PEORIA — There was no comeback magic for a third straight game for the Alleman Pioneers in the baseball semifinals of the Class 2A state tournament on Saturday at Dozer Park.
However, they may need some magic when they come back to the minor-league stadium today for the third-place game, with a forecast of rain looming from noon on.
Alleman will be playing for a third-place trophy after falling to the Teutopolis Wooden Shoes, 7-2, in the second semifinal of the night. The Pioneers will face Aurora Christian, which lost to Pleasant Plains in the first 2A state game.
As of late Friday, the IHSA planned to continue the final day of the state tournament as scheduled, with the Class 1A third-place game and championship game going at 9 and 11 a.m., with the 2A third-place game and title games being played at 3 and 5 p.m. However, the IHSA added the caveat to watch the organization’s web site to see if that changes based on what weather radar might show.
Alleman captured second place in 2012, a fourth in 1997 and will be bringing home its third state baseball trophy — the most of any Western Big Six baseball team — no matter what happens today.
After winning the sectional championship with a run in the bottom of the seventh inning and the super-sectional despite being down 4-0 through just an inning and a half, it seemed as if the Pioneers (27-14) had the Shoes (27-8-1) right where they wanted them.
The Pioneers fell behind 2-0 through two innings, with Teutopolis leaving two runners on base in the first and a runner at third in the second.
It truly looked like another Alleman comeback when runs came in the third and fourth to tie the game at 2. The problem there was, though, it could easily have been a Pioneer lead, and even by a few. In the third, CJ Terronez opened the inning with a walk and moved to second on a wild pitch. Jono Berry also walked, and an error loaded the bases with two outs. However, all the Pioneers could muster was a run produced by a bases-loaded walk to Chase VanDerGinst.
Teutopolis starter Dawson Smith (7-1) had walked just a dozen batters in 48 innings of work this season, however he had five by the time the Pioneers had gotten through the fourth. Dominic Ferrari doubled off the Dozer left-field wall and Xavier Lara followed with that fifth walk. After a pair of strikeouts, pinch-runner Tyler Estes scooted home when Anthony Glancey’s fly ball to left field was lost in the lights and fell untouched. Alleman left two runners on in that inning.
That was the end of Alleman’s stretch of postseason, come-from-behind magic.
Teutopolis regained the lead in the bottom of the fourth, getting a clutch pinch-hit, run-scoring single by Evan Addis, batting for No. 9 hitter Justin Hardick.
The Wooden Shoes piled on a pair of runs in both the fifth and sixth innings, none of which were earned.
Two of Teutopolis’ runs came home on wild pitches with runners at third base. Another scored when a stolen base attempt ended with the throw going into center field.
Alleman managed just four hits off of Smith, who struck out 10.