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The Roundup, May 15, 2024: Mid-Illini races tighten, boys track sectionals see dozens qualify for state

Nora Johnson
Metamora's Nora Johnson throws a pitch against Washington. Jonathan Michel/Clutch Sports Media

A big Wednesday in Central Illinois high school sports had a heavy dose of postseason action, led by five sectional boys track and field meets involving area teams and Class 1A and Class 2A playoff games in baseball and softball.

The Mid-Illini races in the diamond sports are still wide open, but a win from Morton baseball and a walk-off win by Metamora softball helped their respective teams immensely. Canton baseball also pulled an upset in the regional semifinals and six area baseball/softball teams were eliminated from the playoffs. 

Check out all of the scores, recaps and top performers from Wednesday in The Roundup!

In boys track in field

At Farmington: Three area teams finished in the top four of the Class 1A Farmington Sectional, led by Elmwood in second. Illini Bluffs beat out Farmington for third place while Princeville finished in a tie for ninth. 

At Pontiac: Three area teams competed at the Class 2A Pontiac Sectional, with Eureka’s second-place finish leading the way. Normal U-High was right behind them in third and Olympia finished sixth. All three teams had multiple state qualifiers. 

At Danville: Normal West finished third as a team at the 16-team, Class 3A Danville Sectional, ahead of Normal Community in fifth and Bloomington in 13th. The Wildcats set multiple school records and had state qualifiers in seven events. 

At Moline: Pekin’s ninth-place finish was the highest out of five Central Illinois teams competing at the Class 3A Moline Sectional. Richwoods, Washington and Peoria High finished further on down the order, but all sent at least one athlete to state. Dunlap finished 15th and did not have an athlete qualify for state. 

At Maroa-Forsyth: Bloomington Central Catholic came oh-so-close to a team victory at the Class 1A Maroa-Forsyth Sectional, taking second place with 116 points, which was three behind Ridgeview. The Saints had state qualifiers in 13 different events, including all four relays. 

The full list of state qualifiers for each team can be found here

In baseball

Canton 3, Brimfield/Elmwood 0: Canton, a No. 7-seed in the Class 2A Peoria Notre Dame Regional, upset top-seeded Brimfield/Elmwood and sent the Indians home on a dominating performance from freshman star Kash VanHouten, who had eight strikeouts, one walk and allowed three hits in the big regional semifinal win. The Little Giants faced a good tandem of Brady Johnson (5 IP, 3 K’s, 1 BB, 2 H, 3 R) and Drew Kieser (2 IP, 3 K’s, 1 BB) but pushed across their first run on an RBI single from Korbin Woerly in the second and scored runs via a walk and passed ball in fifth inning. Brimfield/Elmwood’s season comes to end prematurely at 22-3 while Canton moves on to face either PND or Farmington for a regional title on Saturday. 

Normal U-High 7, Tremont 0: Normal U-High (27-9, 8-2 Central State Eight) ended the season of Tremont (11-11-1, 6-5 Heart of Illinois) in the Class 2A Bloomington Central Catholic Regional semifinals behind a strong outing from Eastern Illinois commit Devan Tupper (6 IP, 9 K’s, 2 BB, 4 H, 0 R). Max Wille had the hot hand for the Pioneers at the plate, going 3-for-3 with an RBI and Griffin Meyer had a big game too, going 2-for-2 with three RBIs. All five of Tremont’s hits were singles and Andrew Dawson took the loss after giving up nine hits. The Turks close out their season at 11-11-1 while the Pioneers face Maroa-Forsyth in Saturday’s regional title tilt. 

IVC 4, Orion 3: IVC (19-12, 5-3 Illini Prairie) survived an upset bid from Orion in the Class 2A Spring Valley Hall Regional semifinals, largely due to a three-run fourth inning and a fielder’s choice RBI by Griffin Irvin in the fifth that proved to be the difference-maker. Sam Griggs hit an RBI double and scored for the Grey Ghosts while Ryan Adler and CK Witte both drove runs home as well. Mason Marchand (4 IP, 5 K’s, 3 BB, 3 H 1 R) had a strong start and Mason Gregory came on and delivered a pressure-packed save. IVC will face the winner of Spring Valley Hall and Kewanee for a regional title on Saturday. 

Illini Bluffs 4, Bushnell-Prairie City 1: Another strong pitching performance from Illini Bluffs (14-6, 5-1 Inter-County) got the Tigers a date with either Monmouth United or Sciota West Prairie for a Class 1A regional title on Saturday. Brennan Fargher went six innings with 11 K’s and two walks for the Tigers, who jumped ahead 4-0 after one inning. Josh Vaughn and Chris Drake both had two hits and an RBI while Toby Cooper and Brendan Bacon both drove in runs in the win as well. 

