When the final out was made Wednesday in Morris' 15-2 baseball loss to St. Laurence in the Class 3A Ottawa Sectional, it put an end to the high school sports season for 2018-19.
It was an up and down year for the area, and the spring season, although very wet, was especially active.
Seneca saw senior Christopher Collet pick his second and third state titles of the year, as he won the Class 1A gold medal in both the 1,600 and 3,200 meter runs at the state meet in Charleston after winning the Class 1A cross-country gold medal in the fall. What's even more remarkable is that he had stated that was his goal way back in the fall after winning the cross country title. Winning a state title is pretty much everyone's goal when they begin a season. To do it three times in the span of a school year doesn't happen very often.
Collet was far from the only success story of the spring, however.
The Minooka girls soccer team started the season with a 3-7-2 record through 12 games, but turned things around and won the first sectional game, then the first sectional title in school history before losing a hard-fought 2-1 decision to Naperville North in the Class 3A Lewis University Supersectional and finishing with a 15-9-2 mark. Coach Chris Brolley said something magical happened midway through the season, and with the Indians going 12-2 over the final 14 games and allowing just four goals in the span, it's hard to argue with him.
In what was supposed to be a rebuilding year for the Seneca softball team, the Lady Irish won 30 games in coach Dan Stecken's final season, losing in the regional final, 1-0, to Purdue University recruit Antoinette Hill and Reed-Custer. With a load of talent coming back for next year, Stecken's replacement should be able to maintain the success he has built over the years in a stellar career.
Speaking of teriffic games in a regional final, Morris and Coal City hooked up for another on the baseball field. You can expect a close, hard-fought game any time these two area rivals get together, and this one did not disappoint in that regard.
As it did for both teams throughout the season, pitching dominated the game. Coal City's Keegan Gagliardo and Morris' Jacob Overbeck dueled pitch for pitch and out for out, with Morris holding a 2-1 lead entering the bottom of the sixth. Coal City's Connor Best tied the game with a solo home run in the bottom of the sixth, but Morris, which won 25 games this season, showed that it was a team that battled until the final out.
Alex Cameron came through with a two-run double in the top of the seventh to give the Redskins a 4-2 lead and Overbeck held the Coalers in check in the bottom half to give Morris its first regional title since 2014.
Newark's softball team also scored itself a regional title this spring, and Morris' Eli Davy advanced to the state boys tennis tournament, going 1-2. The Morris bass fishing team became just the second in IHSA history to place two boats in the top 11 at the state meet, the only other team to do so is pernnial power Highland, which is located just 30 minutes from Lake Carlyle, where the state tournament is held.
In the Class 3A boys state track meet, Minooka's Davonte Welcher finished seventh in the long jump, while in Class 1A, Newark's Connor Swanson finished third in the same event.
Seneca's girls track team finished ninth in the state in Class 1A, led by Mara Bruno, who was fourth in the 200-meter dash, fifth in the 100-meter daash, ninth in the long jump and ran in the 4x200 relay, which finished eighth, with Grace Alley, Taylor Draves and Carly Greve. Teammate Brooklyn Giertz finished fourth in the pole vault and Erica Techmanski was ninth in the shot put. The 4x800 relay of Audrey Jenkins, Alley, Natalie Carajohn and Amber Vroman also finished eighth.