Prep Baseball Report

IHSA 1A/2A State Playoff Semifinal Recap

By: Diego Solares
Area Scout, Illinois & Missouri

On Friday, June 3rd, the IHSA 1A and 2A state semifinal matchups took place at Dozer Field, home of the Peoria Chiefs. Eight teams across both classifications competed for a spot in the state championship game and for an opportunity to hoist up high school baseball’s most coveted prize. 

Our staff was on hand for all four games and you’ll find a recap of Friday’s action in its entirety below.



Our day in Peoria started off with a tight-knit contest between the Hornets and Crusaders, with Brown County ultimately up-ending to earn a spot in the school’s first ever state championship game. The Hornets drew first blood in the bottom of the first thanks to an RBI single from 1B/LHP Mason Henry (2022), who also brought home Brown County’s other run later on with a loud double in the third. Marquette scratched a run across in the top of the sixth thanks to a barrel up the middle from senior OF Brady Ewers (2022), yet the Crusaders squandered an opportunity to tie things up in the same frame. Marquette threatened again in the seventh, as the leadoff man reached base with a single and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt. INF Logan Nelson (2023) bunted for a hit before the aforementioned Henry retired the next batter via strikeout and induced a game-ending flyout to secure the Hornets’ win. The performance from senior RHP Gabe Blakeley (2022) on the mound shouldn’t go unnoticed, as he twirled 6 ⅓ innings of one-run ball for Brown County. 1B Sam Mitre (2025) went 2-for-4 at the plate with two loud base hits in the loss for Marquette. Brown County will play North Clay at 11:30 a.m. tomorrow for the 1A state championship. 

+ Colby Wort (Brown County): 2-for-3, RS
+ Mason Henry (Brown County): 2-for-3, 2 RBI, 2B, 0.2 IP, K
+ Will Goesch (Brown County): 2-for-3
+ Gabe Blakeley (Brown County): 6.1 IP, ER, 7 K, BB; 1-for-3, RS
+ Aidan Thompson (Marquette): 6 IP, 2 ER, 6 K, 2 BB
+ Logan Nelson (Marquette): 2-for-4
+ Sam Mitre (Marquette): 2-for-4, 2B
+ Charlie Mullen (Marquette): 2-for-3
+ Brady Ewers (Marquette): 1-for-4, RBI


The Cardinals were in complete control in game two of the 1A state semifinal, pounding out 15 runs en route to a shortened-game victory. North Clay jumped out to an early lead in the first following a leadoff triple by INF Collyn Ballard (2022), who later came around to score on an RBI groundout by INF Logan Fleener (2023). 

LeRoy tied things up in the first, yet North Clay followed that up with five runs of their own in the second. OF Layton Dawkins (2022) peppered a two-run single back up the middle and the Cardinals took advantage of a few defensive miscues to plate three more in the frame. 

The Panthers answered with another run in their half of the inning thanks to an RBI single by OF Tyson Brent (2023), yet North Clay matched them with a run in the fourth, thanks to a manufactured run by the middle of their order. 3B Holden Clifton (2022) kicked things off with a loud double down the left field line, later advancing to third on a single by C Brady Ingram (2022). Clifton came around to score later on in the frame on a sacrifice fly by RHP Donnie Zimmerman (2022). 

North Clay broke things open in the fifth, erupting for eight runs and batting around in the lineup. OF Bryton Griffy (2022) plated three runs on his own in the inning, with Ballard, Ingram, OF Dakota Weidner (2022), and Dawkins all chipping in as well. Even though they scored 15 runs, North Clay received an absolute gem from Zimmerman. Their senior star punched out nine in a complete game effort, attacking hitters with a low-80s fastball and turning to a low-70s breaking ball to change pace. With the win, North Clay advances to the 1A state championship and will face Brown County tomorrow at 11:30 a.m. 

+ Logan Fleener (North Clay): 2-for-3, 3 RBI, 2 RS
+ Dakota Weidner (North Clay): 2-for-3, RBI, 3 RS
+ Layton Dawkins (North Clay): 2-for-4, 2 RBI, 2 RS
+ Bryton Griffy (North Clay): 2-for-4, 2 RBI, RS
+ Collyn Ballard (North Clay): 1-for-4, 3B 3 RS
+ Donnie Zimmerman (North Clay): 1-for-3, 3 RBI
+ Donnie Zimmerman (North Clay): 5 IP, ER, 6 H, 9 K, BB
+ Noah Company (LeRoy): 2-for-3, RS



The third game of the day made for an excellent matchup between two teams who were amongst the most successful programs at the 2A classification all spring long. 

