In some ways, a laid-back, all-star baseball event provided redemption for Sherrard’s Jake Friichtenicht, Rock Island Alleman’s John Barrett and their Illinois teammates.
Their Iowa counterparts annually are the beneficiary of a built-in advantage — playing its high school ball in the summer — but Illinois notched 4-2 and 7-2 triumphs for its first All Star Senior Classic doubleheader sweep of Iowa since 2006.
The Iowa side had won six of the past seven meetings, all at Modern Woodmen Park.
“We didn’t really know what to expect, since Iowa just got done with their season,” Friichtenicht said. “We came in wanting to win this one.”
Friichtenicht, who will play at Black Hawk College, and his fellow all-star teammates from Sherrard — Trace Gingerich, Mike Baugh and Bryce Frenell — were hungry after bowing out in the 2012 Class 2A playoffs to the eventual state runner-up.
“The end of high school was rough, losing to Alleman,” Friichtenicht said. “But Legion (summer baseball) was nice to get away, it’s not as intense. We practice once a week, play on the weekends.”
The Tigers got to team up with some of those Pioneers — Barrett, Blake Newberg and Matt Schissel — who still felt a bit raw from succumbing the state championship in extra innings.
So to Barrett, who will walk on at Iowa, the sweep was special.
“We take them as we get them, and we lost, but we look it as a great, successful season,” Barrett said. “(Modern Woodmen) is definitely a fun atmosphere.”
Friichtenicht was 1-for-3 with a two-run double, three walks and three runs scored. Baugh drove in a run in each victory.
North Scott’s Colby Sorensen and Rockridge left-hander Cody Hinson dueled in Game 1, without a hit allowed until the top of the fourth when No. 10 batter Sage Wetteland from Rockridge knocked a single to left.
The big blast, individually, was reserved for Assumption’s Luke Powers, who ripped the first pitch delivered by Schissel into the berm in left field in Game 1.
“The lefty was throwing us a little off, then he brought in a righty, so we had to get our hacks somehow,” Powers said. “That’d be my top home run. I grew up in Davenport, I remember back when this was called John O’Donnell, so I’ve always loved this ballpark.”
Davenport North shortstop Cooper Roehm had a diving grab and throw to nab Moline’s Nick Runco, to save a run.
Moline’s state championship Legion squad was introduced to the crowd in between the pair of games.