1A North Clay Captures Their First Ever State Title

By Drew Locascio
Illinois Scouting Director

In the first state championship game of 2022, North Clay took down Brown County by a score of 12-4. North Clay jumped out to an early 5-1 lead after two innings and never looked back.

Both teams were hot offensively throughout the game but it was a couple of big innings that broke the game open for the Cardinals of North Clay. With the game tied 1-1 in the second inning, two-run singles by Collyn Ballard and Holden Clifton helped North Clay get out to a 5-1 lead. 

Brown County chipped away with single runs in the third and fifth to cut the lead to 5-3 after five innings. Sam Carr doubled to lead off the third and Gabe Blakely knocked him in with a ground ball to right field. Ethan Howell delivered the RBI in the fifth with a base knock to right field for Brown County. 

Thats as close as Brown County would get however as North Clay answered with three runs in the top half of the sixth and four more in the top of the seventh.

The big hit of the seventh came off the bat of junior shortstop, Logan Fleener. Fleener lined a single into the left-center field gap, which scored two runs.

Senior RHP Holden Clifton came on in relief and struck out six in five innings of work for the Cardinals, scattering five hits and two runs. 

The State Title was the first state title in the history of North Clay athletics. 


+ Collyn Ballard (North Clay): 1-for-4, 3 RBI, 2 R, SB
+ Logan Fleener (North Clay: 2-for-4, 2 RBI, R, BB, SB
+ Holden Clifton (North Clay): 1-for-4, 3 RBI; 5 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 BB, 6 K
+ Sam Carr (Brown County): 3-for-4, 2 R, 2B
+ Mason Henry (Brown County): 3-for-3, 2 R, RBI, 2B
+ Will Groesch (Brown County): 2-for-4
+ Ethan Howell (Brown County): 2-for-4, RBI

.......In the third place game, Ottawa (Marquette) jumped all over LeRoy from the start, ultimately winning 12-0 in five innings.

Uncommitted junior, RHP Taylor Waldron, was in complete control from the start for Marquette, taking a no hitter into the fifth. Waldron’s no hitter was broke up with one out in the fifth on a single back up the middle by pinch-hitter Cylas Marcum. He gave up one more single in the frame before shutting the door, picking up the complete game (five inning) shutout. Waldron walked one and struck out eight in the dominant performance. 

Marquette tallied runs in every inning, with Charlie Mullen leading the attack offensively, finishing 3-for-3 with a triple, three RBIs and two runs scored.


+ Sam Mitre (Marquette): 2-for-4, 3 RBI
+ Tommy Durdan (Marquette): 2-for-4, 2 RBI, 2 R
+ Andrew Fleming (LeRoy): 1-for-1