Geneseo wins state crown

Amy Boldt
State Champs members of the Geneseo Cal Ripken team are front row, from left: Ethan Radue, Alex Craig, Nevada Nilsson, Zac Alexander, Jeremy May, Adam Stenzel, Reed Buysse, Trevor Craig and Lucas Knepp. Back row, from left: Coach Bill Craig, Joe Thomas, Matt Rowley, Rayce Singbush, coach Scott May, Zak White, Zach Mackey, Billy Converse and coach Dave Knepp.

The Geneseo?Cal Ripken 12-year-old baseball team captured the Cal Ripken State Tournament Championship July 10 to 13 in Mattoon. This marks the first time a Geneseo baseball team has won a state title.

Geneseo won the double-elimination title with a 3-2 victory over Mattoon. This tournament championship clinched the squad a berth in the Ohio Valley Regional Tournament at Mattoon July 25 to 29.

On July 10, Geneseo started off the tournament with a 9-4 win over Wabash Valley. Billy Converse pitched the win and Reed Buysse recorded the save. Geneseo received big hits from Rayce Singbush with two home runs and Joe Thomas with one and two doubles. Zak White added a triple and a double, while Ethan Radue stretched out a double.

Geneseo then shutdown Casey on July 11 with a 10-0 victory and Nevada Nilsson was the winning pitcher. Those contributing extra base hits were White with a home run and a double, Buysse, a triple and Alex Craig with two doubles and Jeremy May and Zac Alexander each with one double.

On July 12, Geneseo emerged with a 7-6 win over Mattoon and Singbush recorded the win on the hill. At the plate for Geneseo, Singbush and White both crushed home runs, while Thomas belted out a triple.

Geneseo suffered its first loss of the tournament by a score of 12-3 at the hands of Mattoon on July 13.  Mattoon drove in one run in the first and one in the third, while Geneseo got on the board with one run in the bottom of the third. Geneseo tied the game with one run in the fourth, but Mattoon countered with four runs of its own in the fifth. Mattoon knocked in six more runs in the sixth, while Geneseo scored one.

Geneseo ended the contest with five hits, including a home run and a double by Singbush and a double by Matt Rowley. Billy Converse received the loss on the mound.

In the championship contest, Geneseo bounced back with a 3-2 win in seven innings for the title. Geneseo scored the first run of the game in the first, but Mattoon tied the game with one run in the third and then took the lead with one in the fourth, 2-1. Geneseo tied the game back up with one run in the fifth and won the game in the bottom of the seventh as Trevor Craig crossed the plate.

Geneseo finished the game with six hits, including a home run by  Thomas, along with two doubles. Singbush was the winning pitcher.

The game Most Valuable Player award went to Thomas, while the tournament MVP was awarded to Singbush. Making the All-Tournament team were Thomas, White and the Geneseo parents.

Geneseo will next play the winner of the Eastern Kentucky/Southern Indiana game at 10 a.m. July 26 in the regional tournament. Fans can follow the team on the web at