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2009 IESA Girls Softball State Finals This Weekend

Competition in the ninth 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.

Two of the eight teams in the Class A field last year -- McNabb Putnam County and Mulberry Grove JHS -- return, and are joined by unbeaten Bourbonnais Maternity BVM and once-beaten Maroa-Forsyth.

Five of the eight teams in the Class AA field return from last year, led by unbeaten and defending champion Mattoon, and six of the eight have at least 20 wins.

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 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 184 schools entered the softball series and began competition at the regional level. A total of 92 schools were assigned to Class A and 92 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 1-164 and AA began at 165.

Class A

Bourbonnais Maternity BVM (15-0) and Maroa-Forsyth (17-1) are in opposite brackets. So are McNabb Putnam County (14-4) and Mulberry Grove JHS (16-3). Mulberry Grove JHS finished fourth a year ago and McNabb Putnam County was a quarterfinalist. It is possible they all could be in the semifinals.

Winchester (12-3) meets McNabb Putnam County in the first quarterfinal game Friday at 10:30 a.m. Then Sparland Midland (14-5) faces Bourbonnais Maternity BVM at 12:30 p.m. In the third quarterfinal game, Tremont (17-8) plays Maroa-Forsyth at 2:30 p.m. Effingham St. Anthony (19-8) squares off against Mulberry Grove JHS in the last quarterfinal game at 4:30 p.m.

The eight teams in the Class A state tournament have a combined record of 124-32, a winning percentage of .795.

Winchester will ride the arm of eighth grade pitcher Gena Nash. She is the only pitcher listed on the Wolverines' roster. In three state series games, Winchester has outscored its opponents 32-2.

McNabb Putnam County beat Streator Woodland 3-2 in the regional final and then blanked South Wilmington 5-0 in the sectional. Coach Chris Walker lists a trio of pitchers with Nikki Mertel and Shelby Yepsen in the eighth grade and Destinee Gonzalez in the seventh grade.

Bourbonnais Maternity BVM has been an IESA member school for only three years and is making its first state final appearance. The Wildcats have outscored three state series opponents by a 29-0 margin, including a 1-0 win over Lockport Kelvin Grove in the regional final. Ace of the pitching staff is eighth grader Holly Kropp. Megan O'Connor, a seventh grader, is the other pitcher when she is not playing first base. Providing much of the offense are catcher Jenna Stauffenberg, leadoff batter and second baseman Alyssa Pusateri, a seventh grader, and Megan O'Connor.

Tremont was seeded third in the regional and won three games in it before beating LeRoy 9-2 in the sectional. The Turks ride the arms of eighth grade pitcher Taylor Payne and seventh grade pitcher Jaycee Craver.

Maroa-Forsyth's only loss was 1-0 to defending Class AA champion and unbeaten Mattoon. The Trojans are led on offense by shortstop Brenna Finck, third baseman Tarynn Tirpak and catcher Alex Berry. Ace of the two-player pitching staff is Gabbi Clifton who is averaging double digit strikeouts per game. The other pitcher is Morgan Scott. Both are eighth graders. In three state series games, Maroa-Forsyth has outscored its opponents 37-0.

Effingham St. Anthony was also a third seed in the regional. The Bullpups scrambled to get to the state tournament, beating Stewardson-Strasburg and Altamont by a 5-3 score in the final two games of the regional before stopping Toledo Cumberland 3-1 in the sectional. Of the 14 players on the roster, seven are eighth graders.

Mulberry Grove JHS has outscored three state series opponents 36-7, and beat Jerseyville St. Francis HG 7-5 in the sectional. Four players on this year's team combined to produce 7 runs, 10 hits and 8 RBI in last year's state tournament. Pitcher Breann Tompkins scored 2 runs, had 3 hits and 4 RBI. Pitcher Kate Joliff scored 3 runs, had 3 hits and 1 RBI, Shortstop April Stich scored 1 run, had 3 hits and 2 RBI and outfielder Josie Koontz scored 1 run, had 1 hit and 1 RBI.

Of the 126 players listed on the rosters of the eight finalists, 11 are in sixth grade, 51 in seventh grade and 64 in eighth grade.

In IESA competition, school enrollments are determined by the students in seventh and eighth grade. Class A is the smallest class. Enrollments of the eight finalists are: Bourbonnais Maternity BVM 65, Mulberry Grove JHS 67, Effingham St. Anthony 78, Sparland Midland 112, Winchester 136, McNabb Putnam County 145, Maroa-Forsyth 147 and Tremont 164.

Class AA

Defending champion Mattoon, which returned 10 players from last year's 20-0 team, brings a 42-game winning streak into the state final that features a field with a combined record of 153-36, a winning percentage of .809.

