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Coal City wins elementary baseball state championship

Danny Phillips delivers a pitch for Coal City during the IESA 3A baseball tournament this weekend at the Eastside Centre in East Peoria. Coal City went 3-0 to win the state championship.
Danny Phillips delivers a pitch for Coal City during the IESA 3A baseball tournament this weekend at the Eastside Centre in East Peoria. Coal City went 3-0 to win the state championship.

Coal City defeated Homer 2-0 Friday; Summit Hill 6-4; and Morton 6-4 Saturday at the Eastside Centre in East Peoria to win the Illinois Elementary School Association 3A baseball state championship.

“Truly unbelievable,” Coal City coach Jerry McDowell said. “Everything we have worked on all season we had to execute in this game. We played errorless ball for 20 and two-thirds innings also. This was a total team effort. Everyone played their role.”

Coal City trailed Morton 3-1 early in the championship game but rallied.

In the fifth inning, a 3-3 tie was broken when Kaleb Spreitzer singled, stole his way to third base and scored on a Blake Harseim squeeze bunt.

Harseim scored himself when Carter Copes singled and intentionally got into a rundown.

In the seventh inning, the Warriors used a hidden ball trick to record the second out and limit the damage when Morton’s next hitter hit an RBI single.

Danny Phillips then struck out the final batter on a curveball to end the game.

Phillips entered in the fourth inning and pitched the rest of the way, allowing 1 earned run and striking out 4.

Harseim pitched 2 innings in relief with 4 strikeouts. Copes had 3 hits and 2 RBI Spreitzer and Harseim had 2 hits and 2 runs each, Justin Dabulskis had an RBI single in the seventh inning and Keegan Gagliardo made three run-saving catches in the outfield.

“We were by far the smallest school in the tourney and then to take down the defending state champion,” McDowell said.

“The ‘Warrior’ play was phenomenal. Every player, including the bench, had a role and played it out perfectly. It also helped that crowd was loud, they had a pinch runner and it was harder to find the ball at dusk. ... They made a lot of memories for a lot of people and they have a lot to be proud of.“

Coal City trailed Summit Hill 2-0 after a half-inning but scored 4 times in the bottom of the first.

Sean Micetich pitched 7 innings in relief, striking out 4 and allowing 2 runs.

Nick Jones had 3 hits, including a first-inning home run, and 3 total RBI with Copes and Phillips hitting safely twice, Brendan Nevin hitting a key late-game single and Austin Friddle recording 5 putouts in left field.

Harseim took a perfect game into the sixth against Homer and lost it on an infield single. He ended up with a 1-hitter, with no walks and 5-strikeouts.

Spreitzer had 2 hits and a run, Copes drove home Friddle for the other Warrior run and Gagliardo added a hit.

Coal City’s last state championship was in 1997 and also had a win over Morton in the championship.

McDowell has now led the Warriors to 3 titles and has 991 career victories. The Warriors finished 24-3 overall.


Plainfield South 41,

Minooka 37

Jacob Czerniakowski completed 23-of-32 passes for 418 yards and two touchdowns with an interception Friday for the Indians (2-4, 1-2), who were outscored 14-3 in the fourth quarter of the Southwest Prairie Conference loss.

Anthony Corrado caught 12 passes for 140 yards and a touchdown, Peter Andreano had five receptions for 156 yards and a score and Anthony Mack added 3 catches for 87 yards.

Czerniakowski also rushed 12 times for 53 yards and a pair of touchdowns.

Nathan Gunn ran 25 times for 72 yards and scored the other Minooka touchdown. Jacob Stytz was 2-for-4 on extra points and made a 26-yard field goal. The Indians also got a safety from Ellis Fairley.

Jeffrey Klank made 12 total tackles to lead Minooka defensively.

Westmont 42,

Dwight 13

Brandon Allen scored both touchdowns on runs of 22 and 38 yards Friday for Dwight (0-6, 0-4) in the Interstate Eight Small.