Morton 6, Washington 2: Needing a win to stay in contention for a Mid-Illini title, Morton (22-7, 9-4 Mid-Illini) got what it needed and ended an eight-game win streak for Washington (20-7, 9-4). Tanner Spangler limited the Panthers with nine K’s in 5.1 innings. At the plate for the Potters, Tyler Pippin hit a two-run home run, Isaac Oswald drove in two runs off the bench, and Nolan Reiman had two hits and an RBI. Braden Vanderheydt and Masyn Burke combined to fan 15 Morton batters and Washington broke through for its runs late on a two-run shot from Carter Prina.

East Peoria 12, Pekin 5: East Peoria (23-6, 10-3 Mid-Illini) led 11-1 through three innings and hung on to win handily over Pekin (5-20, 2-11) on Senior Night. RJ Duncheon had another big game for the Raiders, going 3-for-4 with two doubles and four RBIs. Owen Hidden and Jackson Ahrens both plated a pair in the win while Duncheon was money on the bump with seven strikeouts and three hits allowed in six innings. Pekin got two RBIs apiece from Carter Bowling and Logan Booth

Dunlap 11, Metamora 1: Dunlap (23-6, 10-3 Mid-Illini) faced a 1-0 deficit with two outs in the fifth but scored all 11 of their runs before Metamora (9-16, 5-8) could get another out, ending the game in a mercy rule. The Eagles hit five two-baggers, led by two from Jackson Newton (2 RBIs), and one each from Jack Piper (1 RBI), Jaxon Tresenriter (2 RBIs) and Owen Shissler (3 RBIs). Gabe Munoz tacked on a pair of RBIs on one hit and Dunlap drew nine walks in total. Jack Piper went all five innings with two strikeouts, no walks and six hits surrendered in the win. Gavin O’Laughlin got the Redbirds on the board with an RBI single in the first. 

Normal Community 11, Danville 0: Normal Community (30-3, 18-0 Big 12) reached rare air by finishing off an undefeated season in conference play and getting to the 30-win mark. The Ironmen scored in all four innings that they batted in and got home runs from Kyle Beaty (2 RBIs) and Riley Hendren (3 RBIs). Lucas Klunke (3 IP, 5 K’s, 0 BB, 0 H) and Jack Richards (2 IP, 3 K’s, 0 BB, 2 H) were both stellar on the mound for Normal Community. 

Galesburg 9, Richwoods 2: Richwoods (14-16, 9-9 Big 12) dropped its penultimate regular season game and its third straight, despite leading 2-0 after two and a half innings. Zach Gilbert (2-3, RBI) and Ethan Reynolds (2-3, 2 doubles) led the Knights’ bats while Jarek Quinn took the loss in four innings with five strikeouts and four free passes. 

Lincoln 4, Limestone 1: Limestone’s record returned to even .500 at 16-16 with a non-conference loss to Lincoln at home. The Rockets were held to just one hit, a single from Evan Daxenbichler. Gavin Klecker brought in the team’s only run and Caleb Bieneman had eight strikeouts in a 4.2-inning start. 


In softball

Metamora 1, East Peoria 0 (9 innings): Metamora (25-5, 12-1 Mid-Illini) took control of the Mid-Illini with a thrilling walk-off win over East Peoria (20-7, 11-1) after Nora Johnson hit an RBI single in the bottom of the ninth to drive in the game’s only run in Addi Pacha. In a game where both teams had scoring chances snuffed out, Johnson pitched a complete game and had eight strikeouts with no walks and allowed five hits. Meadow Terry found her way out of multiple jams for East Peoria, striking out nine and giving up seven hits. She led the Raiders with a pair of hits while Ellie Schaffer’s three hits paced the Redbirds.

Tremont 8, Macomb 6: Tremont (21-5-1, 10-0 HOIC) survived an early scare from Macomb in the Class 2A Tremont Regional semifinals but an RBI double by Olivia Avalos tied the game in the sixth before the Turks scored two more on a wild pitch and dropped third strike to take the late lead. Maddie Feagin helped out the effort by going 2-for-3 with two RBIs and Avalos, Maia Lorengo and Lily Elston each had two hits. After a rough second innings where the Bombers scored all their runs, Lorengo rebounded in the circle with 13 strikeouts and only allowed one hit. The Turks will face Illini West at home for a regional title on Saturday.

Illini Bluffs 18, Hartsburg-Emden 0: The Tigers (20-1, 6-0 Inter-County) only needed four innings to blow out Hartsburg-Emden in Class 1A regional semifinal action and Cora Ellison pitched a perfect game with eight strikeouts. Sara Finn had another outburst at the plate, hitting two home runs, a double and driving in five runs. Chloe Eeten drove in a pair of runs for Illini Bluffs as one of nine different players to record an RBI. Illini Bluffs will take on the winner of Rushville-Industry and Delavan at the Hartsburg-Emden Regional title game on Friday. 

Normal U-High 2, Tri-Valley 0: In a heavyweight Class 2A regional semifinal battle, Normal U-High (27-7, 8-2 Central State Eight) was bolstered by a gem from Maggie Stadler, who fanned 14 Vikings and allowed only three baserunners. At the plate, Meera Sundaram, Ryan Coombs and Jordyn Roop all pieced together a pair of hits with Coombs and Kendyl Shively driving in runs for the Pioneers, who will face Macon Meridian for the Bloomington Central Catholic Regional title on Friday.

