Thursday's prep highlights: PBL's Zenner tosses gem
■ St. Thomas More 9, Unity 0. The third-seeded Sabers met little resistance from the second-seeded Rockets before prevailing in a Class 2A regional semifinal game in Monticello. Storm Joop went 2 for 3 with two RBI to pace the 10-hit output from the Sabers, who led 6-0 after the first inning. Mike Plecki (2 for 3, RBI), Cam Deedrich (2 for 5) and Harrison York (1 for 4, two RBI) each contributed for STM. Plecki threw a complete-game shutout and struck out four. Taylor White (1 for 2) and Zeke Eisenmenger (1 for 2) had two of Unity’s three hits.
■ Paxton-Buckley-Loda 10, Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley 0. Andrew Zenner picked a perfect time to throw a perfect game. The PBL hurler tossed one in five innings during the second-seeded Panthers’ Class 2A regional semifinal triumph against the Falcons in Hoopeston. Zenner struck out four and recorded six other outs via groundballs. Jay Eshleman went 1 for 2 with a triple and drove in three runs to spark PBL’s offense.
■ Salt Fork 14, Schlarman 0. Ross Learnard, Jordan Eakle and Josh Kimbro combined on a five-inning no-hitter as the host Storm cruised to a Class 1A regional semifinal triumph in Catlin. Garrett McFadden and Noah Darr each hit first-inning home runs for Salt Fork.
■ Tuscola 2, Westville 1. Tuscola's Tucker Robinson scored on a passed ball to give the third-seeded Warriors a Class 2A regional semifinal win in nine innings in Paris. Tuscola — which received 13 strikeouts from Devin Rose — tied the game at 1 after an RBI single from Tristan Williams in the sixth inning. Westville plated its only run on an RBI single by Tristan Flynn in the fourth.
■ Paris 5, Villa Grove/Heritage 1. The Blue Devils dropped a Class 2A regional semifinal game on the Tigers' home field.
■ Iroquois West 11, Tri-Point 0. Trenton Miller twirled a no-hitter for the second-seeded Raiders, who won a Class 1A regional semifinal game in Cissna Park. Miller struck out seven and walked three in his five-inning complete game.
■ Kankakee Bishop McNamara 10, Watseka 4. The third-seeded Warriors suffered a Class 2A regional semifinal loss in Kankakee despite two hits and an RBI from Cody Scott.
■ Argenta-Oreana 9, Blue Ridge 1. Keegan McHood threw a complete game to lead the top-seeded Bombers past the Knights in a Class 1A regional semifinal win on A-O’s home field, while Logan Jackson hit a three-run home run for the Bombers.
■ Central 5, Urbana 3. The Maroons are now owners of an outright Big 12 Conference title. But Urbana made Central earn its first league title since 2006, building a 3-1 lead through five innings at Prairie Park before the visiting Maroons rallied.
“It was a tall task, but I’m very proud of our boys and our coaching staff,” Central coach John Staab said. “The pressure was getting to the kids a little bit this week, and decidedly so. There was a lot on the line. We got it done and were fortunate to do so.”
Central’s Jake Snider hit a three-run double in the sixth inning to put the Maroons ahead 4-3.
“I told myself I was going to hit the ball hard,” Snider said. “It didn’t matter where it was, and it found the gap.”
Central (33-2, 10-2) never relinquished its lead. Phillip Swartz picked up the save by striking out the side in the bottom of the seventh inning after quality relief from Tanner Gordon in place of starter Zach Dorner.
“I’ve been in the big spot multiple times, and I love being in it,” Swartz said. “I just knew I had to come in and get outs.”
Tanner Russell had two hits and an RBI to lead Urbana.
■ Rantoul 5, Manteno 2. Thomas Wolken went 2 for 4 with two RBI, Kyle Flessner went 2 for 4 with an RBI and Tanner McLain chipped in with a 1-for-3 effort that produced an RBI to lead Rantoul on the road. Flessner, Alex Vermillion and Kolton Vermillion combined on a five-hitter.
■ Centennial 6, Central 2. The Chargers used a four-run fourth inning to earn the Big 12 win against the Maroons. Imani Maatuka went 2 for 4 and drove in Central’s only two runs.
■ Danville 13, Urbana 2. The host Vikings relied on two home runs from Lindsey Loewenstein and eight strikeouts from Alissa Peelman to earn the Big 12 win. Krista Broom hit a home run for the Tigers.
In boys’ track and field
■ At Homewood. Danville’s Johnny Leverenz won the 800-meter run at the Class 3A sectional meet with the third-fastest time in area history, touring the course in 1 minute, 51.14 seconds. Rob Canter from Clinton has the top time of 1:50.49 set in 1989, and Jeremy Krudenier from Champaign Central ran 1:51.00 in 2003. Levernez also won the 1,600, while teammate Dakota Gash qualified for state in the 300-meter hurdles (39.62).
■ At Gibson City. Tyler Rubarts and Vaughn Gentzler from Paxton-Buckley-Loda each won two events at the Class 1A Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley Sectional meet, allowing the Panthers to claim a sectional title with 138 points. Rubarts won the long jump (22 feet, 0-1/2 inch) and triple jump (43-11/2), while Gentzler won the 110-meter hurdles (15.21) and 300 hurdles (39.99). Fisher’s Josh Wallick qualified for the state meet in the shot put (48-7) and discus (146-3), while Austin Zirkle from Iroquois West is a two-event qualifier after making it through in the high jump (6-3) and triple jump (41-2).