Class 1A softball state semifinal capsules

Class 1A softball state semifinal capsules

Argenta-Oreana (19-8)

Coach: Angie Ridgeway (44-26, third season)

Who to watch: Camilyn Newbanks is the big bopper in the Bombers' lineup. The junior catcher sports a .659 average, five home runs, 54 RBI and 19 doubles. But A-O doesn't just rely on Newbanks at the plate. Seniors Tatiana Garcia (.451, two home runs, 39 RBI), Lydia Hays (.379, 26 RBI) and Maggie Millington (.333, 2 HRs, 25 RBI) are veterans A-O has leaned on heavily this season, too. In the circle, Hays (8-5, 4.86 earned run average) and freshman Cassi Newbanks (10-3, 3.04 ERA) carry the brunt of the innings for A-O.

Road to Peoria: A challenging regular season schedule — the Bombers lost to three teams that won a Class 2A regional and one team that won a 1A regional — saw A-O only carry a 14-8 record into the postseason. But the Bombers haven't let up, defeating St. Teresa 14-1 on May 15 in its postseason opener at LeRoy before knocking off LeRoy 3-1 on its home field on May 19 to win the program's first-ever regional title. An 11-0 win in six innings against Salt Fork on May 23 opened up A-O's sectional stay in Dwight, and the Bombers outlasted the host Trojans 3-2 in nine innings last Saturday to win their first-ever sectional title. That set the stage for Monday's 4-2 super-sectional win against Somonauk at Illinois Wesleyan University.

State tournament history: When A-O plays Windsor/Stewardson-Strasburg at 12:30 p.m. Friday in East Peoria, it'll mark the Bombers' first-ever state tournament game.

 

Windsor/Stewardson-Strasburg (26-4)

Coach: Craig Moffett (80-14, third season)

Who to watch: Junior Calla Roney committed to Illinois in April 2017, and the future Illini brings a 14-2 record, 0.97 earned run average and 188 strikeouts into Friday's state semifinal game with Argenta-Oreana. Junior Megan Schlechte (.433, four home runs, 39 RBI), junior Mackenzi Tabbert (.398, 3 HRs, 35 RBI) and sophomore Mackinzee Reynolds (.429, 1 HR, 22 BI) lead the Hatchets' offense.

Road to Peoria: The Hatchets have outscored their postseason foes 50-2, with Monday's 7-2 win against Hardin Calhoun at the University of Illinois-Springfield Super-Sectional the only runs W/S-S has allowed in its five playoff games.

State tournament history: This is the Hatchets' first state tournament appearance.

 

Goreville (23-10)

Coach: Shanna Massey (234-161-2, 13th season)

Who to watch: Junior Lexi King is the Blackcats' best hitter with a .500 average, eight home runs and 57 RBI going into Friday's 10 a.m. state semifinal game with Spoon River Valley. Sophomore Samantha Licka (.424, three home runs, 40 RBI), senior Macy Goins (.416, 3 HRs, 28 RBI) and sophomore Payton Sopczak (.379, 1 HR, 31 RBI) are all key cogs who have helped Goreville score at least 10 runs in 14 games this season. Junior Cheyenne Walker (11-3, 1.42 earned run average), sophomore Kelsey Ray (3-1, 1.50 ERA) and King (8-6, 2.53 ERA) have all appeared in at least 14 games this seaosn.

Road to Peoria: The defending Class 1A state champions beat Grayville 5-1 on May 16 and defeated host Galatia 12-2 on May 19 to win a regional title. In their own sectional, the Blackcats beat Pope County 11-0 on May 22 and defeated Elverado 2-1 this past Saturday to win a sectional title. On Monday, Goreville beat New Athens 4-1 to win the Johnston City Super-Sectional.

State tournament history: Massey has guided Goreville to four state tournament appearances in the last six years, punctuated by state titles in 2012 and 2017.

 

Spoon River Valley (18-2)

Coach: Melanie Hanlin (102-41, sixth season)

Who to watch: Senior Jessica Young has pitched in every game this season for the Vikings, striking out 261 and only walking 15 in 149 innings while coming into Friday with a 0.70 earned run average, giving up only 15 earned runs this season. Spoon River Valley has only four home runs this season as a team, with Young driving in a team-best 20 RBI. Junior Addy Williams (.446, one home run, 18 RBI), senior Lexi Hanlin (.451, 1 HR, 16 RBI) and sophomore Sloan Miller (.421, 1 HR, 11 RBI) make solid contact as well.

Road to Peoria: The Vikings shut out Delavan 10-0 on May 15 and beat Abingdon-Avon 4-2 on May 19 to win a regional title. They followed that up with a 3-1 win against Princeville on May 23 in the Abingdon-Avon Sectional semifinals before winning a sectional title last Saturday with a 4-1 win against Lewistown. On Monday, the Vikings beat Orangeville 6-2 to win a super-sectional in Sterling.

State tournament history: Like Argenta-Oreana and Windsor/Stewardson-Strasburg, Spoon River Valley is playing in its first-ever state tournament.

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