JOLIET - Highland will be seeking its third state championship, and its first since 2015, when they meet Lemont in the second semifinal in the IHSA Class 3A baseball finals on Friday afternoon at Duly Health and Care Field, the home ballpark of the Frontier League's Joliet Slammers, with the first pitch set for 1 p.m.

The Bulldogs enter the final weekend in the 2023-24 IHSA sports year 32-6-1, and look to win the championship that Highland won in 2008 and 2015.

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Highland advanced to the finals with a win over Mascoutah in the final of the Triad sectional 3-2 on June 1, then took the super-sectional/state quarterfinal game on Monday at Millikin University in Decatur, defeating Mahomet-Seymour 6-3 this past Monday.

Lemont, the only school in the state that doesn't have a formal nickname for its athletic teams, went through by winning the by winning the Evergreen Park sectional over Chicago St. Rita Catholic 3-2 on May 31, then won the Ozinga Field super-sectional in Crestwood on Monday, winning over Chicago De La Salle Catholic 4-3. Lemont is 30-9 going into Friday's semifinal.

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In the win over the Indians on Saturday, the Bulldogs scored single runs in the second, third, and fourth innings, then held off a Mascoutah comeback bid to take the win and advance to the super-sectional

Key players Chase Knebel and Garrin Stone had a hit and RBI each in the sectional win, with another key player, Deklan Riggs, also driving home a run. Knebel went all the way on the mound, allowing two runs on six hits, walking one and striking out one in a solid performance that sent the Bulldogs into the last eight.

In Monday's super-sectional win over Mahomet-Seymour, Highland rallied from being down 3-0 after the top of the first to score once in the home half of the first, twice in he fourth to tie the game, and three runs in the bottom of the sixth to win the game and move on to state.

Jake Ottensmeier, who's also been an important player this season for Highland, had three hits, while both Trey Koishor and Riggs had two hits and a RBI each, Brayden Bircher, Braxden Decker, and Adam Munie all had hits, and both Zane Korte and Stone drove in a run each. Trent Clemons pitched another complete game on he mound, allowing three runs on only one hit, walking two and fanning five.

The Lemont-Highland winner meets the winner of the first semifinal between Morris and Crystal Lake Central in the final Saturday afternoon at 1 p.m., while the losers play for third and fourth place Saturday morning at 10 a.m.

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