Top-10 Stories of 2019: No. 7 Marquette wins its first-ever state title in 1A rout


By Andy Sroka
Staff Writer, Associate Scout

Next up in our Top Stories of 2019 is the dominance of Marquette High’s 2019 spring season in which they cruised to a 1A title, their first state championship in program history. Their huge eight-run second frame put them in the driver’s seat of a 14-5 victory. The Crusaders were fourth-place finishers in 2018 and went 30-4, including their two losses at state. In 2019, Marquette enjoyed a 33-1 record en route to the 1A trophy after winning 30 games in 2018 and 27 games in 2017 ultimately coming up short of the top prize.

This dominant run finally culminated in a first-place finish in Peoria. Five Crusaders tallied two RBIs each and four recorded three hits to help pile onto a nine-run rout of Gibault Catholic.

PBR Illinois was on-site to see Marquette celebrate the 1A crown.

1A STATE FINALS: OFFENSE POWERS MARQUETTE PAST GIBAULT CATHOLIC FOR 1A CROWN


Tino Abarca
Staff Writer

When Marquette head coach Todd Hopkins received his medal during the award ceremony, he let out a big yell and urged what seemed like the whole city of Ottawa to cheer louder than they’ve cheered all game. Hopkins, in that one moment, embodied what the Crusaders displayed for seven innings; passion, euphoria and living in the moment.

Jolted by a raucous crowd, the Crusaders fed off the energy of the Marquette fans that filled their section of the stands. Posting 14 runs and limiting every Gibault Catholic rally, it was clear Marquette was determined to walk away with the 1A title since stepping foot in Peoria.

It took just seven pitches for Gibault Catholic to score their first run of the game. Cole Buckner plated Austin Sweeney on a sac-fly, and just like that, the scoring had begun. Marquette would give a powerful answer in the second by posting eight runs on nine hits. In the frame, Jack Snook homered to deep left field. The Crusaders also slashed eight hits in a row to get the bulk of their offense going.

The Hawks answered with two runs including a Tim Reinholz RBI single – one of Reinholz’s two hits on the afternoon. He also homered clearing the left field wall with ease.

Marquette would continue to add insurance run after insurance run as they scored in every inning but the sixth.

Nick Melvin played an integral role in the Crusader offense going 3-for-4 with two singles and a 2-run triple.

John Thompson, Marquette junior, pitched out of multiple jams and only gave up two earned in six innings of work; Thompson picked up the win.

The 16-hit performance was truly a team effort as eight of the nine starters logged at least one hit. Max DonahueShane Reynolds, Snook and Melvin led the way with three hits apiece.

3RD PLACE GAME

The Crusaders finish the season an astounding 33-1. Hopkins wins his first state title of his 22-year career. This is the first time he has placed since 1999 where his Crusaders placed fourth.

Steeleville downed Harvest Christian Academy, 12-6, in the day’s first game.

Steelevile jumped out to an early 7-1 lead before breaking the game open 12-1. Harvest Christian Academy wouldn’t go away, answered with five to avoid a run-ruled game.

Austin Hagel and Owen Gross led the way with three hits for Steeleville. Jacob Sutton had two hits to his credit with a pair of RBI.

With the win, Steeleville takes 3rd place. The last time the Warriors placed was 1993.

TOP-10 STORIES OF 2019