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|Teams Trying to Make Most Out of First State Appearances
|POSTED 10:24 a.m. A couple of high school baseball teams in the Class 4A state tournament in Joliet are hoping to make history this weekend.
Silver Cross Field in Joliet is again hosting the state tournament this year. The games begin Friday morning with the Class 3A semifinals, followed by the 4A semifinals in the afternoon.
Two of the four Class 4A teams have never been to the state tournament. Stevenson Lincolnshire (34-3) meets Naperville Central (36-4) in the first semifinal game at 3:00 Friday afternoon. Huntley (29-9) is also a first-timer at state. The Red Raiders take on last year's Class 4A runner-up Chicago St. Rita.
Lincolnshire has has solid back-to-back seasons. The Patriots made it all the way to the sectional championship game last year and lost to Barrington, finishing with a 29-7 record after a 15-16 campaign in 2007 under coach Paul Mazzuca.
The Patriots advanced to state by winning its own regional, the Barrington Sectional and the Rockford Supersectional against Park Ridge Maine South 5-1.
Naperville Central won the state title in 2006 under current coach Bill Seiple, who's in his 29th year at the school. The Red Hawks' only other state appearance was in 1969 when the school was known as Naperville Hgh School.
Huntley, a McHenry County school not affiliated with a conference, advanced to the 4A semifinals by winning the Algonquin Jacobs Regional by combined scores of 32-2, the Larkin Sectional (wins against Rockton Hononegah and Cary Grove) and the Rockford Supersectional at RiverHawks Stadium with a 2-1 victory against Wheaton North.
The program has taken off in the past four years under coach Andy Jakubowski. Huntley finished with an 11-24 record in 2006, improved to 17-18 in 2007, 20-15 in 2008 then won 30 games in 2009 before losing to Cary Grove in the sectional semifinals. The Red Raiders got revenge against C-G the second time around - in the sectional championship game - winning 5-4 on June 5th.
Huntley's opponent, Chicago St. Rita, lost in last year's state championship game to Winnetka New Trier. The Mustangs are making their fourth appearance at state under head coach and athletic director Mike Zunica. St. Rita didn't place in 2004 and 2007.
All of the Class 3A semifinalists have been to the state tournament. Friday's matchups are:
Joliet Catholic Academy (23-14)
Chatham Glenwood (30-4) @ 10:00 a-m
> Joliet and Glenwood met in last year's state championship game won by Joliet. It was the Hilltoppers' second state title and this year is the school's 11th state appearance; Glenwood won it all in 1996, finished second both last year and in 1995 and claimed fourth place in 2003 in four previous trips to state.
Woodstock Marian (27-9) @ Noon
> The Barbs are making their second state appearance and first since 1995 - seeking first trophy at state; Woodstock is at state four the fourth time - like DeKalb, the Hurricanes have never brought home a trophy
- The third place game is Saturday at 9 a-m followed by the state championship game
(WGIL Sports Story by Mike Perry)