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Villa Grove Blue Devils high school sports wrap

By Tony Hooker
Softball
Stampede Buffaloes
The Blue Devils opened regional play with a 15-4 win over Georgetown Ridge Farm on May 17. VGSB erupted for 20 hits in the contest, led by Logan Lillard, who went 4-5 with a triple, two RBI’s and two runs scored. Alison Pangburn worked her way out of a little recent hitting slump, going 3-5 with a triple, three runs scored and two ribbies. Maci Clodfelder continued her assault on the ball, going three for four with a double and a triple, three runs scored and three RBI’s. Addie Wilson chipped in by going 2-4 with a double, two runs scored and an RBI, and Kayln Cordes went 3-4 and scored a pair of runs. Kaylee Arbuckle also doubled and scored for Villa Grove. Alex Brown picked up the win, allowing just a single earned run while scattering six hits and fanning eight. 

Taloned by Hawks
The Blue Devils saw their season come to an end with a 10-4 regional final loss on May 20 to Macon Meridian, who entered the contest as the number 11 team in Class 1A per MaxPreps. The Devils were led by Alison Pangburn, who went 2-4 with a double and a triple and scored a run, and Maci Clodfelder, who legged out a triple and scored twice. Addie Wilson and Alex Brown each had an RBI and Emma Bratten-Noice scored a run for VGSB. Brown took the loss, giving up six earned runs on ten hits. The Blue Devils have a bright future ahead of them, as senior left fielder Kaylee Arbuckle is the only senior on the squad. 

Baseball
Cage Hawks
Cooper Clark delivered a masterful performance, giving up just two earned runs and scattering four hits while fanning 12 as Villa Grove defeated Heritage 13-3 in five innings in their regional opener on Monday, May 16. Brady Clodfelder smoked a pair of triples and drove in two to lead the way at the plate, while Luke Zimmerman went 2-3 with a double and an RBI and three runs scored. Clark, Nolan Morse and Jake Gilles each tallied two runs scored, and Gilles, Tyler Wilson, Liam Barr and Gavin Kiser each had an RBI. Kiser roped a double into the left center field gap for a double, as well. For the Hawks, Robert Holloman had a two-run single, and Jullyian Gray took the loss, giving up ten runs (four earned) while walking four and striking out three in three and a third innings of work. 

Bitten by Bulldogs
St Teresa, the state’s number 19 team (according to MaxPreps,) defeated Villa Grove 13-3 on May 18, ending the Devil’s season in the regional final. As he’s been for most of the season, junior Luke Zimmerman led the way at the dish, going 1-2 with a run scored. Tyler Wilson and Cooper Clark had the lone RBI’s for VGBB, and Brady Clodfelder and Nolan Morse each scored runs for the Blue Devils. In perhaps his roughest outing of the season, Sam Bender took the loss, giving up eight runs (six earned) in a single inning of work. Clodfelder was able to stanch the bleeding a bit, allowing just three earned in three innings of work, but the damage had been done by that time. The young squad showed promise during their first-year post co-op and will return a strong nucleus for 2023 while saying goodbye to senior stalwarts Tyler Wilson and Liam Barr. 

Girls Track and Field
IHSA class 1A Salt Fork Sectional meet
The 4×800 relay quartet of Scarlet Howard, Madison Logan, Kyleigh Price, and Emma Buesing finished 4th, to highlight the Blue Devils efforts at the sectional meet. Howard, a freshman, finished 7th in the 800 meters, and Buesing, a junior, matched her result in the 1600. Unfortunately, none of the VGHS athletes were able to advance to state, but the experience should pay off for the young squad as they look to next year and beyond. 

Boys Track and Field
News-Gazette honor roll meet
Freshman Kurt Zimmerman blazed to a second-place finish in the 3200m at the 39th annual honor roll meet. Sophomore Braydon Dowler ran 6th in the 200m, and classmate Layne Rund was 9th in the high jump at the meet, which featured area athletes with the best performances of the season. 

IHSA Class 1A Tuscola Sectional meet
The 4×200 relay quartet of Mason Carter, Gunner Cline, Braydon Dowler and Ryan Schlueter finished 5th to lead the squad. Kurt Zimmerman finished with the best time of all the freshmen and ran 6th in the 3200, Layne Rund finished 6th in the 400, the highest sophomore placer in the event, and added a 10th place finish in the high jump, Sophomore Kyler Williams soared to a 6th place finish in the triple jump, the 4x100m relay team of Carter, Cline, Dowler and Rund finished in 7th, and Dowler also blazed to an 8th place finish in the 200 with the best sophomore time of the evening in the event. Although no VG athletes qualified for the state meet, the future bodes well for the Blue Devils, who are losing only Elijah Kiesel, Ashton Harrison and Isaac Horein to graduation.

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