ALTON — Ten days ago, the Nokomis Redskins captured a Class 1A regional championship.
On Tuesday, the Redskins added another championship to their trophy case — a Prairie State Conference championship.
With an 8-1 win over the Marquette Explorers at Gordon Moore Park, Nokomis finished with a share of the league title with East Alton-Wood River with a 4-1 record. The Redskins also finished at 20-10 overall.
“The kids like to play,” Nokomis coach Brian Pesko said. “They all play in the summer. We all wanted to be here today more than they (Marquette) did.”
The Explorers finished their season at 14-16 overall and 3-2 in conference play.
“It’s the first time I think we haven’t won conference and we had a losing record, so it was a tough year,” Marquette coach Tim Fahnestock said. “It’s a tough year, but it’s something to build on for next year.”
The Explorers played their first game since May 23, when they lost to Highland 9-1 in a first-round game of the Class 3A Highland Regional.
“It’s tough because school’s been out for a couple of weeks,” Fahnestock said. “Regionals were done, so playing a conference game and having limited contact with the kids was tough. But we didn’t come out and play good baseball.”
Junior shortstop Zach Weinmann got two hits and scored the Explorers’ only run in the fourth. With his team down 8-0, Weinmann led off the fourth with a triple. He scored on a single by junior catcher Mike Neel.
Marquette will return several players next year, including Weinmann, Neel, juniors Brady McAfee, Liam Maher and Konnor Morrissey and sophomore Jayce Maag.
“Next year, we’re going to be pretty strong,” Fahnestock said. “We have a lot of juniors coming back and got some sophomores, so I’m really happy. I’m looking forward to next year.”
The Explorers will lose several players to graduation, including Jacob File and twin brothers Eric and Marc Davis.
File was the losing pitcher, giving up three runs on two hits in two-thirds of an inning. He was relieved by Brady McAfee with two outs in the top of the first.
“Jake File did a great job all year long,” Fahnestock said. “I was kind of disappointed for him to come out and have a rough outing. I wished he would have finished on a strong note. I’m still proud of him. He had a good season. He’s a good pitcher for us and he’s a good kid.”
On May 21, Nokomis defeated Calhoun 5-0 in the Class 1A Calhoun Regional championship game. Four days later, the Redbirds lost to Valmeyer 3-2 in the Blackburn College Sectional semifinals.
On Tuesday, the Redskins scored three runs in the first, four in the second and one in the fourth. They also had eight hits.
Nokomis junior pitcher Reid Detmers, who recently made a verbal commitment to play baseball for the University of Louisville, struck out 15 and gave up one run on three hits.
“Detmers threw the ball well,” Fahnestock said. “He’s a good pitcher and he controls the game. He throws strikes and he was efficient. He can really own the game.”
At the plate, Detmers had a hit and scored two runs. He gave the Redskins a 1-0 lead on an RBI single with no outs in the first.
Mount Olive handed Nokomis its only loss in conference play. Pesko said the six-team league is always competitive.
“Everyone has a chance,” the Nokomis coach said. “Every year, multiple teams have a chance at it.”
Tuesday’s game was rescheduled four times.
“It was originally scheduled on the night of (Marquette hockey and tennis player) Zack Hunter’s wake and funeral,” Fahnestock said. “It was the night of the funeral and we tried to push it back. They couldn’t accommodate because they had prom or something, so we try to reschedule. Then twice, it got rained out. Heck, we even had to schedule it in Rochester, but it got rained out up there, too. They got eliminated last week and I told our athletic director to get a hold of him and get it scheduled.”
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