southtownstar
LABORIOUS 
Weather Updates

Baseball: Illinois Lutheran has one goal left after victory

Class 1a
State Baseball

At Dozer Park, Peoria

Friday’s semifinals

Bluford Webber 5,
New Athens 4

Illinois Lutheran 1,
Argenta-Oreana 0

Saturday

Third place: New Athens (19-18) vs. Argenta-Oreana (23-6),
9 a.m.

Championship: Illinois Lutheran (26-2) vs. Bluford Webber (23-7), 11:30 a.m.

Updated: June 7, 2014 5:42PM



PEORIA — Grant Farmer said he didn’t have his best stuff Friday afternoon in the Class 1A state semifinal.

Hard to believe, given the Illinois Lutheran junior right-hander yielded only two hits in six sterling innings to lead the Chargers to a 1-0 victory over Argenta-Oreana at Dozer Park.

Farmer, however, had set the bar high for himself, as he entered the Crete school’s first state semifinal appearance with a 0.25 ERA.

Still, he certainly did enough to send Illinois Lutheran (26-2) to Saturday’s Class 1A state championship against Webber (23-7).

“The biggest part for me is being able to push through when I don’t have my best stuff, like today,” Farmer said. “This was not my best stuff, by a longshot. I wasn’t finishing my curveball like I usually do.”

The 6-foot-2, 190-pound Farmer (10-0) struck out five and walked three in six innings. Then right-hander Sam Geraci, a Parkland College recruit, came in and cemented the victory by striking out two of three in the seventh to earn the save.

In six playoff games, Illinois Lutheran has allowed only five runs. For the season, the Chargers have shut out 10 opponents.

“Obviously, it was a very intense game,” Illinois Lutheran coach Mark Kjenstad said. “The type of game that has not much room for error with two outstanding pitchers. ... Once again, as has been the case all year, our pitching was great.”

The combined shutout negated a stellar performance by Argenta-Oreana (23-6) starter Gage Eller (7-1), who also threw a one-hitter with eight strikeouts and six walks.

Deadlocked in a scoreless tie, Illinois Lutheran finally broke through in the bottom of the fifth when pinch-hitter Jacob Heyn reached on a one-out walk.

Then junior catcher Dylan Gould ripped a double to left field that twisted up the left fielder and one-hopped the fence. Heyn beat the errant relay throw at the plate for the game’s only run. It also marked the Chargers’ first hit of the game.

“I thought if you paid to get in, you certainly got your money’s worth,” Argenta-Oreana coach Tom Saunches said. “They hit the ball hard, one more time than us.”

Now, Illinois Lutheran will look to bring home the school’s first state championship against a Webber club that outlasted New Athens, 5-4, in 10 innings.

“We set our goals pretty high at the beginning of the year, and we’ve been looking forward to this for a long time,” Farmer said. “There’s a lot of satisfaction of getting here, but we have to stay humble and stay hungry.”



© 2014 Sun-Times Media, LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be copied or distributed without permission. For more information about reprints and permissions, visit www.suntimesreprints.com. To order a reprint of this article, click here.