A look at final area baseball rankings:
A closer look at the News-Gazette All-Area baseball first team:
FAIRMOUNT – Luckily for J.D. Learnard, his future college coaches at Illinois State live far enough away where they weren't able to stay on top of every game Salt Fork played toward the end of its record-breaking season.
"I'm sure that's probably a good thing that they weren't able to hear a lot about every game," the Salt Fork senior hurler said.
JOLIET – Watseka went to Silver Cross Field this weekend looking for a state championship. What it got was a humbling defeat at the hands of eventual Class 2A champion Stanford Olympia on Friday and a heartbreaking 4-3 loss to Morrison in eight innings with the third-place trophy on the line.
JOLIET – It's hard enough to beat a good team like defending Class 2A champion Stanford Olympia when all things are equal. Give the Spartans an eight-run cushion in the first two innings and the odds of beating them fall dramatically.
LINCOLN – They don't get much crazier than this.
Bryce Hunsley's double in the bottom of the 11th inning drove in the winning run as Lincoln outlasted Centennial 10-9 on Thursday in a Class 3A sectional semifinal.
LINCOLN – Chatham Glenwood's baseball team is good enough on its own merits.
On Thursday, the Titans got some help.
WATSEKA – When he gets his next cell phone bill, Darin Hartman might cringe a little.
"I keep telling everyone that I'm way over my texting package this month, same with my minutes," the Watseka baseball coach said.
4 p.m. Friday — Olympia vs. Watseka. To date, Watseka's top state finish in any sport is third by 1974-75 basketball team, but baseball has 15-game winning streak.
CHAMPAIGN – Even as the tears welled in his eyes after a 9-5 loss to North Fulton in a Class 1A super-sectional, Salt Fork's J.D. Learnard was able to find some perspective.
"We kind of surprised a lot of people and that's what I like to take from it," the Storm's ace pitcher and second baseman said at Illinois Field on Monday night. "We're one of the best eight teams in the state."