Big hits, kicks and jumps
After watching Monroe County neighbor Valmeyer come up just short of a Class 1A state baseball championship the past two years, the Gibault Hawks will be taking their turn at Dozer Park in Peoria this weekend.
Fresh off a 14-3 win over Illini Bluffs at the Springfield Super-Sectional, Gibault (26-8) will make its third state tournament appearance Friday when it takes on Steeleville (23-5) in the second of two Class 1A semifinals at noon.
Ottawa Marquette (31-1) will take on Elgin Harvest Christian Academy (24-3) in the first semifinal beginning at 110 a.m. The third place game is set for Saturday at 9 a.m. with eht state title contest set for 11 a.m.
Gibault is making the fourth Class 1A state tournament appearance by a Monroe County team since 2013. Gibault won the Class 1A crown in 2013, while Valmeyer placed second in both 2017 and 2018..
Following are individual capsules on the four teams which will compete in the Class 1A State Baseball Tournament.
Coach Andy Skaer (15th season, 243-257)
Classification Enrollment: 213
Principal: Russ Hart
Last Year’s Advancement: Lost to Nokomis, 5-3, in Sectional Semifinal
Players to watch: IF-P: Mark Branz (.453 HR-2 RBI-25); IF-P: Cole Buckner (.402, HR-2 RBI-37); DH-P: Ian Metcalf (.341 RBI-27); OF-P: Tim Reinholz (.388, HR-4 RBI-40; IF-P: Austin Sweeney (..429 HR-1 RBI-29; P: Mark Branz (9-0, 2.77 ERA Ip-48, SO-68;’
State Tournament History: This is the Hawks third trip to the state tournament.
Coach: John Sutton (21st season, 231-231-2)
Classification Enrollment: 164
Last Year’s Advancement: Lost to Albion (Edwards County), 1-0, in Sectional Semifinal
Players to Watch: P-SS: Owen Gross (.341 HR-3 RBI-31); P-CF: Austin Hagel (.404, 1 HR RBI-30); C-INF: Jacob Sutton (.380 HR-3 RBI-28); P: jordan Wilson (5-2, 2.12 ERA; IP-36.1, SO-60;); P: Rory Lutz (4-0, .078 ERA, IP-18 SO-30)
State Tournament history: This is the Warrioirs second trip to the state finals.
Ottawa Marquette (31-1)
Coach: Todd Hopkins (22 years, 540-169)
Classification Enrollment: 272.25
Last season advancement: Lost to Goreville, 3-2, in Third Place Game
Players to watch: OF: Sr. Logan Komatfor (.417. 1 HR RBi-38); 1B: Hayden Price (.366. 1 HR RBI-31;); RF: Jack Snook (..393 1 HR RBI-24; P: John Thompson (9-0, 1.48 ERA, IP: 62.2 SO-66); P: Bryce Jones (7-1, 1.54 ERA, IP-50; SO-60)
State Tournament Hisotry: This is Marquette’s third trip to the state finals
Elgin Harvest Christian Academy (24-3)
Coach: Matt Ellett (1st year, 24-3)
Classification Enrollment: 207
Colors: Navy/Vegas Gold
Conference: Northeastern Athletic
Last Year’s Advancement: Lost to Aurora (A. Christian), 8-4, in Sectional Final
Players to watch: 1B Brock Wilken (.516 HR-2 RBI-30); C: Jack Nohava (.492, RBI-30); 3B; Gil Duran (.434, HR-1 RBI-29); P-Sam Bornick (5-0, 1.75 ERA, IP-36, SO-45) P:Grant Young (4-0, 0..00; IP-26.2 SO-45
State Tournament history: This is the Lions first trip