In the spring of 2018 the Aurora Christian Eagles baseball team finished 1st in the State Final in Class 1A. This year they were moved up to Class 2A and after the change the Aurora Christian Head Baseball Coach and his assistants Joe Stavola and Julio Huerta quipped well we might as well go back down and win Class 2A this year. Well that did not quite happen, but they did finish in 3rd place in Class 2A. Not bad, actually very, very good!! Congrats guys on another great season.
The Eagles won the regional at Westmont over the hosts 10-0 and then took the Lisle Sectional with a 8-2 win over DePaul College Prep from Chicago. Then in the Super-Sectional which was scheduled for Benedictine University in Lisle, but eventually moved to Elmhurst’s Plunkett Park saw the Eagles knock off a very talented Bishop McNamara team 5-2. That put the Eagles in the final four in Peoria at Dozer Park once again this season.
Pleasant Plains, who went on the finished 2nd to Teutopolis, was the Eagles draw in the final four. The Cardinals have won a couple of baseball state titles the most recent one in Class 2A in 2014 under 30 year Head Coach Dave Greer’s long run. Coach Greer has a career mark at Pleasant Plains of 728-267-1. Eagles Head Coach Andy Zorger has 12 years under his belt and has an outstanding record of 257-115-2 and finished this season with a mark of 20-10-1.
Pleasant Plains jumped out to an early lead as they pushed across a first inning run, but the Eagles came back in the top of the 3rd as MJ Stavola had an rbi triple and Sam Tickel drove in Stavola with a sacrifice fly to give the Eagles a brief 2-1 lead. The Cardinals scored a run in the bottom of the 3rd to get even at 2-2. A four run 4th was the big inning for Pleasant Plains as they won 6-3. Hunter Thompson had the other rbi for the Eagles and they had a shot in the 7th but could only manage to score 1 run.
The Eagles would bounce back big time in the 3rd place game against the Rock Island Alleman Pioneers. Neither team could get much going through the first two innings, but in the bottom of the 3rd the Eagles would put up a crooked number with a 3 spot. MJ Stoval with two outs reached on an infield single. Tickel would reach on a walk and that set the stage for a nice two out rally. Stavola would steel third and when the throw sailed into short left field he would score on the throwing error. A short time later Jake Kuntzendorf the Eagles cleanup hitter would blast a 2 run homer to cap off the 3 run rally.
Kuntzendorf out on the mount had a nice shutout going until the top of the 6th and the Pioneers would rally for 2 runs and make in a one run game at 3-2. Hunter Thompson would come on to try and nail down the win. Thompson would allow a couple of hits, but would nail down the save with a 3-2 strikeout of Zach Carpita and the celebration was on. What a game and what a season as the Eagles would finish with a record of 20-10-1 at we mentioned earlier. The seniors will be missed, but the cupboard is not bare and Kuntzendorf and several players do return for the 2020 season.