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Geneseo Republic - Geneseo, IL
  • Leafs win NIB 12 championship

  • The Geneseo varsity baseball team went 3-1 in action this past and also claimed its first conference title in 16 years.
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  • The Geneseo varsity baseball team went 3-1 in action this past and also claimed its first conference title in 16 years.
    “(The conference championship) is a great accomplishment and a testament to the players especially because they are the ones who have to perform on the field,” said head coach Steve Brucher. “A lot of credit goes to the coaches at the sophomore, freshman and youth levels who taught them the game of baseball. It is gratifying to me to see this group get rewarded for all the time they put in.”
    Geneseo vs. UT
    The Leafs sent their seniors out on a high note May 20 when Geneseo knocked off visiting UT, 10-1 at Stone Field.
    “We came out ready to play and they did a good job of staying in the moment and taking care of the task at hand,” said Brucher.
    Geneseo jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first inning, and drove in three more runs in the bottom of the second to go ahead 4-0.
    The Leafs plated three runs in the bottom of the fourth; while UT got on the board in the top of the fifth with one run.
    Geneseo responded with two runs of its own in the bottom of the fifth and pushed one more run across the plate in the bottom of the sixth for the win.
    Jonathan Dahl pitched the win as he allowed one hit, one run and struck out three; while Drew Himmelman gave up no hits, no runs and struck out three.
    Offensively, Adam Stenzel (2 RBIs), Rayce Singbush (5 RBIs), Jeremy May and Alex Craig (1 RBI) led the team with two hits apiece with a double from Singbush.
    Matt Rowley, Cooper Humphries (1 RBI), Trevor Craig, Zak White and Lucas Knepp all chipped in one hit with a double from Humphries; while Mike Murray finished with an RBI.
    Geneseo vs. Ottawa
    In their final conference game of the season, the Leafs put forth a record-breaking performance.
    Geneseo captured the school’s first baseball conference title since 1998, and set a new school record for wins in a season with an overall record of 23-6-1 when the Leafs defeated Ottawa, 5-2 May 19 at Stone Field.
    “After the set back on Saturday, we knew we had a share of the title, but we had one game to clinch it outright,” said Brucher. “Part of me thinks this group plays a little better when they have a little more pressure on them. They have the ability to raise the level of play when it matters most.”
    Page 2 of 3 - After a scoreless first inning, the Leafs drove in two runs in the bottom of the second to go ahead 2-0. Geneseo plated two more runs in the bottom of the third to extend its lead to 4-0.
    Ottawa got on the board in the top of the fourth with two runs off two home runs to make it a 4-2 ball game.
    The Leafs pushed one run across the plate in the bottom of the sixth, and held off the Pirates in the top of the seventh to earn the win.
    Billy Converse pitched the complete game to earn the win as he allowed three hits, two runs and struck out three.
    “The keys were Billy, who deserves an unbelieveable amount of credit, because he went 6-0 in conference and all were complete games. He does a great job of staying in the moment and doesn’t look ahead or back,” said Brucher. “Lane Akre had a big two-run double in the second that let us exhale for a bit and was a confidence boost, and then we were able to add a few more runs.”
    Leading the offense at the plate were Stenzel (1 RBI), Murray (1 RBI), Lane Akre (2 RBIs) and Alex Craig, all with two hits, which included a double from Akre.
    Rowley, Singbush, Humphries and Greg Rusk chipped in one hit each with a triple from Singbush; while Trevor Craig finished with an RBI.
    Geneseo vs. LaSalle-Peru
    Geneseo struggled at home over the weekend as the Leafs were shut out by LaSalle-Peru, 6-0 May 17.
    “L-P just played better than us,” said Brucher. “They executed well and got a couple of hits when they needed them. We had more runners on base, but just didn’t capitalize.”
    The Cavaliers (the home team in the game) struck first with three runs in the bottom of the second, and drove in two more in the bottom of the third for a 5-0 lead. L-P scored one more run in the bottom of the fifth, and the Leafs were unable to push any runs across the plate.
    Zach Alexander recorded the loss on the hill as he allowed nine hits, six runs and struck out five; while Dahl gave up no hits, no runs and struck out two.
    The Leafs were held to six hits for the game as Humphries and Rusk led the team with two hits apiece; while Trevor Craig and Akre each chipped in one hit.
    Geneseo vs. LaSalle-Peru
    The Leafs clinched a share of the conference crown with an 11-1 victory over LaSalle-Peru May 13 on the road.
    Page 3 of 3 - “This game was the pivotal game because L-P threw their ace, and the key there was L-P scored an unearned run in the second, and we scored five times in the third,” said Brucher. “The big blow was Cooper’s two-run homer, which sparked us in that game.”
    LaSalle-Peru struck first with one run in the bottom of the second, but the Leafs responded the next inning when they plated five runs to take the 5-1 lead led by a two-run homer by Humphries.
    Geneseo tacked on three more runs in the top of the fourth to go ahead 8-1, and scored another in the sixth. The Leafs capped off the night with two runs in the top of the seventh highlighted by a home run by Singbush.
    Rusk pitched the complete game for the win as he allowed four hits, one run and struck out eight.
    Akre (3 RBIs) led the team with four hits, which included one double; while Humphries (2 RBIs) added three hits, which included a two-run home run.
    Singbush (1 RBI), Rowley (2 RBIs), Trevor Craig and May (1 RBI) chipped in two hits apiece with a home run by Singbush; while Stenzel (1 RBI), Murray and Alex Craig (1 RBI) finished with one hit each.
    The Leafs (24-6-1 overall and 13-2 in the NIB 12) will be in action this weekend at the Galesburg Invite against East Peoria today at 5:30 p.m. and Dunlap at 2 p.m. and Galesburg at 4 p.m. May 24.
    “The biggest thing (about this weekend) is we need to get our pitchers some work so they are ready for regionals, and keep our regulars sharp,” said Brucher. “With three games it also gives us the opportunity to get some other guys some field time and at bats.”
    The Leafs begin postseason play in the IVC Regional at 7 p.m. May 28 against Galesburg.
    “Once you get to the postseason it is always hard because there is no tomorrow,” said Brucher. “You have to play with a sense of urgency, and that has been the best thing about these last few series because they were played like postseason games, and with that the more comfortable you become.”

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