Stew-Stras vs. Tri-County (6 p.m., Arcola Sectional)
Stew-Stras head coach Ronda Schlechte was impressed by Tri-County’s defense after losing to them during sectionals last season, but this year is different – now, the Comets’ defense is getting rave reviews.
Neoga assistant coach Julie Fritcher said last week that Stew-Stras has a great defense and described it in a similar way to how Schlechte describes Tri-County’s defense.
“They’re really quick and they pull everything up,” Schlechte said. “I’m always talking to the girls about how there are things we can improve on and defense is one of those things.”
The Comets enter Tuesday’s Arcola Sectional against Tri-County on a two-game winning streak against the team that ended its season last year, beating them this summer and during September’s Crossroads Classic, 25-22 and 25-21.
Schlechte said the summer victory against Tri-County was a big momentum boost for her squad, knowing it could play against Tri-County, which lost to the eventual state champion last year, Keith Country Day School in Rockford.
Stew-Stras will look to beat Tri-County for a third time on Tuesday, which Schlechte said is a difficult to task because the teams are so familiar with each other.
However, the Comets advanced to Tuesday’s sectional by beating Neoga for the regional championship last week, which was the Comets’ third time beating the Indians this season.
“I hope the girls just come into the game, knowing it’s going to be intense,” Schlechte said. “(Tri-County) can play some volleyball. They’re a good team.”
The Comets play at 6 p.m. in Arcola on Tuesday, looking to win and advance to the sectional championship on Thursday, which will be against either Heritage or Arthur-Lovington.
St. Anthony vs. Robinson (7 p.m., Newton Sectional)
St. Anthony hasn’t played Robinson, who won its program’s first regional championship last week, and head coach Kristie Bailey said she doesn’t know much about about the Maroons.
Robinson won the Newton Regional as the third seed, beating Lawrenceville, Casey-Westfield and Newton en route to Tuesday’s matchup against St. Anthony.
Bailey said she’s confident in her team moving forward, even though she doesn’t know a lot about Robinson, because of the way the Bulldogs played in regionals.
“It’s hard because we’ve never played them,” Bailey said. “We did really good things in practice and came out and played almost flawless.”
The Bulldogs beat Pana and Shelbyville to advance to tonight’s game. They made quick work of Shelbyville to win the regional championship, 25-18 and 25-10.
Bailey said her team is going to have to come out on top of its game Tuesday to keep its season alive. The Bulldogs and Maroon start at 7 p.m. in Newton. The other semifinal will be played at 6 p.m. between Edwardsville Metro East Lutheran and Carlinville.
South Central vs. Cisne (7 p.m., Lebanon Sectional)
South Central will see Cisne for the first time this season on Tuesday, but got their with its share of challenges in two regional games last week.
The Cougars beat Patoka in two sets, but by two points in each set, and won the regional championship against North Clay in three sets, winning the first and third sets.
South Central head coach Mary Brimberry said her team in playing with a lot of confidence, as the Cougars look for their second sectional championship in three years, winning it two years ago.
Even so, Brimberry said she doesn’t know much about the Cisne squad the Cougars will be up against, besides that they have a good record and a good middle block, headed up by Chynna Byars.
Tuesday’s game is at 7 p.m. in Lebanon and the winner will play in the sectional championship against either Woodlawn or Lebanon on Thursday.
Stew-Stras vs. Tri-County (6 p.m., Arcola Sectional)
Effingham football coach Mike McDonald to retire at year's end
The idea of retirement has been on Effingham football coach Mike McDonald's mind for a while.
But he's finally acting on it, as McDonald announced that he plans to retire as the head coach of the Flaming Hearts at the end of the 2014 season.
Switching it up; Newton's Mammoser trying his hands at switch pitching
American Legion fans around the central Illinois area have started to hear of Newton’s Brock Mammoser.
The pole vaulter, point guard and quarterback also finds time for the baseball field, and while he routinely sat in the middle of the order for Post 20 played shortstop and first base with flair, there’s one thing everyone came back to.
He’s a switch pitcher. Mammoser took to the mound left and right for Newton, literally, pitching games with both his left and his right arm.
It all started with a half-hearted suggestion a few years back.
Czachorski: Extra innings intrigue unmatched
Obscenely long baseball games are my kryptonite. Once I get sucked in, it’s impossible for me to stop watching until it’s over. It doesn’t matter if it’s the Cubs, the Cardinals, the Astros or the Mariners — if it’s on TV and it’s going into the twelfth inning or later, you can bet I’m finding a way to tune in.
Newton's season ends in 14-4 loss
Newton Post 20 almost pulled another comeback off against the Orient Miners, cutting a 5-1 deficit to 5-4 midway through Monday night’s game.
But Newton’s Junior Legion Fifth Division tournament run came to an end, as Orient rattled off nine runs in the sixth inning and clinched a spot in the state tournament with a 14-4 win.
Comeback win keeps Post 20 alive in 10-7 win
Newton Post 120 didn’t let a 4-1 deficit get to them against Highland Post 439, using a patient approach in the face of an elimination game.
Three bases-loaded walks in the bottom of the third tied the game at 4-4, and with the bases loaded down 5-4 in the fourth, Tim Weber broke the game open with a two-run double and an error.
By the time the dust settled, Newton led 10-5 heading to the sixth inning and would hold on to a 10-7 win to keep its season alive.
Salem deals Newton first divisional loss
Mitch Bierman started off Newton Post 20’s game against Salem Post 128 with a bang Sunday afternoon, hitting a leadoff triple and scoring on the next batter.
Post 20’s offense didn’t follow his lead from there, as Newton had just three more hits and no runs, and falling in a Junior Legion Fifth Division winner’s bracket game to Salem 12-1 in seven innings.
Newton Post 20 bests Belleville Post 58 in opener 6-1
After a 9-3 loss to Breese Post 252 Gray Monday night, Newton Post 20 coach John Grunloh predicted the five-day break until the Junior Legion Fifth Division tournament would be good for his players, especially his pitchers.Mitch Jansen proved his coach right, spinning a gem in Newton's opener Saturday afternoon as Post 20 made short work of Belleville Post 58 6-1.
Hearts to prep with Mattoon 7-on-7
Two weeks ago, Effingham was supposed to start shaking off the rust with a 7-on-7 football tournament in Mattoon. Naturally, it rained and was canceled.
So Saturday, the Flaming Hearts will head up to Mattoon and play their first 7-on-7 event of the season, taking part in an 10- team field with Mattoon, Rochester, Robinson, Marshall, Cahokia and Pleasant Plains from Illinois, with Terre Haute North and Northview coming from Indiana. Rochester is bringing two squads.
Newton Post 20 plays Belleville Saturday
With the District 23 tournament behind them, Newton Post 20 now knows its fate for the Fifth Division Junior Legion tournament this weekend in Bethalto.
Newton will play Belleville Post 58 at 2:45 p.m. Saturday afternoon in Bethalto, in the third game of six on the day.
Effingham's season comes to a close with 11-1 loss to Salem
A 1-0 lead for Effingham Post 120 rapidly evaporated, and the post’s Junior Legion season came to an end with a 11-1 loss in five innings to Salem Post 128 Tuesday night.
The game was for the final spot of District 23 in the divisional tournament, with Newton Post 20 and Breese Post 252 Gray punching their tickets by winning their district divisions.
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