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A baseball season that was in jeopardy just six short months ago turned out pretty well for the Springfield area.

Start with Springfield High School's Class 3A state championship. Move on to Sacred Heart-Griffin's remarkable season that culminated with a fourth-place finish in the Class 2A state tournament. Go to Lincoln Land Community College's 44-win season that included conference and Region 24 championships and a trip to the National Junior College Athletic Association Division II World Series. And end it with the University of Illinois Springfield's 37-win season that included a Great Lakes Valley Conference divisional title and a trip to the NCAA Division II regionals.

With Springfield High graduate Austin Alderman anchored in the outfield and the middle of the lineup, Lanphier grad Chad Saner a fixture in the rotation and guys like Johnny Steinwart, Cade Sestak, Noah Crowe and Austin Troemper on the roster — started hot and stayed hot all season. The Prairie Stars made it to No. 5 in the Division II poll at one point.

UIS is one of the top Division II programs in the Midwest.

This article appeared in The State Journal-Register on June 22, 2021.

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