Geneseo Baseball wins Sectional first time in history

Claudia Loucks
P.J. Moser
Geneseo baseball team winners of 2021 Sectionals

Friday (June 11) was Geneseo’s Day on the baseball field. The Leafs beat Dixon, 13-3, in the Class 3A Geneseo Sectional held at Stone Field in Geneseo’s Richmond Hill Park. The win for Geneseo made school history as winning the Sectional is a first for the Leafs.

Geneseo was seeded fifth in the pairings and Dixon Dukes were seeded second and with the win, the Leafs will face the number one seed, Washington, on Monday in Geneseo.

In commenting about the game against Dixon, Geneseo Coach Joe Nichols said, “We played our best game of the year last night and I hope we can play even better on Monday (June 14). It is very satisfying to see our guys get the chance to compete and do well throughout this entire run. They are more than baseball players, they are better people, and they deserve this very much.”

Nichols also expressed appreciation to the community and said, “We appreciate how much the community has come out to support us and we hope we are making Geneseo proud!”

The path to victory began with this pandemic-altered season and had the Leafs playing three games this week.

After claiming the Class 3A Regional title in a win against top-seeded Rockford Boylan on Monday, June 7, in Geneseo, the Leafs marched on to take down third-seeded Hampshire on Wednesday, June 9, in Geneseo. That win put them in competition for the Sectional title which they played Dixon won on Friday, June 11, and began preparing for the next step – facing the No. 1 seed Washington, on Monday, June 14, at Geneseo.

The Rice twins, Charlie and Carson, both pitchers for the Leafs, were unable to pitch in the June 11 game because they had reached their limit of innings in the two previous games.

Jake Nelms, a junior, and Hannon Newkirk, a senior, each had turns on the pitcher’s mound in the game against Dixon.

The Geneseo team, which includes 11 seniors, took charge of the situation against the Dixon Dukes, wining 13-3, to claim the Sectional honors.

PJ Moser is one of those seniors, who plays first base and pitcher, and who scored three runs in Friday’s game in addition to one RBI.

“I thought we were pretty confident going into the game,” Moser said. “We had prepared well this week in the heat and we had put in a lot of work in the off season, working out and having open gym and hitting in the GPAC facility.”

“After a game and after practices, a lot of the guys and the coaches say to one another, ‘come back tomorrow ready to work,’ and I think saying that to one another has paid off,” Moser said. “We have been ready to work and we don’t give up. We don’t get down ourselves and we didn’t get down on ourselves when we found out we were the fifth-seed in the Regional. We felt we could have been higher and we rose to the occasion.”

Looking ahead to the game with Washington on Monday, Moser said, “It’s a team we played before in the third or fourth game of this season, and we have a feeling of what they bring to the table.”

He said they are “one of the best teams in Peoria and they probably are one of the best teams, if not the best that we have played this year…It should be a good game and we are up for it. We got our best guys on the mound and I am sure they will have their best too.”