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Depth, resilience have Washington baseball back in state finals

Panthers set to play Chatham Glenwood in state semifinals Friday at 10 a.m. in Joliet
Published: Jun. 7, 2022 at 6:27 PM CDT
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GENESEO (Heart of Illinois ABC) - It takes a team to win a championship and Washington baseball is proving that they are very much a team and not just a couple stars. There are the standouts like Bradley signees Easton Harris and Gus Lucas but Washington has tons of talent all over the roster. Monday’s Geneseo Super-Sectional win over Sycamore was a perfect example. No. 8 hitter Keegan Isbell was 4-4 with 2 RBI. Jack Limas provided the go-ahead RBI in the 6th inning. It was a total team effort to get the Panthers back to their second straight state finals.

“We’ve been saying that all year, we’ve got a couple good ones but it takes a team to do what we’ve done all year and to get where we’re at,” head coach Kyle Wisher said. “Like I said, that’s a testament to this whole team. I’m just excited for these guys, it’s unbelievable.”

Top to bottom the offense has really stepped their game up in the postseason, especially the guys near the bottom of the order.

“It’s 1-9, lately it’s been the bottom of the order,” senior outfielder Jack Limas said. “Keegan Isbell, he’s really been stepping it up, Lucas Price. Everyone’s just putting it all together at the same time.”

The pitching has also proved its depth in the postseason. Sophomore Garrett Cox recorded the final three outs in bottom of the 7th inning on three straight strikeouts to officially get the Panthers back to state.

“He came in and threw nine straight strikes and slammed the door in a hurry,” Wisher said of Cox. “You know for a sophomore that’s pretty good.”

The final score read Washington 8, Sycamore 4 but the game felt much closer than that. The Panthers battled through a lengthy rain delay to start the game and erased a pair of deficits on their way to their Super-Sectional win, proving the kind of resilience this team has.

“We didn’t come out that strong but we’ve been talking about adversity all week and we found a way to come back,” senior outfielder Caleb Wudtke said. “Those four runs in that sixth inning really helped.”

Being down twice in a game is clearly a less than ideal scenario but it’s one that Washington knows they’re capable of handling if the situation arises.

“You don’t want to get into that situation all the time but they don’t get rattled,” Coach Wisher said. “They don’t get upset, they don’t get frustrated, they battle and they get the job done. That’s a great character of this team.”

The Panthers are deep, they’re battled-tested and they’re together, all hallmarks of a great team, now they hope they can make this great team a championship team at state this weekend. Washington plays Chatham Glenwood in a state semifinal Friday morning at 10 in Joliet.

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