Scouting the state baseball tournament

Class 4A

York (31-9) vs. Conant (29-7)

When: 7 p.m., Friday

Where: Duly Health & Care Field, Joliet

How they got here: Conant defeated Fremd 5-2 and Hersey 6-3 to win the Hersey regional, then Libertyville 16-4 and Stevenson 5-3 to win the Stevenson sectional, and Glenbrook North 6-1 on Monday in the Schaumburg supersectional. York beat Wheaton North 2-1 and St. Charles East 6-4 to win the York regional, then Lake Park 8-1 and St. Charles North 2-0 to win the St. Charles North sectional, and McHenry 9-5 on Monday at the Kane County Cougars super.

Coaches: Conant: Derek Fivelson (167-162-2 in 11 seasons); York: Dave Kalal (290-200-3 in 15 seasons).

On offense: Conant’s dangerous bats include Jake Parpet (.427 average, 8 HR, 30 RBI), Jacob Szpiganowicz (.388, 12 doubles), Isaiah Rhodes (.333, 12 doubles, 36 RBI), Logan Gale (.339), Josh Barnett (.321, 30 RBI), Cooper Hanson (.379) and the red-hot Matt Maize, now up to .393 with 13 doubles, 4 homers and 35 RBI. Josh Fleming leads York with a .352 average, 11 doubles and 4 homers; Drew Gami has a .304 average and Owen Chael is at .301.

On the mound: For Conant, Bryce Loeger improved to 11-0 by winning the supersectional on Monday. The Cougars also feature Franklin Kirchner with a 9-1 record, 2.05 ERA and 75 strikeouts in 58 innings. York has quite the weapon in senior Ryan Sloan. Expected to be a mid first round pick in the upcoming MLB First-Year Player Draft, Sloan has 82 strikeouts in just 40 innings with a 2-2 record and 0.18 ERA. Noah Hughes is 8-1 with a 1.32 ERA and shut out St. Charles North to win a sectional championship.

History lesson: Conant is making its first appearance at the state tournament. This is York’s fourth trip to state and second straight — the Dukes finished fourth last year. They won the title in 1993.

Advancement: The winner plays the winner of Providence (31-8) vs. two-time defending state champion Edwardsville (31-8) for the Class 4A state championship at 7 p.m. Saturday.

  Conant hopes it has more to celebrate this weekend when the Cougars play in the state baseball tournament for the first time in school history. Joe Lewnard/
York ace Ryan Sloan has been dominating in limitedaction this spring, striking out 82 batters in just 40 innings. He pitched the final inning Monday to nail down the Dukes’ supersectional victory.
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