Prep Baseball Report

2A State Semi-Finals: Timothy Christian and Freeburg Advance

By Drew Locascio
Illinois Scouting Director

2A State Semi-Final: Game 1

Timothy Christian Rallies In The Seventh, Stuns Sacred Heart-Griffin

Timothy Christian (21-8) rallied for four runs in the top of the seventh inning to come from behind and knock off Sacred Heart-Griffin 7-6. The win came in the first of the two 2A State Semi-final games on Friday, June 18th at Illinois State University.

After Sacred Heart-Griffin (33-2) stormed ahead with four runs of their own in the bottom of the sixth inning, Timothy Christian answered in a big way in the next half. Six of the first seven batters in the top of the seventh reached base safely for the Trojans. The biggest hit came from CJ James. James hit a sharp groundball kust to the left of the shortstop that, if fielded cleanly, could have led to a game-ending 6-4-3 double play. However, the ball ricocheted into center field, allowing two runs to score, including the tying run. Evan Montella followed up with what turned out to be the game-winning RBI single to left-field.

Sophomore RHP Donald Tober came back out for the bottom of the seventh inning and worked a perfect one-two-three inning to secure the win for Timothy Chrsitian and a complete game victory on the mound. Tober battled throughout, going seven innings, scattering five hits, five earned runs, five walks and struck out two. 

Sacred Heart did most of their offensive damage in the four run bottom of the sixth. At one point in the frame, the Cyclones delivered three consecutive extra-base hits; Jayden Davis came off the bench and drove an RBI double to center field. Mitch Dye, who also came off the bench, followed with an RBI triple off the right-field wall and Louie Bartletti (Quincy commit) put one in nearly the same spot as Dye for his own run-scoring triple to right. 

Ben Jones, Casey Folkerts and CJ James had two hits apiece for Timothy Christian in the win. 

Brannan Kraft got the start on the mound for Sacred Heart and went 4.2 innings, scattering four hits, two earned runs while striking out four and walking one. Quinn Butler threw 1.1 innings of hitless baseball, striking out two and walking one. 

With the win, Timothy Christian advances to the 2A Championship game at 7:00 pm.

2A State Semi-Final: Game 2

A Five-Run Third Inning Gets Freeburg Past Normal University

In the second-game of the 2A state semifinals on Friday, Freeburg (34-3) used a five-run third inning to propel them to a 5-3 victory and secure a spot in the 2A Championship game.

The game featured two sophomore pitchers matching up with each other; RHP Matt Sauser (Normal University; Iowa commit) vs. RHP Lane Otten (Freeburg; uncommitted). Both arms went the distance, controlled the game and put together quality starts, outside of one tough inning apiece.

Otten came away with the win tossing a complete game, seven innings, giving up five hits, three runs while fanning five and walking three. Otten showed an above-average three-pitch mix throughout, while his fastball sat 82-85 mph. Otten’s toughest inning came in the top of the second when he gave up his only three runs of the game. 

Daniel Mosele came through with the first RBI of the top of the second for the Pioneers of Normal University (31-4) with an RBI single back up the middle. He would later come around to score on a clutch, two-run single to right field by Matt Armstrong. That was all the scoring the Pioneers could muster as they were shut out the rest of the way.

Sauser toed the rubber for the Pioneers and showed impressive stuff throughout. The upside 6-foot-2, 165-pound right-hander, ranked No. 9 in the Illinois’ 2023 class, sat mostly 86-87 mph and spun a slider with swing-and-miss action in the mid-70’s. Outside of a big five-run bottom of the third inning, Sauser was tough on the Freeburg bats. Sauser ended up going six innings, allowing four hits, four earned runs, two walks and struck out nine. 

Colin Brueggemann, who has been one of the best hitters in the state this spring (.472 BA, 17 2B’s, 12 HR’s) smoked a two-run single back up the middle to get Freeburg their first two runs of the frame. Brueggemann eventually came around to score on a quality dirt ball read and instinctual base-running. Catcher Hayden Ott delivered the second big hit of the frame, a hard single to right field that scored Eli Hoerner and Eli Hill (Eastern Illinois commit).

With the win, Freeburg advances to the 2A State title game where they will face Timothy Christian. The game is scheduled for a 7:00 pm first pitch.