Four area baseball/softball teams heading to state for first time

Sports

WCIA — History is in the making for four WCIA 3 viewing area baseball and softball teams after super-sectional wins. Arthur-Lovington-Atwood-Hammond softball, Effingham St. Anthony softball, Unity softball and Mt. Pulaski baseball are all heading to the state tournament for the first time in program history.

The Knights beat Ottawa Marquette 1-0 in the Illinois Wesleyan super on Monday. Tulsa signee Makenzie Brown tossed a four-hit shoutout to earn the victory in the circle for ALAH.

“It’s crazy, not knowing that we were gonna have a season this year to going to state is just huge for this team,” Brown said.

“It’s all about them, I’m here to help them anyway I can,” ALAH head coach Jerry Lane said. “They buy into what I’m trying to teach them and coach them, which makes my job a whole lot easier.”

ALAH (21-3) will face St. Anthony (19-7) Wednesday morning at 10 a.m. in the Class 1A state semifinals at the Louisville Slugger Sports Complex in Peoria. Both 1A semifinal games will be played at the same time, with the third place game to follow at 1:30 p.m. The championship game is set for 2 p.m.

Meanwhile in Class 2A, Unity had to make a comeback to advance out of its Millikin super on Monday. Down 4-1 in the 5th inning, the Rockets bats took off scoring 13 straight runs to short game Normal U-High 14-4 in six innings.

“I think at this point we know we can conquer anything, it’s just a matter of when our bats get hot,” Unity head coach Aimee Davis said. “It’s gonna come down to maybe someone new, just keep playing really good softball right now.”

“We just keep telling ourselves that we can do it,” Unity senior outfielder Taylor Joop said about playing for a state championship. “If we keep doing it, we keep working, just resetting ourselves and saying this next competition we have to take it all the same every game.”

On the baseball side, Mt. Pulaski also got plenty of offense in its super-sectional 11-1 win over Kewanee Wethersfield. The Hilltoppers are playing Thursday at 1 p.m. in the Class 1A state semifinals at Illinois State University against South Central. In Class 2A, Sacred Heart-Griffin is playing in the Final Four for the first time since 2014. The Cyclones will face Timothy Christian out of Elmhurst Friday at 10 a.m. at Illinois State University. Springfield is back at state for the second time since 2016 when the Senators finished second. They will play St. Laurence in Schaumburg Thursday at 1 p.m.

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