Prep Baseball Report

1A State Finals Preview

By: Jadyn Hsieh-Bailey
Illinois Intern

The stage is set for this year’s 1A IHSA State Finals, with matchups loaded with dominant arms and heavy hitters.

Marquette, Routt Catholic, Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley, and Altamont all make their way down to Peoria, as the semi-finals begin tomorrow at Dozer Park. The first matchup will take place at 10 am between Marquette and Routt Catholic. Soon after, Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley and Altamont will battle it out at 1 pm.

All will be finalized for Saturday’s third place game and championship game, both of which should be enthralling contests. The third place game will be at 10 am, while the championship game is set for 1 pm.

With extensive coverage of these games as well as the 2A State playoff games, you do not want to miss the action. You can find the coverage on our Twitter @PrepBaseballIL.

Below, you can learn more about the four teams that will be competing for the 2024 1A State championship.

Marquette (29-2)

With the dominance that Marquette has had this season, their appearance in the State final was bound to happen. Only losing an astonishing two games on the year, the Crusaders continued their winning ways this postseason with a convincing streak of wins once again. Despite cruising through teams, the Sectional championship against Harvest Christian Academy did prove difficult. Yet, after prevailing for a 1-0 win, the Crusaders followed that with a 5-0 Super-Sectional victory over East Dubuque, regaining their comfortability. It is apparent that the Crusaders are a difficult team to beat, and with only two more wins needed, they have their sights set on a State championship.

The Crusaders come with a plethora of offensive weapons. In fact, that may be an understatement. With seven players in their starting lineup batting over .340, it is no wonder they have had this amount of offensive success. With 10 and 11 doubles respectively, Anthony Couch (2026) batting .365 and Keaton Davis (2025) batting .344 lead the way. Seniors Carson Zellers and Charlie Mullen add staggering depth to the offense, as Zellers is batting .363 and Mullen .380, while also notching the second most RBIs on the team with 31. Alec Novotney (2026) then adds more firepower, leading the team in runs with 40, coming second in hits with 41, and batting .366.

It then goes without saying that freshman Griffin Dobberstein and junior Sam Mitre have dominated the statsheet in every respect. The freshman has batted .398 up to this point, along with 37 hits, 5 doubles, and 25 RBIs. Only as a freshman, Dobberstein has been more than comfortable at the plate. Sam Mitre has influenced the Crusader’s offensive success in each category with unparalleled numbers. He leads in hits, RBIs, doubles, home runs, and batting average. His staggering 44 hits, 36 RBIs, 15 doubles, 4 home runs, and a monstrous .449 average will instill fear in each pitcher.

Not only does their offense consist of unlimited weaponry, but their pitching consists of dominance as well. Couch (2026), Dobberstein (2027), Novotney (2026), and Zellers (2024) all dominate as two-way threats for the Crusaders. Couch posting a 5-1 record with a 1.62 ERA, Dobberstein posting a 5-0 record with a 1.45 ERA, and Ryan Peterson (2024) adding in 30 strikeouts in 18 innings all contribute to dominance on the mound. It is then Alec Novotney and Carson Zellers that have had more than dominance. Novotney, posting a 9-0 record, an amazing 0.66 ERA, and a jaw dropping 93 strikeouts looks to continue for these final games. Zellers with an 8-1 record, 1.42 ERA, and an amazing 85 strikeouts also looks to finish the season on this note.

With this offensive firepower and depth, along with a pitching staff that has shown nothing but dominance and command, the Marquette Crusaders are certainly feeling dangerous going into Dozer Park this weekend.

Routt Catholic (32-7)

With each team left being so dominant, the Rockets may actually be the most dominant. At 32-7, Routt Catholic is likely to have the most momentum as they have not lost a game since April 27th. In addition to this, the Rockets have breezed through their postseason schedule. After posting 11-2, 12-1, and 12-0 victories en route to the State final, a State championship is looking very hopeful.

The Rockets’ offense is extremely deep. With loads of power, the Rockets will hope to get the best out of their big bats in this State final. Carrying powerhouses at the plate such as Isaac Long (2024) with 5 home runs and a .333 batting average, Eli Olson (2025) with two home runs and a .385 batting average, and Brady Turner (2026) with 10 doubles and a .385 batting average, they will expect to do just that. Additionally, the pair of 2024 Lincoln Land CC recruits Conrad Charpentier and Nolan Turner will prove to be more heavy bats to rely on. The two lead the Rockets in offensive categories. Charpentier leads the team in RBIs with 45 and leads batting average with a whopping .400. He has paired these numbers with 3 home runs and 12 doubles to go with it. Turner has also had this dominance at the plate, as he leads the Rockets in runs, hits, doubles, and triples. With an eye-opening 54 runs, 51 hits, 17 doubles, 5 triples, and an immense .395 batting average, Turner will definitely be called upon in the coming games. However, with all of the offensive pieces that Routt Catholic possesses, it can be any one of these bats that proves to be the deciding factor in the coming games.

