CHARLESTON — Area athletes braved howling winds and soggy conditions during Thursday's Class 1A IHSA boys track and field preliminaries at Eastern Illinois University, and many local participants were able to ignore Mother Nature and turn in finals-worthy performances.Neoga paced area teams in competition, as Derek Williamson and Corey Kersey each qualified for Saturday's state finals in two separate events.Williamson had a full slate of events on the track, running in the 100, 200 and 400-meter dash. After the Neoga senior started slow in the 100, finishing fourth in the first heat and 15th overall, Williamson rebounded with a great race in the 400.Again in the first heat, Williamson made his move around 200 meters, and outlasted Winslow's Tevin Sellers down the stretch, to win his heat with a time of 50.52. The mark would qualify as the seventh best time of the day, assuring his spot in Saturday's finals.Williamson turned in perhaps his gutsiest performance in the 200, after already racing a gauntlet of a schedule, finishing third in the second heat with a time of 22.61. The time was .02 seconds faster than Hales Fanciscan's Joe Morrow to qualify for the ninth and final spot in the 200-meter dash finals.Kersey also had a busy day, participating on the Neoga 4x100-relay squad and in both the long jump and triple jump. Kersey, the state's top sectional qualifier in the triple jump, performed like a man on a mission. He jumped 45 feet, three inches to win the preliminaries and advance to the state finals as the top seed.In the long jump, Kersey leaped 20 feet, eight inches, landing in 10th place overall. The mark was good enough to assure that he, along with Williamson, would have a busy Saturday qualifying in two events.Triple jump success was not limited to Kersey, however, as Windsor's Jacob Pfeiffer also qualified for the finals. Pfeiffer turned in a jump of 42 feet, 1.5 inches to finish 11th. Newton's Brandon Tolliver-Goode was one of 14 competitors to clear the 13-foot mark in the pole vault, securing his spot in Saturday's finals.Jason Fry was solid in the shot put, with his best effort of 58 feet, six inches good enough for an eighth-place showing and a berth in the state finals.The last local qualifier for the final day of the season was Cumberland's Tye Sutherland. Taking on a first team all-state performer in Robinson's Blake Hale, Sutherland raced the favorite neck-and-neck down the last 100 meters of heat one in the 800-meter run. Hale emerged victorious by just 0.74 seconds, but Sutherland's blistering time of 1:58.67 gave him a fifth-place finish to move to the finals.For Teutopolis, Austin McWhorter finished 12th in the pole vault (12-06), Cody Heuerman placed 21st in the triple jump (39-10.25) and Kyle Blievernicht narrowly missed the finals in the 400 with an 11th-place showing (51.27).St. Anthony's Peter Keller and Andrew Gardewine each raced in the 1600-meter run, with Gardewine leading the first heat through the first two laps. But Keller and the rest of the field caught up to Gardewine's pace, as Keller finished sixth in his heat and 17th overall (4:36.09), while Gardewine crossed seventh in his heat and 18th overall (4:37.11).Altamont's Andrew Sharp placed fifteenth in the same event, crossing the finish line with a time of 4:35.21. Jason Becker finished 13th in the 300-meter hurdles with his time of 41.33, while Teutopolis' Riley Drees came in 31st at 43.54. The 4x200 relay team of Justin Hunt, Nick Bierman, Tyler Windell and Cody Heuerman placed 22nd for the Wooden Shoes. Newton's Dylan Davison finished 17th in the triple jump (40-08.25), and the 4x100 relay team of Dylan Johnson, Marcus Pilman, Austin Gowin and Austin Angel placed 11th (44.59). The same relay team finished ninth in the 4x200 at 1:33.24. The Pirates' 4x800 relay team of Ethan Kemper, Charles Ault, Keegan Sutherland and Tye Sutherland ran a time of 9:03.71 to finish 24th. Neoga's 4x100 team of Kersey, Caleb Abernathy, David Abernathy and Williamson placed 14th at 44.68.
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.
Newton Post 20 falls short against Breese Gray 9-3
While the District 23 title ultimately exceeded Newton Post 20’s grasp, their season will continue in Bethalto.
Newton took on Breese Post 252 Gray for the Junior Legion District 23 title as the two division winners, but Breese’s bats proved too much for Newton in an 9-3 loss for Post 20.
“The innings where they put some runs on us, we gave them some extra outs,” said Newton coach John Grunloh. “You’ve got to make the plays when you play better teams.”
Barnes' one-hitter boosts Post 120; Effingham beats Dieterich 1-0
Ryan Barnes hasn’t seen a lot of time with Effingham Post 120’s junior legion team this season, but he showed up in a big way Monday night in a 1-0 win over Dieterich Post 628.
The win kept Effingham’s season alive one more day in the Junior Legion District 23 tournament, as the post will face Salem Post 128 at 5:30 p.m. today for the district’s final spot in the divisional round. Salem Post 128 downed Mt. Vernon Post 141 1-0 in the West Division loser’s bracket, setting up the final with Effingham today.
Newton Post 20 tops Effingham Post 120 7-5 late
Most of the games at the Junior Legion District 23 tournament have seen pitching take control, but the pitchers in Sunday night's Effingham Post 120/Newton Post 20 game faced an uphill battle.
While Brock Mammoser started the game for Post 20 on the hill and struggled, he came through with the biggest hit in the game, putting Newton up for good in a 7-5 win over Effingham.
Dieterich Post 628 eliminates Teutopolis Post 924 3-2
Errors proved to be Teutpolis Post 924's undoing against Dieterich Post 628, as Dieterich's sixth-inning rally in an 3-2 win were boosted by three Teutopolis errors
To lead off the sixth, Trenton Poe reached on an error by Brock Bueker, and came around to score on an infield single by Ryan Radloff with a throwing error on Bueker. Poe was already on third when the ball went in the Teutopolis dugout, awarding Poe home to tie the game.
Bryce McClain followed with an RBI single to score Radloff and put Post 628 up for good. Dieterich scored again on a Briar Schmidt groundout where first baseman Brant Bueker tried to get an inning-ending out at second, but the throw was wild and brought home McClain.
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