Bob Todd was driving home to Elgin late Saturday afternoon with a passenger from Galesburg.
Sitting in the seat next to the Elgin American Legion baseball coach was a big trophy. Not the biggest prize, but a big one nonetheless as it finished second in the state after a 9-0 loss to Rock Island in the championship game at Jim Sundberg Field in Galesburg.
"To walk off the field second in state, that's not too bad," said Todd, who has also coached gymnastics, baseball and golf for 40 years and teaches at Larkin High School. "It's a memorable thing and it was an emotional thing for me talking to the kids.
"I've coached individuals to state and had state champions but this was the first time I took a team to state and that was kind of emotional. It's something hopefully the kids will remember because they may never see it again."
Rock Island (34-8) went 4-0 in the tournament, including a 10-4 win over Elgin on Thursday, to win its fourth state title (1990, 1997, 1999). It advanced to the Great Lakes regional starting Wednesday in Midland, Mich.
Elgin (29-11) was trying to join its 1970 and 1993 teams as state champions but was held to 6 hits. Rock Island took a 9-0 lead after five innings off starter and loser Ryan Burke.
"Every time we came up with players who could do certain things they had us covered defensively and we hit into the teeth of their defense," Todd said. "We threw the ball around a little bit (3 errors) and gave them momentum and they kept adding on.
"They're a good team and they can do some damage at the next level."
Drew Stover went 1-for-3 to finish the tournament with a .524 average (11-for-21). Reid Ellis also had a hit to finish with an average above .400.
Todd hopes Elgin's first state tournament trip since 1995 bodes well for next year and beyond.
"It's sad when it comes to an end like it did," Todd said. "I told the kids to just be proud of what they've done and they did a great thing.
"We were a team that has a lot of stars and each game different people stepped up and performed."