Class 1A baseball state tournament: GCMS in Final Four

May 30—All four teams will leave Peoria on Saturday with a state trophy. But only one — either Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley, Altamont, Jacksonville Routt or Ottawa Marquette — will leave with a state championship. Sports Editor Matt Daniels has a quick snapshot into all four Class 1A baseball teams still playing before first pitch arrives Friday at Dozer Park in downtown Peoria:

➜ Record: 22-7-1

➜ Coach: Dustin White (304-301-4 record in his 21st season at GCMS)

➜ How they got here: By making history. The Falcons shut out Annawan/Wethersfield 3-0 on Monday in Bloomington in the program's first super-sectional game. That followed a 7-1 win against Mt. Pulaski this past Saturday in a sectional title game in Arcola and an 8-5 win against host Arcola on May 22 in a sectional semifinal game. The Falcons beat Milford 9-1 on May 21 to win a regional title in Grant Park and opened the postseason with a 15-1 win against Illinois Lutheran on May 15 in Grant Park.

➜ Their top hitter is ... Brayden Elliott. The 6-foot, 170-pound junior — who is also the Falcons' quarterback in football and one of their top scorers on the basketball court — brings a .430 average with two home runs, 41 RBI and 10 doubles into Friday's state semifinal game with Altamont.

➜ Their top pitcher is ... either Elliott or Graydon Leonard. Elliott carries a 6-0 record with a 1.98 ERA in a team-high 53 innings to go along with 76 strikeouts and 17 walks. Leonard, a 6-3, 200-pound freshman, is 5-0 with a 1.26 ERA and threw a no-hitter to beat Mt. Pulaski.

➜ Their state tournament history is ... new. This team is the first one in GCMS baseball history to reach the state tournament.

➜ Record: 30-9

➜ Coach: Alan Whitt (148-93-1 record in his eighth season at Altamont)

➜ How they got here: By winning close games when they count the most. The Indians edged Hardin County 7-6 on Monday at Itchy Jones Stadium in Carbondale to clinch their 30th win of the season. That came after a 5-4 win against host South Central in a sectional title game in Farina this past Saturday and an 11-2 victory against Okaw Valley on May 22 in a sectional semifinal game in Farina. A close 1-0 win against host North Clay on May 18 brought about a regional title for the Indians, who started the postseason with a 14-1 win against Dietrerich on May 15.

➜ Their top hitter is ... Keegan Schultz. The 5-foot-11, 200-pound junior has a team-high six home runs and a team-high 31 RBI to complement his .362 average. Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley pitchers will need to be wary of him when he steps into the batter's box on Friday in the state semifinal game that starts at 1 p.m.

➜ Their top pitcher is ... Dillan Elam. A 6-3, 205-pound senior, Elam has nearly won all 10 games he's pitched in this season, bringing a 9-0 record with a 1.02 ERA and 69 strikeouts in 55 innings with him to Peoria this weekend.

➜ Their state tournament history is ... nonexistent. Like semifinal opponent GCMS, Altamont is making its first state tournament appearance.

➜ Record: 32-7

➜ Coach: Ryan Turner (94-32-1 record in his fourth season at Routt)

➜ How they got here: With quality pitching. Routt defeated Father McGivney 4-1 on Monday in a super-sectional game in Springfield, which was preceded by a 12-0 shutout of Delavan this past Saturday in a sectional title game in Mendon. The Rockets opened sectional play with a 12-1 win against Illini Bluffs in a sectional semifinal game on May 22, rolled past Concord Triopia 11-2 in a regional championship game in Concord on May 18 and began the postseason with a 4-1 regional semifinal victory against Rushville-Industry on May 15. All told, Routt has outscored its postseason foes 43-5.

➜ Their top hitter is ... Nolan Turner. The 6-foot, 160-pound senior shortstop sets the tone with a .395 average, one home run and 27 RBI. Not to mention his team-high 51 hits includes 17 doubles and five triples along with 54 runs scored.

➜ Their top pitcher is ... Conrad Charpentier. The 6-2, 175-pound senior left-hander is beatable, evident by his 6-3 record, but he has thrown a team-high 58 innings, sports a 1.93 ERA and has struck out 76 compared to only 19 walks.

➜ Their state tournament history is ... Successful, albeit brief. The 2008 Routt team won a Class 1A state title in the program's only other state tournament appearance.

➜ Record: 29-2

➜ Coach: Todd Hopkins (648-182 record in his 26th season at Marquette)

➜ How they got here: By shutting down its foes. The Crusaders shut out East Dubuque 5-0 on Monday in a super-sectional game in Rockford, shut out Harvest Christian Academy 1-0 this past Saturday to win a sectional title in Elgin, shut out North Shore Country Day 10-0 in a sectional semifinal game on May 22 in Elgin and shut out Serena 7-0 on May 18 in Serena to win a regional title. The only runs they've allowed this postseason was in an 18-3 rout of Newark on May 15 in a regional semifinal game.

➜ Their top hitter is ... Sam Mitre. The 5-foot-11, 210-pound junior first baseman has produced a .449 average with a team-high four home runs and 36 RBI, along with 15 doubles, in setting himself apart from a staunch Crusaders' lineup.

➜ Their top pitcher is ... Alec Novotney or Carson Zellers. Novotney, a 5-11, 165-pound sophomore, is 9-0 this season with a 0.66 ERA in 53 innings. He's only allowed five earned runs and five walks while striking out a team-high 93. Zellers is a 5-10, 160-pound senior with an 8-1 record, a 1.42 ERA and 85 strikeouts to only 12 walks in a team-high 64 innings.

➜ Their state tournament history is ... impressive. This is Marquette's fifth state tournament appearance since 1999 and features a 2019 1A state championship.