Top 10 Stories Of 2017: No. 7 Peoria Heights Wins First State Title In School History

By Illinois Scouting Staff

Over the next few weeks, in addition to highlighting the Top 10 Player Profiles of 2017, we will also highlight the Top 10 Stories in Illinois High School Baseball during the 2017 calendar year.

Today, we’ll take a look at No. 7 Peoria Heights Wins Their First State Title In School History

Peoria Heights, coached by Matt King, made their first state finals appearance this spring, thanks in large part to their pitching staff. On the run to the state finals their staff did not allow more than three runs and twirled two shutouts.

The ace of the staff throughout the spring was senior LHP Blake Begner, an Illinois Central College commit. Astoundingly, Begner had not allowed an earned run in 45.1 innings pitched and had struck out 91 hitters heading into state.

Begner did more of the same in the two games at state. In the semi-final win against Goreville, the southpaw picked up a five-out save and then came back a day later and struck out 11 in six innings of work, leading the Patriots to their first ever state title.

Read about the Patriots Class 1A championship below:

The Championship Story from June 3rd:


By Drew Locascio
Illinois Scouting Director

 Peoria Heights 6, Valmeyer 2

PEORIA, IL – After picking up a five-pitch save in yesterday’s semi-final game, senior Blake Begner took the ball to start the state title game for Peoria Heights. Begner, an Illinois Central JC commit, was in total control throughout, leading Peoria Heights past Valmeyer 6-2 for their first baseball state title in school history.

Begner attacked with his fastball throughout, mixing in his breaking ball only a handful of times in his six innings of work. The southpaw worked 83-85 mph his fastball and was able to locate it to both sides of the plate. Begner went six innings, scattered six hits, one run, struck out 10 and walked two.

The biggest threat for Valmeyer (28-10) came in the top of the sixth inning trailing 3-0. Senior Easton Wallace singled sharply to right field to start the frame. Freshman Philip Reinhardt singled two batters later and Tyler Kempfer walked to load the bases with two outs. Drew Maus worked a walk to force in a run and cut the lead to 3-1. Begner, facing what turned out to be his last batter of the game, struck out the next hitter looking, to leave the bases loaded and preserve the Patriot 3-1 lead.

Peoria Heights (24-5) broke the game open with three runs in the top of the seventh inning. Tyler Gregory delivered an RBI double and Rylee Miller hit a two-out double to push the Patriot lead to 6-1.

The Patriots jumped out to an early lead with two runs in the bottom of the first inning. Gregory reached on an error to lead off the frame. Begner then lined a single to right and Miller followed with a sacrifice fly to left. The sacrifice fly scored Gregory for the first run of the game. With two outs, senior Trent Sherlock drove a ball to dead center field over the center fielders head for an RBI triple and a 2-0 lead.

Noah Nelson went 3-for-3 and Ty Webb went 2-for-3 for Peoria Heights.

The talented freshman Reinhardt finished the game 2-for-4 with a run scored in the losing effort for Valmeyer.  

In the third-place game …

Goreville 10, Somonauk 3

In the Class 1A Third Place game, the Blackcats of Goreville captured the third-place trophy, with a 10-3 victory over Somonauk. The game which was actually a rematch of last year’s 1A state title and once again Goreville ended their season with a win.

Junior Peyton Geyman twirled a complete game to lead the way for the Blackcats. Geyman scattered five hits, three runs, two earned, struck out seven and walked one. Geyman only needed 83 pitches for the complete game.

Offensively, Goreville pounded out 12 hits in the win and scored in every inning but two. Peyton Massey went 2-for-3 with double, a run and an RBI. Blaine Dunning went 2-for-3 with a double, two RBI and two runs. Geyman also doubled and added two hits.

Brady Kreiter went 1-for-3 with a double and a run for Somonauk.


+ No. 7 - Peoria Heights Wins First State Title In School History
+ No. 8 - Two Veteran IHSA Coaches Reach Milestone Victories
+ No. 9 - Ryan Sublette's Postseason Gem
+ No. 10 - Inaugural Metro East Kickoff Classic

Preseason I.D. - Peoria