Baseball Underclass All-Star Game

Tom Batters
Justin Machacek

The Richwoods baseball team finished 15-13 and failed to defend its Mid-State 6 Conference title (its rival, Peoria Notre Dame won the conference), but Knights coach Dave Webb had plenty to smile about Monday night.

Webb, one of the coaches for the Mid-State 6 team vs. the Mid-Illini team at the annual McDonald’s All-Star Classic Underclass Game at O’Brien Field, said the future of the Richwoods baseball program is bright.

“We had some younger kids step up  for us this year. They will continue to get even better, which is encouraging,” he said.

Three of Webb’s junior players — Justin Machacek, Nate Greenwood and Matt Thompson — played Monday. Junior Nate Mahrt was also selected to play, but he was on vacation. Junior Peter Cunningham was selected to play, but he is still nursing a shoulder injury.

Webb said Greenwood, the team’s No. 1 starting pitcher and one of its top hitters, had an “outstanding” season.

“Nate was a junior leader, which doesn’t happen very often. Usually, the seniors are the leaders,” Webb said. “But, he showed a lot of leadership.”

Webb said Machacek was a valuable player at the plate, and for his ability to play many different positions.

“Justin was our most improved player, without question,” he said. “He was a very good sophomore player, but he became a much better player as a junior last year.”

Thompson, who hit a three-run homerun Monday, was one of the Knights’ power hitters for most of the season.

“We weren’t sure where to play Matt at the beginning of the season,” Webb said. “Once we found a spot for him, we couldn’t keep him out of the lineup. He settled in nicely at first base, but he can play the corner outfield spots, too.”

• The Mid-Illini Conference won the All-Star Classic Underclass Game, 5-4.

Peoria Notre Dame junior Cody Gilfillan went 3-for-3 and his teammate, sophomore Josh Swank, went 2-for-2 with a triple. ND junior Ryan Bohmer was also selected to the Mid-State 6 Underclass All-Star team.

Dunlap sophomore Logan Schrader pitched two scoreless innings. He was the only Dunlap player selected to play in the Underclass Game.