N-G exclusive: Wolken steps down at SJ-O

ST. JOSEPH — The decision did not come lightly.

Or quickly.

But Randy Wolken didn’t waver.

Dowling wins prestigious honor

ST. JOSEPH — The individual numbers Bailey Dowling put up this spring on the softball diamond this spring for St. Joseph-Ogden stood out.

So much that the SJ-O sophomore earned the state's Gatorade Player of the Year, announced on Monday.

Dowling, an Alabama commit, hit .657 with 21 home runs and 70 RBI, following up an impressive freshman season.

Can't wait for more? Circle these 10 dates on next season's preps calendar

Aug. 24, 2018

Friday night lights. Marching bands. Student sections. Pork chop sandwiches. That's right, the high school football season kicks off this night. Defending Class 2A state champion Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley opens at Ford County rival Paxton-Buckley-Loda, one of many marquee games set for the next nine weeks.

Prep pulse: June 4, 2018

When Tuscola senior Cale Sementi induced a seventh-inning flyout from Herscher junior Reece Harrod in Saturday's Class 2A state baseball third-place game, the 2017-18 high school sports campaign ended for The News-Gazette's coverage area.

Bombers cap season with third-place trophy

EAST PEORIA — The experience proved more than what Bailey Benton, Tatiana Garcia, Lydia Hays, Mikayla Kirkland, Maggie Millington and Amanda Peterson could have imagined.

In a good way.

LIVE! Tuscola baseball at state

Spring Valley Hall 2, Tuscola 1, FINAL

Tuscola baseball won't get the opportunity to play for a state championship on Saturday.

Bumpy fourth inning hampers Bombers

EAST PEORIA — Walk. Bunt. Bunt. Bunt. Bunt. Infield single. Home run.

That seven-batter sequence by Windsor/Stewardson-Strasburg in Friday's Class 1A state softball semifinals established a mountain too big for Argenta-Oreana to climb in its first appearance at EastSide Centre.

VIDEO: 1A State Softball Semis: Argenta-Oreana Vs. Windsor/Stew-Stras

Video highlights from a Class 1A state softball semifinal between Argenta-Oreana and Windsor Stewardson-Strasburg on Friday, June 1, at East Peoria's EastSide Centre.

Newbanks sisters driving force behind Bombers' state run

ARGENTA — It's important for a pitcher and catcher to be on the same page if a high school softball team is going to make a deep postseason run.

Class 1A softball state semifinal capsules

Argenta-Oreana (19-8)

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