Manteno (22-2) plays Glen Ellyn Hadley (13-3), last year's fourth place team, in the first quarterfinal game at 10:00 a.m. Edwardsville Liberty (20-1) meets Normal Chiddix (20-7) in the second quarterfinal game at noon. Williamsville (22-6) squares off against Metamora GS (14-9) in the 2:00 p.m. game. Wenona Fieldcrest (20-8) battles Mattoon (22-0) at 4:00 p.m.

The pitching and defense for Manteno has not allowed a run in three state series games. The Panthers list Brooke Stulga, Michaela Wascher and seventh grader Jacklyn Beck as the mound corps.

Glen Ellyn Hadley returns pitcher Katie Ball from last year's team. She pitched 11.1 innings in the three games in the 2008 state final giving up 16 hits, 11 runs, striking out 13 and walking 2. The Wildcats also used Taylor Langtry and Samantha Valentine on the mound last year, Langtry in the semifinal game and Valentine in the third place game. Returning offense includes shortstop Stacy Borneman who scored 2 runs and had 2 hits, outfielder Morgan Adair who had 1 hit and Katie Ball who had 1 run, 1 hit and 1 RBI in the tournament. This year Glen Ellyn Hadley has not allowed a run in three state series games, outscoring opponents 28-0.

Edwardsville Liberty is making its first appearance in the state finals. The only loss was 5-1 to Chatham Glenwood, the school Coach Corrie Laux was at before coming to Edwardsville Liberty six years ago. This is the fourth straight year a team from Edwardsville is in the state final. In the three previous years Edwardsville Lincoln took first in 2006, fourth in 2007 and third in 2008. Liberty beat Lincoln four times this year. Seeded second in the regional behind Chatham Glenwood, Liberty beat Lincoln 2-0 in the regional semifinals, Alton 5-0 in the finals and Camp Point Central 15-0 in the sectional. Eighth grader Rachel Goff is the ace of the pitching staff. Eighth grade leftfielder Carly Weimer, seventh grade shortstop Melanie Russo and seventh grade third baseman Amayha Dycus lead the offense.

Normal Chiddix has eighth grader Lauri Riddell and seventh grader Molly Ewen on the mound. The Chargers outscored three state series opponents by a combined 12-3 to get to the state finals. Seeded No. 1 in the regional, Normal Chiddix nipped Downs Tri-Valley 2-1 in the regional semifinal, Bloomington JHS 5-2 in the final and Forrest Prairie Central 5-0 in the sectional.

Perennial state qualifier Williamsville has eighth grade pitcher Brandi Donnelly and seventh grade pitcher Alex Devaney. Second baseman Jordan French had 1 hit in the Bee Bees' 2-1 loss to last year's runner-up Beecher in the quarterfinals. Williamsville is in the Class AA state final for the fifth time since 2003.

Metamora GS is making its third straight appearance in the state final, winning in 2007 with a 29-0 record and finishing 18-1 last year after losing 2-1 to Glen Ellyn Hadley in the quarterfinals. The Redbirds ride the arm of eighth grader Delaney Tjaden. She and catcher Kara Hartnett are the returning offense from last year's quarterfinal game where they each had 1 hit. Metamora GS beat perennial power Stanford Olympia 7-3 in the sectional.

Wenona Fieldcrest faced unbeaten Mattoon in last year's quarterfinals and lost 7-0. In that game pitcher Taylor Tjaden had one of two hits for the Lady Knights and pitched all 7 innings. Seeded second in the regional this year, Wenona Fieldcrest blanked Morris Shabbona 10-0 and then Braidwood Reed-Custer 10-0 in the title game before bouncing Channahon 8-2 in the sectional.

Mattoon returned catcher Maddie Thomason, first baseman Kaitlyn Bath, outfielder Ashley Purvis, outfielder Courtney Gard, pitcher Hannah Pruden, outfielder Shelby Cox, third baseman Riley Phipps, pitcher Maddie Smith, outfielder Leah Buck and outfielder Jaden Patterson from last year's 20-0 team. Coach Jennifer Nolte said one of the team's goals for this year was to return to the state final.

The ace of the Mattoon pitching staff is seventh grader Katelyn Fisher. In last year's state final catcher Maddie Thomason had 3 hits and 2 RBI in the 2-0 title game win over Beecher, along with 1 hit and 1 RBI in the semifinal game. Others supplying a lot of offense this year are Kaitlyn Bath, Katelyn Fisher and Riley Phipps, who had 3 hits and 2 RBI in the 4-1 sectional win over Newton Jasper County. Mattoon outscored its two regional opponents 27-1.

Of the 137 players listed on the rosters of the eight finalists, 12 are in sixth grade, 50 in seventh grade and 75 in eighth grade.

In IESA competition, school enrollments are determined by the students in seventh and eighth grade. Class AA is the largest class. Enrollments of the eight finalists are: Wenona Fieldcrest 171, Metamora GS 182, Williamsville 218, Manteno 336, Mattoon 512, Normal Chiddix 597, Edwardsville Liberty 626 and Glen Ellyn Hadley 775.

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