To pair with the offensive firepower, the pitching is steep with the Rockets. Although many pitchers lead the way, Conrad Charpentier, A.J. Charpentier (2026), Eli Olson (2025), and Brady Turner (2026) stand out. A.J. Charpentier’s ability is demonstrated in his 6-0 record and 2.63 ERA, while Olson’s prowess is represented in his 2.06 ERA and 56 strikeouts, to go along with his own 6-0 record. Brady Turner’s numbers show his dominance on the mound, tallying 59 strikeouts and a 2.29 ERA. Finally, Conrad Charpentier proves to be the ace of this team, as his performances this season have been nothing short of exceptional on the mound. With the most innings on the team (58 IP), Charpentier has 76 strikeouts, a 1.93 ERA, and 6 wins. Charpentier will be expected to throw in these games, and the Rockets will be leaning on him to shut it down.

With momentum unlike any other team, a power-hitting offense, and a steep and efficient pitching staff, Routt Catholic is sure to favor their chances going into this weekend.

Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley (22-7-1)

After such a strong season thus far from the Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley Falcons, you wouldn’t expect this to be their first rodeo at the State final. However, this is the first time in their history that they have made it to this point. Looking to create even more history, the Falcons should be hopeful to make a run this weekend. In what may have appeared to be a setback in losing the final game of the regular season, the 22-7-1 Falcons have calmly bounced back to win five straight, including a slaughter rule victory in the regionals. Now, following a close 3-0 win at the super-sectional against Wethersfield, the Falcons are carrying their momentum and their five game win streak into tomorrow.

The offensive success of the Falcons has heavily relied on Ty Cribbett (2024; Millikin University), Brayden Elliot (2025), David Hull (2025), Isaiah Johnson (2024), and Zach Price (2024). Each of these players has played a crucial role in churning out the offensive power to this point.

Johnson’s .365 batting average and Price’s 26 RBIs have proven pivotal. Hull’s 5 doubles, .344 batting average, and a team leading 38 runs has added to the fire in the Falcons offensive success.

With the key performances at the plate from these three, Ty Cribbett and Brayden Elliot have been able to propel the offense into what it has now achieved. With Cribbett’s team-leading 13 doubles, an RBI tally of 29, a batting average of .390, and 38 runs co-leading the team, his impact is significant. To complement Cribbett’s output, Elliot has added to the Falcon’s offense by contributing incredible numbers. Elliot leads the team with 43 hits, 41 RBIs, and a .430 batting average, all to go with his 10 doubles. The offense of the Falcons is more than dangerous.

From the mound, two pitchers lead the way. One being Brayden Elliot, the other being freshman Graydon Leonard. In 10 games, Elliot has recorded 76 strikeouts and a 1.98 ERA. He has dominated for the Falcons with a 6-0 win-loss record. Leonard, despite being a freshman, has been incredible. Only giving up 20 hits on the season, striking out 53, and posting an ERA of 1.26, the freshman will be huge for the Falcons in this State final.

Carrying heavy momentum and the opportunity to create school history, Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley are a promising contender.

Altamont (30-9)

The Altamont Indians are more than ready for this weekend’s matchup. They have a team full of experience and a deep group of pitchers ready to lead the way. With more wins than any other team left, the 30-9 Indians are coming off a one-run thriller against Hardin County. Having experienced such a close game only one game ago, the Indians know what it takes to win.

Offensively, with Clayton Arnold (2024), Kaden Davis (2024), Dillan Elam (2024; Kaskaskia JC), Kaidyn Miller (2024), Ethan Robbins (2024), Nathan Stuemke (2024), Keegan Schultz (2025), and Kade Milleville (2026), there should be no shortage of productivity. With all of these players hitting over .300, and with Elam, Miller, Robbins, Schultz, and Stuemke tallying over 25 RBIs on the year, the Indians will be able to rely on their bats.

The pitching from the Indians is the strongsuit of the team. With seven players below a 3.00 ERA, the depth of this pitching staff is a huge strength for the upcoming games. Dillan Elam is the ace of the team, and coming off a spectacular season on the bump with 9 wins, 69 strikeouts, and a 1.02 ERA in a team-high 55 IP, the Indians will look to get the best out of him. Elam is not the only “ace”, however. Aden McManaway (2024; Kaskaskia JC) has 47 strikeouts to accompany a 2.41 ERA, Millville has an incredible 1.82 ERA and 62 strikeouts, Robbins has an astonishing 1.11 ERA and 58 strikeouts, and Stuemke has a 2.19 ERA. The depth of this pitching cannot be underestimated, as it could prove to be the deciding factor for the Indians.

With each team providing impressive talent both offensively and on the mound, there is no telling which team will come out on top. All that is known is that by Saturday, one of these great teams will be crowned State champion!

Extensive coverage of these games and the 2A State playoff games will be available on our Twitter @PrepBaseballIL. You don’t want to miss it!