Allen rushed 13 times for 101 yards for Dwight, which had Tony Bernardy rush 14 times for 61 yards and Jack Davidson rush 11 times for 51.

Chris Peck completed 9-of-18 passes for 77 yards with an interception, and Jack Davidson caught 4 passes for 50 yards.


Frankfort White 15,

Morris 8

With the varsity loss over the weekend, the Morris Warriors will take a 5-3 record into the playoffs.

Morris also lost 20-0 at the junior varsity level, dropping to 5-3, and 13-7 at the lightweight level, falling to 4-4.

The superlights did not play, as Frankfort does not have a team at that level.


La Salle County Invitational

Seneca won the girls race Saturday with 34 points.

Its score reflected Caroline Collet in fourth place (19:31), Sarah Cameron in fifth (19:41), Sarah Virgo in seventh (20:44), Shailee Bauer in eighth (20:50.1) and Lexi Bogren in 10th (20:57).

Seneca’s Ross McCormick was second (16:19) in the boys race, helping the Fighting Irish place fourth.

They had Brian Kluckhohn finish 29th (19:20), James Miller take 34th (19:31), Anthony Hasse wind up 32nd (19:41.7) and Kole Gallick end 40th (19:52.6).

St. Charles North Invitational

Minooka’s girls were third Saturday, with Ashley Tutt earning a fourth-place finish individually (18:19). Also for Minooka, Mackenzie Callahan was 15th (18:55), Morgan Crouch was 16th (18:56), Kaitlyn Chetney was 26th (19:19) and Moira McAsey was 32nd (19:35).

“The girls took another step forward today,” Minooka coach Kevin Gummerson said. “They put themselves in the mix, and [are] very close to breaking through as a team.”

Gabe Ceballos was 41st (16:10) to lead the Minooka boys in a 15th-place team showing.

Henry Bugajski was 64th (16:32), Ben Ubert was 87th (16:57), Kyle Swanson was 107th (17:19) and Miguel Lomeli was 114th (17:24) for Minooka.


La Salle-Peru Invitational

Morris finished fourth with 343 strokes this weekend.

Trevor Lines led the Redskins with a 78, which was good for fourth place individually, and Justin Larsen was sixth with an 80.

Morris also counted an 89 from Nick McPherson and a 96 from Nick Bonomo.

Grant Park Invitational

With a 359, Dwight finished second to only Beecher (343) Friday. Nathan Zamel tied for fourth place with an 87 to lead Dwight, and Andy Froelich and Bryce Mortensen added 89s.


La Salle-Peru 212,

Seneca 250 (girls)

Scoring for the Lady Irish were Natalie Hamilton (55), Sam DeGraaf (59), Heather Vroman (67) and Jacquelyn Newberry (69).


Ottawa 5,

Newark 3

James Bowen scored two goals, giving him 21 on the season, for Newark (6-10) Friday.

Noah Nicols had the other goal, Tom Bartkus had two assists and Kevin Klock made 22 saves.


La Salle-Peru def. Morris,

25-17, 25-17

Abby Baker had four kills and JoAnna Nowicki and Kaylin Korte three each for Morris Thursday. Korte had six digs.


Morris 4,

Princeton 1

Winners for Morris included Emma Dingbaum (6-1, 6-2); Leah Lines and Monica Davy (6-1, 6-0); Savannah Carter and Carly Williamson (3-6. 6-4, 10-8) and Mary Bush and Alyssa Larsen (6-4, 6-0).


Parkside 38,

Shabbona 19

Mya Shannon led Morris with 11 points while Ashley Evola added 4 and Paige Whalen and Calleen Soper two each.

In the seventh grade game, Peru won 14-12 despite 6 points from Jocelyn Wren, 4 points from Hannah Hagrelius and two from Emily Miracle.

Minooka 28,

Shabbona 21

Shannon had 14 points, Whalen four and Evola two in the loss.

In the seventh grade game, Minooka won 40-13 despite four points from Tailor Vuckovich.

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