Both sides were scoreless until the bottom half of the fourth inning when Maroa-Forsyth broke the stalemate. 1B Jaxson Grubbs (2022; Lewis & Clark CC) drew a leadoff walk, coming around to score on a screaming triple to right field off the bat of OF Jacob Blunck (2023). Richmond-Burton responded rather quickly, however, as senior Ethan Fischer (2022) punched a two-out single back up the middle to even things up at 1-1. 

Richmond-Burton threatened again in the sixth, but LHP Evan Foster (Maroa-Forsyth, 2023) escaped a bases-loaded jam unscathed with two groundouts and a strikeout. The Rockets battled again in the seventh, loading the bases again and scoring on a bases-loaded walk by RHP Joseph Mrowiec (2022). Mrowiec, who twirled a gem on the mound for Richmond-Burton, retired the side in order to secure his team a spot in the 2A state championship, set for Saturday at 5:30 p.m. 

It should be noted the valiant effort that both teams’ pitchers put forth in this game. Foster escaped multiple jams for the Trojans and consistently competed, scattering five hits in a complete-game effort while striking out four. Mrowiec also went the distance, limiting a scrappy Trojans’ lineup to one run on three hits and he struck out nine, too. 

+ Joseph Mrowiec (Richmond-Burton): 7 IP, ER, 3 H, 9 K, 2 BB; 1-for-3, RBI, RS, BB
+ Ethan Fischer (Richmond-Burton): 1-for-1, RBI
+ Evan Foster (Maroa-Forsyth): 7 IP, 2 ER, 5 H, 4 K
+ Jacob Blunck (Maroa-Forsyth): 1-for-2, RBI, 3B
+ Grant Reid (Maroa-Forsyth): 2-for-3


Friday’s finale featured Joliet Catholic Academy and Columbia, tilting in favor of the Hilltoppers as they won 4-1. With the victory, Joliet Catholic advances to the 2A state championship game and will play Richmond-Burton at 5:30 p.m. tomorrow.

The Hiltoppers pushed the game’s first run across in the bottom of the third inning. INF Aidan Voss (2022; Iowa Western CC football) reached base on a fielder’s choice and immediately stole second base, swiping third a few pitches later. He came around to score shortly on an RBI single up the middle by three-hole hitter 1B Jackson Cullen (2022; Loras College). 

It didn’t take Columbia long to respond, however, as the Eagles answered with a run of their own in the top half of the fourth. INF Dominic Voegele (2023) started the inning off by blasting a loud triple into the right-center gap and came around to score on a sacrifice fly by RHP/INF Logan Mueller (2022; Quincy), tying it up at 1-1. Voegele proved his worth defensively several times at this point in the game, ranging to his forehand and backhand for a handful of highly impressive plays on the infield dirt. 

Joliet Catholic broke the tie in the fifth inning, pushing three runs across in the bottom half of the frame. INF Tommy Kemp (2023) started the inning with a single to center field and advanced to second base on a sacrifice bunt from OF Daniel O’Brien (2022). O’Brien crossed home on a base hit from Cullen, who scored on a loud pull-side triple by OF Luka Radicevich (2022; Chipola JC). The Hilltoppers added another run on an infield single by OF Trey Swiderski (2023; Louisville), ending the inning with a 4-1 lead. 

Joliet Catholic benefited greatly from a dominant outing by LHP T.J. Schlageter (2023) on the bump. The 6-foot-3, 195-pound southpaw threw (insert line), working with clear pace and rhythm throughout his outing. Schlageter bumped his fastball up to 89 mph early in the game, settling in anywhere from 84-87 mph as his start went on. He flashed feel for a mid-70s changeup and sparingly threw a low-70s curveball around the zone for strikes. 

+ T.J. Schlageter (Joliet Catholic): 6 IP, 3 H, ER, 8 K, BB
+ Dominic Coda (Joliet Catholic): IP, 3 K, SV
+ Jackson Cullen (Joliet Catholic): 2-for-3, 2 RBI, RS
+ Luka Radicevich (Joliet Catholic): 2-for-3, 3B, RBI, RS
+ Dominic Voegele (Columbia): 2-for-3, 2B, 3B, RS
+ Logan Mueller (Columbia): 5 IP, 3 ER, 5 H, K, 2 BB