Alleman's aggressive mentality was evident right from the start, and it's a mindset the Pioneers hope to carry deep into the postseason.
The Pioneers rolled to an 11-1 win over Annawan-Wethersfield in an Illinois Class 2A regional semifinal Wednesday at Gerard's Yard. Alleman will host the winner of today's game between Mendota and Erie-Prophetstown on Saturday at 11 a.m.
"That's something we've been carrying on the whole year, stay aggressive at the plate and on the basepaths, and we continue to do that," senior Chris McFarland said. "I think if we take care of what's going on in our dugout and on our end of the field, we'll be fine whoever we face."
McFarland went 3 for 3 on the day with two stolen bases and two RBIs, including one in the first inning that helped give the Pioneers a 3-0 lead. Alleman batted around and scored five runs in the third inning, then two more runs in the bottom of the fourth.
Annawan-Wethersfield extended the game by scoring an unearned run in the top of the fifth, but Sam Mattecheck hit an RBI double to end the game with no outs in the bottom of the inning.
The Pioneers (28-5) finished with 13 hits and five stolen bases.
"We told our guys, we don't want to change our mentality just because it's the postseason. We've been aggressive since the beginning in most facets of the game," Alleman head coach Jerry Burkhead said. "Our guys did a good job keeping that mentality. They were loose, and we wanted to put the pressure on, and they did a good job of doing that."
Jono Berry (6-1) matched that aggressiveness on the mound for the Pioneers, needing just 55 pitches to complete the five innings, allowing two hits and one unearned run.
Berry only struck out two batters but pitched to contact, letting his defense do the rest.
"My mentality going out there was getting us in quick so we could get back on offense and score some runs," Berry said. "I had complete confidence in my offense, knowing they can go out there, hit the ball and score some runs for me."
Annawan-Wethersfield (10-17) finished a season full of ups and downs, but there's potential. The Titans graduate four seniors from their starting lineup but had a freshman starting at shortstop and a sophomore at second base.
Coach Logan Willits hopes experiences like Wednesday's can provide enough motivation for his team to try and reach the level the Pioneers are already at.
"They're by far one of the best 2A teams, if not in the conversation for best 2A team out here, and they did everything right today," Willits said. "That's what we want to look like. Not just how they physically look — because they've been in the weight room they're bigger, faster and stronger than us — but also in the way we do things.
"Everything they were doing was a good example for what we want to be and it's going to take hard work to get there."