Sacred Heart received a warm welcome Saturday night upon returning from the IESA Class 1A State Tournament in East Peoria.
Escorted by a police car and fire truck, players from the Shamrocks baseball team sat on the back of two pick-up trucks as the community greeted them. They just completed a 14-4 season and were treated like champions as a result, despite losing in the quarterfinals.
Sacred Heart lost to Royal Praireview Ogden, 7-5, in a game that could have gone in the Shamrocks favor.
Leading 2-0 after the top of the first, Sacred Heart's Jude Traub started the rally with a single up the middle.
Traub then advanced to second after a passed ball, before Michael Wright drew a walk.
Showing off his baserunning, Traub then stole third base and then scored on another passed ball that made it 1-0. Wright moved up to second on the passed ball, as well.
Then, one pitch later, Wright advanced to third after a wild pitch and later scored on the third passed ball of the inning.
The Shamrocks had something cooking early, but nothing came of that momentum.
It took four more innings for Sacred Heart to push another run across the plate, and during that stretch, Royal Praireview Ogden plated a pair to tie the game.
Parker Fitch hit a solo home run in the bottom of the third to cut the deficit to one run. Then, Lane McKinney hit an RBI single -- in the bottom of the fourth -- that scored Vance McComas to tie the game.
On one swing of the bat, though, the Shamrocks ended all of Royal Prarieview Ogden's momentum. At least they thought.
In the top of the fifth, Deagan Mooney led off the frame with a groundout to second base. Then, William Hecht drew a walk, and Austin Borries hit a single to left field to bring up Traub with one out and a runner in scoring position.
After fouling off three-straight pitches, Traub got the offering he wanted, as he deposited a three-run home run over the centerfield fence that gave Sacred Heart a 5-2 lead, but only for a brief moment.
In the bottom half of the inning, Fitch started the Royal Prairieview Ogden rally with a single. Coy Hayes then drew a walk before Kaden Wedig hit a groundball to the second baseman. The Shamrocks' infielder, though, couldn't make the play, allowing a run to score and making it 5-3.
That same error allowed Hayes to reach third and Wedig to second, with McComas due up, and it wouldn't be the last time an error cost Sacred Heart.
On the third pitch McComas saw, he hit a ground ball to first base. The first baseman, though, couldn't handle the grounder either, leading to both runners crossing and tying the game.
Errors continuously haunt the Shamrocks, who finished with four miscues in the loss. Royal Praireview Ogden scored four runs off of Sacred Heart errors, as well.