Prep Baseball Report

Top 10 Stories of 2015: No. 10 Appleknockers win first title

By Drew Locascio
Illinois Scouting Director

Over the next few weeks, in addition to highlighting the Top 10 Player Profiles of 2015, we will also highlight the Top 10 Stories in Illinois High School Baseball during the 2015 calendar year.

Today, we’ll take a look at No. 10: Cobden captures 1A title with six-run rally against Okawville. The Appleknockers are no strangers to athletic success, as the Cobden softball team won three straight state championships from 2007-2010. The boys basketball team made a miraculous run in 1964 before finishing second in state. 2015 was the year for the Cobden Appleknockers baseball team, as they took home their first baseball title in school history.

The championship story from June 6:


By Ryan Quigley

PEORIA, IL – The Cobden Applenockers exploded for six runs in the top of the sixth inning to capture the school’s first state title in baseball 9-3 over Okawville in the IHSA Class 1A State Championship on Saturday afternoon at Peoria’s Dozer Park.

With the score knotted at three entering the sixth, Cobden (27-6) junior first baseman Jacob Furlow and senior outfielder Cayden Childers started the rally with back-to-back singles. A sacrifice bunt attempt loaded the bases, as Okawville attempted to get the lead runner at third base and threw wildly.

Junior centerfielder JT Moore (2-for-5, RBI), junior shortstop Logan Spalt (3-for-5, two RBI), and senior lefthander Parker Flamm followed with three straight singles, extending the lead to 6-3. After a flyout, junior third baseman Theron Sweitzer (1-for-4) delivered the knockout blow with a two-run double to deep center field. Sweitzer was thrown out attempting to stretch the double into a triple, and the Appleknockers added two more hits later in the inning for good measure. All told, Cobden tallied eight hits during the rally and never looked back.

“(Okawville) Not getting an out on the bunt was huge, it allowed us to turn over the order, and with the infield in we got a few choppers over the top”, said Coach Craig Partridge.

Cobden athletics is most well-known for the run its 1964 basketball team went on to a second place finish in the Illinois state high school tournament. The Appleknockers had only 147 students and went on an improbable “Hoosiers” type run, immortalized in the book “The Amazing Appleknockers: Illinois’ Cinderella Basketball Team of 1964”.

Partridge added, “Now we’ve etched our names alongside the ’64 team, and a parent joked maybe we can stop listening to their stories around town. It is great for the kids and great for the community, we had amazing support here both days. Our kids grinded, battled, and we let everyone this weekend know who we are”.

Early on Okawville led 1-0 thanks to an RBI single by starting pitcher Nick Strubhart (2-6) in the top of the first. The fact that Okawville was even here was an incredible story, as the Rockets (17-18) sat at 6-16 on May 7th and had reeled off nine straight victories to make an appearance in the title game.

Okawville threatened in the bottom of the fifth, loading the bases with two outs. Cobden centerfielder JT Moore entered the game and notched a strikeout on an 84 mph fastball in a 3-2 count. Moore then impressed with two more scoreless inning of relief to earn his fourth win on the year (4-1). Cobden starting pitcher Parker Flamm scattered six hits in 4.2 innings, allowing three runs (two earned) with three walks and two strikeouts.

“JT Moore has grown up so much. He’s been more of a thrower, but today he wanted to finish, and that 3-2 pitch in the fifth was huge”, said Partridge.

Okawville’s Nick Strubhart impressed on the mound, hurt by several errors (the Rockets had five in the game), throwing five innings of three run baseball (zero earned) with six strikeouts and no walks. Junior catcher Blake Furhop went 2-for-4 with a double, a run scored, and an RBI.


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