Davenport North’s Zach Fries, fresh off a Class 4A state berth, saw plenty of action as Game 1’s starting pitcher for Iowa and Game 2’s catcher. He echoed the sentiments of many.
“I just really wanted to come out here and have fun. It’s nice to be on a team like this full of great players,” Fries, a soon-to-be freshman at Grandview University, said. “It’s our last game together and most of us won’t play baseball.”
The solid fielding continued throughout the series. In the bottom of the second, Illinois catcher Jake Viaene (Moline) blocked a pitch in the dirt and sniped a stealing Brandon Engler (North Scott) for the first out. A frame later, Fries returned the favor by picking off Alleman’s Tanner Ledezma at first to end the side.
Viaene and Nolan teamed to throw out United Township’s Connor Gunneman on a steal in the fourth, and in the fifth, second baseman Eric Huber (North Scott) turned a misplayed grounder into a leaping throw from the fringe to first. In a late twist of irony, Illinois forced out both Nolan and Collender during the nightcap on a 5-3 sixth inning double play by the Rock Island duo of Scudder and Mitch Erickson.
In the end, the Prairie State proved to have the timely hitting and controlled pitching for the sweep. Whan advanced two bags on a wild pitch then swiped home on a fielder’s choice for the series’ first run, all the Illinois side needed in the shutout.
In Game 2, Sedlock opened the first inning with an RBI infield single and Scudder scored on a wild pitch. Illinois plated two more in the third on an error and a sac-fly by Ledezma, another in the fourth on a sac-fly by Connor Gunneman (United Township) and two more in the sixth with an RBI single by Drew Knall (Galesburg) who scored later on a wild pitch.