GRANVILLE – They may have been a year ahead of schedule, but the future certainly looks bright for the Gardner-South Wilmington baseball program despite a 5-1 loss to Illinois Lutheran on Saturday in the title game of the Class 1A Putnam County Sectional.
Blake Marks threw five innings for the Panthers, who finished the season with a 16-14 record. Marks struck out five and allowed five runs – four earned – on four walks. Brendan Elens pitched one inning, striking out two. Offensively, Jeremy Kunz and freshman Braden Marks had two hits each.
Illinois Lutheran, which beat GSW for the third time this season, took a 1-0 lead in the top of the second, but GSW answered a run in the third. Lutheran scored a run in the fourth and put it away with three in the sixth.
“We were a young team and are bringing back seven starters next year,” GSW coach Todd Grieff said. “This season was so much fun watching these kids mature and learn how fundamental baseball and playing as a team can win you games. Not only the kids, but us coaches, know what it feels like to win a regional and play in a sectional championship. It was a whole lot of fun.
“I am so proud of what these kids were able to accomplish and just grateful that I could be a part of it all. I wish next year was already here.”
Somonauk 6, Gardner-South Wilmington 2: In the title game of the Class 1A Gardner-South Willmington Sectional, Somonauk put up five runs in the bottom of the sixth to get the win. Emily Foley suffered the loss, even though only one of Somonauk’s six runs was earned. Foley allowed 10 hits and no walks while striking out four.
Kylie King was 2 for 3 to lead the offense for GSW, which finished with a 20-7 record, including a triple and an RBI. Foley added an RBI double, while Sophie Barna, Lexi Posing, Sydney Perkins and Maranda Redidori all had a hit.
“This was a hard-fought game between two real good teams,” GSW coach Jon Posing said. “Both teams had scoring opportunities throughtout the game, but excellent pitching minimized any scoring. I am very proud of my girls for another fantastic sason. They are an extremely talented and mentally tough group of ladies.”