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Top of the Morning; June 1, 2024

Jun. 1—Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley baseball coach Dustin White had pretty much seen it all ahead of the 2024 season.

He entered the campaign missing one thing, however, on his resume that included 282 wins since 2003 and a Class 1A regional championship in 2006: an appearance in the IHSA state finals.

That changed Friday when the Falcons faced Altamont in a Class 1A semifinal at Dozer Park in Peoria, falling in a 3-2 heartbreaker to set up a meeting with Jacksonville Routt in a third-place game the following day.

"I think this morning was the first time that it really hit me, getting ready," White said after Friday's game. "It's been a long time, we've had a lot of close regional kind of things and haven't pulled it off. But this group's just been different."

The emotion in White's voice was evident as he thought of former players and coaches from 21 seasons at the helm of the Falcons' program.

"To see the fan support, to see the community get behind it," White said. "A lot of the the alumni guys that have come back, some old coaches that I've coached against came back today. It just means a lot."

White has meant a lot to GCMS' current roster as well, which spent Thursday and Friday as a team in Peoria and drew a hearty crowd of red-and-black clad fans to the home of the Peoria Chiefs and Bradley Braves.

"It helps that (Dustin) was a catcher when he was younger, when he was growing up," Zach Price said. "We're both in the same area so we kind of just clicked together."