Prep Baseball Report

Top-10 Stories of 2021: Springfield Rallies To 3A State Title

By: Taylor Castro
Illinois Staff

At the end of each calendar year, our staff reflects on the most interesting stories of the past year. Through the end of the month, we’ll be counting down some of the most impactful headlines that affected Illinois’ baseball community, ending with our No. 1 story of 2021 revealed on New Year’s Day.

On Thursday, June 17th, the Springfield Senators took home the 2021 IHSA 3A State title after rallying late for a 8-7 victory over the Prairie Ridge Wolves. The championship game took place after a day of semifinals play at Wintrust Field in Schaumburg.

Prairie Ridge took an early 6-0 lead, scoring three runs in both the first and second innings. After another run came in the third, the scoring ended there for the Wolves. The Senators’ bats heated up later in the game, as their runs came in the third, fourth and fifth innings.

Entering the top of the fifth while down 7-4, Springfield’s Ben Hartl (Heartland CC) hit a triple down the right field line with bases loaded to tie the game. Hartl was able to score on Joseph Crum’s ground out to first.

With four different pitchers combining for the first two innings, Springfield couldn’t find their groove on defense. It wasn’t until RHP Richie Snider (Illinois-Springfield commit) entered the game in the third that the Prairie Ridge lineup started to struggle. Snider was lights out on the mound, changing the complexion of the game, striking out nine and only allowing one hit in five innings of work. Snider, a 6-foot-6, 195-pound, senior, challenged hitters throughout with alively fastball that sat 88-90 mph, early, settling in at 87-88 mph. 

Tyler Vasey’s base hit in the bottom of the fifth for Prairie Ridge nearly tied the game, but the Senators were able to preserve their lead by throwing out the tying run at home. The Wolves combined for seven hits, with Vasey and 1B Jack Tobin having two each. 

The Springfield offense was led by Hartl, along with fellow seniors Adam Passmore and Luke Flesner. They all had two hits, making up over half of the Senators’ 10 hits in the game. Hartl, was 2-for-4 with a triple, three RBIs and two runs scored.

Prairie Ridge starter, sophomore Trace Vrbancic went 3.2 innings, then Nathan Koteras and Jake Larson entered the game from the bullpen. Larson pitched the final 2.2 innings for the Wolves with one hit and two strikeouts.