Moline Tops Palatine for State Title

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Byline: Marty Maciaszek

Focusing on what was at stake for Palatine kept Zach Demmon from worrying about the slight ache in his right shoulder Sunday morning.

Demmon was trying to give Palatine a chance to win twice and repeat as American Legion baseball state champions. The big right-hander was minimizing the damage by Moline's potent offense at McHenry County College in Crystal Lake.

Demmon's six-inning stint would normally be good enough for Palatine to win. But it wasn't this time as Sam Welvaert threw a 3-hitter and retired 15 of the last 16 hitters to give Moline (36-6) a 4-0 victory and its first state title.

Demmon allowed only 3 earned runs on 9 hits with 6 strikeouts and 1 walk. He threw 67 of his 110 pitches for strikes and came out after Austin Michna singled to start the seventh.

"It was a very valiant effort by Zach," said Palatine coach Jeff Ryder.

"I had a little bit of shoulder pain after awhile," said Demmon, who will play at Wisconsin-Platteville, "but I wanted to give it my best shot and I wanted to hang in there for my team."

Unfortunately for Palatine (32-10), it didn't have many shots to avoid its first shutout of the summer against Welvaert in a game that lasted an hour and 55 minutes.

The righty, who is just two years removed from Tommy John surgery and pitched this spring at Southeastern Iowa Community College, threw 65 of his 102 pitches for strikes and had 9 strikeouts and 2 walks to send Moline to the Great Lakes Regional starting Thursday in Mattoon. …