NORMAL – Not every high school sports team receives the chance to play for a State championship on their home field. That is usually the sort of thing every player dreams about when the thought crosses their mind. But for Normal’s University High Pioneers, who were a number one seed, faced another number one seed, Freeburg, and wound up playing in the third place game after losing to the team nicknamed the Midgets at Duffy Bass Field on Saturday. As a result of that loss, the Pioneers found themselves playing for and placing third after a 7-5 win over Central State 8 foe Springfield Sacred Heart Griffin.

U-High 7, Springfield Sacred Heart Griffin 5 To Take 3rd Place: U-High (32-4) went to work early against the Cyclones with lead off batter Karson Bonaparte walking followed by being his being driven home by outfielder Chase Adams to start the scoring, 1-0, with a blast into center field for a double. A fielder’s choice helped Evan Jones get on base and later score courtesy of Jack Bach’s home run over the left field wall, putting the Pioneers up before SHG came to bat, 3-0.

U-High was able to add two more runs in the 4th inning courtesy of Matt Armstrong’s single sending Bach and Matthew Davenport across home plate for two more runs, putting U-High up, 5-0. Springfield SHG (cut that lead to 5-2 in the bottom of the 5th inning when Jack Schafer’s single sent home Paul Gilmore who singled and Jayden Davis who walked. Those runs reduced U-High’s lead, 5-2.

The Pioneers advantage increased an inning later to 6-2 when Jones got on base and was singled in by Daniel Mosele. The Cyclones kept pace in that inning, too, adding three runs beginning the inning with Louie Bartletti’s leadoff walk, followed by singles from Nic Crowe and Gilmore, a walk given Jaydon Davis, and single by Schafer reduced U-High’s lead to 6-5. Senior Macallen Conklin led off the top of the 7th inning with a home run which cleared the left field wall.

Winning pitcher Chase Adams struck out eight and walked one in 4 2/3 innings of work.

“I wasn’t surprised about the heart our players showed that last game,” explained Pioneers head coach Steve Paxson, elaborating knowing they were playing for third place might have created a situation where his players’ effort might not have been what he did see throughout the contest. He said the team showed they put in what was needed to win the contest. “I’m just really proud to have coached this group. They’re really a special group.”

Five-Run 3rd Inning Puts Freeburg Over U-High, 5-3: Freeburg (35-3 following this game) employed a five-run third inning to overcome a Pioneers lead earlier in the semifinal contest to defeat the Pioneers, 5-3, to advance to the Class 2A Championship while sending the Pioneers to the 3rd place game to face the Cyclones. U-High scored two runs in the top of the 2nd inning as Evan Jones walked and advanced to 2nd base on a wild pitch. The next batter, Carson Beal, flew out to left field for the first out of the inning, and was followed by Mosele who doubled scoring Beale, putting U-High up, 1-0. A single by Davenport got Mosele home for U-High’s second run of the inning, giving the Pioneers an early 2-0 lead.

In the top of the 3rd inning, Adams would push U-High up, 3-0, on a single and stolen base followed a base hit by Macallen Conklin.

But Freeburg scored all five of their runs in the bottom of the third inning. The scoring barrage began as with one out, Austin York and Jacob Blomencamp led off the inning with a walk and single, respectfully, and then committed a double steal. From there, Colin Bruggemann singled, scoring the pair, cutting the Pioneers’ lead, 3-2. The next batter, Eli Hoerner singled deep into right field, and was followed by Eli Hill would be walked. The pair then committed a double steal and the bases were loaded when Hayden Ott singled completing the scoring.

This entry was posted on Sunday, June 20th, 2021 at 10:46 pm and is filed under The Normalite, U-High. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Responses are currently closed, but you can trackback from your own site.

Comments are closed.