for the second time.

The combined seventh-eighth grade enrollment of the 2005 Class A field is 711. Streator St. Stephen is smallest with 34. Metamora St. Mary.s is next at 37. Beecher is largest at 152. The others are: Payson Seymour 106, Divernon 48, Effingham St. Anthony 109, Springfield St. Agnes 107 and Brimfield 118.

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