HENNEPIN – Because of Wednesday’s heavy rain, the baseball game in the Class 1A Putnam County Sectional between Putnam County and Illinois Lutheran was moved to Thursday. That game was played at 4:30 p.m., causing that day’s scheduled game between Gardner-South Wilmington and Luther North to be moved back to 7 p.m. Because of the late start, that game was played in Hennepin, where there were lights.
It proved to be worth the wait for the GSW, as the Panthers won, 4-1, to advance to today’s 11 a.m. title game against Illinois Lutheran. It is the furthest advancement in the state series for the Panthers since the 1993 team reached the Elite Eight in Class A.
Brendan Elans was in control on the mound for the Panthers, striking out eight and allowing five hits in six innings.
Meanwhile, Jordan Wilkey started a first-inning rally with a double, which was followed by RBI singles from Jeremy Kunz and Kyle Robison as the Panthers finished the inning with three runs. They added another in the fourth inning, as did Luther North.
Blake Marks came on in the seventh to close, and things got interesting as Luther North’s leadoff hitter got on with a hit, the next batter walked and the next reached on an error to load the bases with no outs. Marks then struck out the next three batters to end the game.
BOYS TRACK AND FIELD
Class 1A State Finals: At the end of the preliminaries, Seneca’s Tommy Lovett had the best time in the 110-meter high hurdles with 14.97. Also, Dwight’s 4x400 relay team of Blaine Livingston, Mitch Fransen, Conor Livingston and Michael Bennett qualified for Saturday’s finals with a time of 3:21.22 and the 4x800 relay of Fransen, Nathan Ruffatti,Blaine Livingston and Bennett qualified with a time of 8:11.93.
Class 3A State Finals: Minooka’s Chris Wilson had the second-fastest qualifying time in the 400-meter dash preliminaries with 48.14. Ryan Pullara cleared 13-9 to qualify for Saturday’s pole vault finals and Shabari Bailey qualified in the 110-meter hurdles with a time of 14.42. The Indians’ 4x100 relay of Devin Ingram, Mitch Miller, Chris Hopkins and Wilson qualified with a time of 41.90, the 4x200 meter team of Ingram, Miller, Victor Turpin and Matt Dlugopolski qualified with a time of 1:27.45 and the 4x400 team of Ingram, Kyle Shelton, Jake Smith and Wilson qualified in 3:18.18.
Coal City’s Verdun signs with Bandits: Just one day after learning she was named an NFCA All-American for the second time in her DePaul career, Coal City native Kirsten Verdun signed a contract to play softball with the Chicago Bandits. During her senior season this spring with DePaul, Verdun tied a school record with 33 wins, which was good for third in the nation. She finished 33-7 with a 1.76 ERA and 299 strikeouts in 251 innings, leading the Blue Demons to the Big East regular season and tournament titles, as well as the school’;s eighth appearance in the NCAA Tournament Regional Final. She was also named Big East Pitcher of the Year and Most Outstanding Player at the Big East Tournament.