Area teams ready for regional showdowns

Area teams ready for regional showdowns

Twenty-two area teams will vie for postseason hardware as 16 regional championship games involving local programs are slated for today. Sports editor MATT DANIELS takes a look:



Class 2A St. Joseph-Ogden Regional, 10 a.m.

(2) Monticello (25-4) vs. (3) St. Joseph-Ogden (20-14)

Quick hit: SJ-O's pitchers will need to be wary of Luke Stokowski and Alek Bundy, two key cornerstones for the Sages who helped Monticello beat the Spartans 10-0 on May 3. SJ-O, led by senior Austin Cain, has won five straight regional titles, while Monticello is aiming for its second regional title this century.


Class 2A Hoopeston Area Regional, 10 a.m.

(5) Hoopeston Area (17-6) vs. (8) Bismarck-Henning/Rossville-Alvin (21-8-1)

Quick hit: BHRA is rolling, having won 13 of its last 14 games after a slow start. Wade Edwards, Hunter Keith and others give the Blue Devils a potent offense. Hoopeston Area, paced by Logan Walder and Brady Gaddis, will try to avoid a third loss to BHRA this season.


Class 2A Tuscola Regonal, 11 a.m.

(1) Tuscola (33-3) vs. (4) Oakwood (16-12-1)

Quick hit: The host Warriors carry a 10-game win streak as Dalton Hoel, Brayden VonLanken& Co. look for their second-ever 2A regional title. Oakwood, which advanced to the Elite Eight in 1A last year, relies on a key veterans like Chase Vinson and Skylar Bolton.


Class 1A Meridian Regional, 10 a.m.

(1) Okaw Valley (26-3) vs. (4) Argenta-Oreana (11-9)

Quick hit: The Bombers will try to pull an upset and win their second straight regional title, but the Timberwolves beat A-O 18-0 on May 1 when the two Little Okaw Valley Conference teams met.


Class 1A Peoria Heights Regional, 11 a.m.

(1) LeRoy (21-9) vs. (6) Peoria Christian (9-13)

Quick hit: The Panthers, led by Will Dooley and Caleb Poindexter, have won at least 20 games for the fourth straight season and will vie for the program's second regional title in the last three seasons.


Class 1A Cissna Park Regional, 11:30 a.m.

(1) Illinois Lutheran (15-7) vs. (5) Iroquois West (9-16)

Quick hit: The Raiders, keyed offensively by Austin Saathoff and Kaleb Pheifer, will try for their third regional win this week and to avenge a 4-1 loss suffered earlier this season on March 23 against Illinois Lutheran.


Class 1A Salt Fork Regional, 1 p.m.

(1) Salt Fork (18-9) vs. (4) Milford (11-12), 1 p.m.

Quick hit: Gage Romack leads the Storm, who swept the season series against the Bearcats when the two Vermilion Valley Conference teams met twice last month. Salt Fork is aiming for its first regional title since the 2016 team placed fourth in state, while Milford is trying to win its second straight regional plaque.



Class 2A St. Joseph-Ogden Regional, 11 a.m.

(1) St. Joseph-Ogden (28-3) vs. (3) Unity (13-17)

Quick hit: SJ-O — vying for its 10th consecutive regional title and 35th in program history — needed extra innings to beat the Rockets 16-8 on April 24 in Tolono when these two Illini Prairie Conference teams first met this season. Keeping SJ-O speedster Kenzie Pence off base and limiting what slugger Bailey Dowling does at the plate is vital for Unity. Elyce Knudsen leading the way offensively for the Rockets.


Class 2A El Paso-Gridley Regional, 11 a.m.

(2) Olympia (23-7) vs. (3) Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley (17-6)

Quick hit: The Falcons already own a 6-5 win against Olympia, coached by former Monticello coach Courtney Hoffman, when the two teams played April 25 in Stanford. GCMS standout pitcher Madi Eberle, approaching 300 strikeouts this season, can slow down any opposing team as GCMS chases its first regional title since 2014.


Class 2A Monticello Regional, 11 a.m.

(2) Maroa-Forsyth (25-6) vs. (4) Monticello (15-10)

Quick hit: An up-and-down season is currently on the up for the Sages, looking for their first regional title since 2014. Delaney Hilderbrandt powers Monticello's offense, with Taylor Wunderlich and Miranda Fogal supplying steady pitching.


Class 2A Tuscola Regional, 11 a.m.

(1) Tuscola (27-7) vs. (3) Shelbyville (15-12)

Quick hit: Isabelle Shelmadine is the unquestioned offensive leader for the Warriors, who will try to win the program's sixth regional title this decade. Ashton Smith and Kaitlyn Reifstack form a solid 1-2 punch in the circle as Tuscola tries to avoid its third loss this season to Shelbyville.


Class 2A Prairie Central Regional, 11 a.m.

(1) Kankakee McNamara (22-7) vs. (3) Prairie Central (12-13)

Quick hit: Playing on their home field might give the Hawks more hope of pulling an upset. So, too, does the fact Lindsey Hari and the rest of her teammates are riding a four-game win streak.


Class 1A Fisher Regional, 11 a.m.

(1) Fisher (22-7) vs. (4) Heyworth (16-12)

Quick hit: Sydney Eichelberger provides a steady presence in the circle, with Becca Clanton generating plenty of pop at the plate. It's a good combination for the host Bunnies to have as coach Ken Ingold's program — which went undefeated in Heart of Illinois Conference play to earn a league title and won 6-4 at Heyworth on April 18 — tries to wins its sixth straight regional title.


Class 1A Grant Park Regional, 11 a.m.

(1) Salt Fork (22-5) vs. (3) Grant Park (11-8)

Quick hit: Salt Fork, the Vermilion Valley Conference regular season champions who are trying to win the program's second regional title in the last three years, relies on Jordan Jones, Reighan Barr, Mackenzie Russell and a host of other contributors who have stepped up at various times throughout the spring.


Class 1A LeRoy Regional, 11 a.m.

(2) Argenta-Oreana (15-8) vs. (3) LeRoy (21-11)

Quick hit: Camilyn Newbanks and Tatiana Garcia lead the Bombers at the dish, while Kelly Smith is one to watch for LeRoy. The host Panthers, who have won nine of their 10 games this month, will attempt to win their third consecutive regional title.



Class 2A Centennial Regional, 1 p.m.

(1) Mahomet-Seymour (20-2) vs. (3) Normal U-High (10-9-1)

Quick hit: Two former Corn Belt foes meet, with Illinois signee and the area's top goal scorer Meredith Johnson-Monfort for M-S, which has also produced 14 shutouts this season. The Pioneers placed second in state last year in 1A.