Olympia 10, Petersburg PORTA 0: Olympia (27-1-1, 9-0 Sangamo) moved easily past conference foe PORTA into the Class 2A Olympia Regional title game behind a 13-strikeout no-hitter from ace Danika Frazier. The Illinois-bound star also hit two over the fence and drove in four while Shelby Finchum went 4-for-4 with two RBIs. Jordyn Turner and Kat Springer both had 3-hit days, with Turner driving in a pair. The Spartans will face either Williamsville or Dee-Mack for a regional title on Friday.

Brimfield/Elmwood 10, Mercer County 0: Sawyer Drury was one walk away from a perfect game and Brimfield/Elmwood (20-4, 5-1 ICAC) dispatched Mercer County with ease in the Class 2A Rockridge Regional semis. Drury fanned nine in the five-inning game. Kylee Vaughn led the Indians with three hits and a quartet of teammates – Drury, Kierra Johnson, Kendyl Binder and Brooke Sumner – all had a pair of hits and at least one RBI. Brimfield/Elmwood will face a much tougher task in regional host and perennial power Rockridge on Friday. 

Putnam County 4, Peoria Christian 2: Peoria Christian couldn’t conjure up any postseason magic and fell in the Class 1A regional semifinals to Putnam County, who the Chargers out-hit 10-3. Peoria Christian scored a run on an RBI single from Lilly Wuethrich in the seventh but left two runners stranded with one out. Wuethrich added a double earlier in the game and eight different players in the lineup got a hit. Kylie Black’s effort of 15 strikeouts and two walks in the circle was impressive, but not enough to win. Peoria Christian’s season ends at 11-10 overall. 

Macon Meridian 1, Bloomington Central Catholic 0: After being 3-11 halfway through the regular season and winning 15 of their last 19, a strong season from Bloomington Central Catholic was cut short by Macon Meridian in the Class 2A regional semifinals. Both teams mustered three hits and Summer Clark pitched well for the Saints with two strikeouts and a walk in six innings. Gabi Hurie, Lindsey Warmbir and Taylor Cook had BCC’s hits. 

Midwest Central/Illini Central 2, El Paso-Gridley 1 (8 innings): El Paso-Gridley nearly pulled a regional semifinal upset but suffered a walk-off loss in extra innings to have its season end at 3-18. Gracie Sieger came on in the circle in the second inning for the Titans and struck out three while allowing eight hits. Lexi Schouweiler kept EPG’s magic alive with a game-tying single in the top of the seventh and teammates Alexis Elliott and Isabel Vargas both had two hits in the loss. 

Ridgewood 2, Princeville 1: No. 7-seeded Princeville gave Lincoln Trail conference foe and regional top seed Ridgewood a run for their money, but fell short of an upset in the Class 1A regional semifinals. Princeville struck first in the fourth on an RBI single from Mekeya Cihla but an RBI double in the bottom of the sixth helped give Ridgewood the win. Claire Sutherland didn’t strike out a batter in six innings for the Princes, but only gave up one walk. 

Dunlap 9, Washington 2: Dunlap (20-7, 9-2 Mid-Illini) maintained control in a resumed game that had been postponed last week to keep their conference title hopes alive. Kaitlyn Atkinson and Sutton Centoni both went 3-for-4 for the Eagles while Shelby Covey had a team-high three RBIs on two hits. Atkinson and Covey both homered to highlight the Eagles’ game and Centoni sat down 12 batters with strikeouts and gave up three hits in six innings. Brooklyn Bowman’s RBI was the only one of the game for Washington (13-13, 4-9). 

Limestone 7, Pekin 4: Limestone (10-9, 7-7 Mid-Illini) clinched fourth place in the Mid-Illini and continued a late-season heater, taking down Pekin (12-15, 4-8) behind 15 hits. Jenna Garlock, Addy Thorton and Brianna Birkett all led the Rockets with three hits while Thorton drove in two and Garlock brought in one. Allison Mehn hit a two-run homer to help Limestone build a bigger advantage and Liz Grube had two hits, an RBI and the win in the circle. Brittyn Bailey led Pekin by going 3-for-4 with an RBI and a triple. 

Normal Community 17, Richwoods 7: Normal Community (14-19, 7-2 Big 12) won its sixth out of its last eight and secured third place in the Big 12 with a run-rule win over Richwoods (4-19, 3-6) in five innings. McKenna Baughman and Maggie Kelley both went 2-for-3 for the Lady Iron with the former driving in two and the latter plating one. Normal Community used 17 walks to help keep the line moving all day. Cicely Robinson (1 RBI) and Abby Ochoa (2 RBIs) both had a pair of hits for the Knights.  

In girls soccer

Morton 9, Streator 0: Top seed Morton won big at the Class 2A LaSalle-Peru Regional semifinals and continued a streak of not allowing a goal to six games. The Potters look to keep that trend going in Friday’s regional title game against LaSalle-Peru.

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