CARBONDALE -The Southern Illinois Baseball Coaches Association hosted its annual All-Star Games on Saturday at Abe Martin Field on the campus of Southern Illinois University.
This was the 36th year for the event dating all the way back to the first game in 1982.
There have only been four years when the games were not played, 1994, 1995, 2000, and, of course, 2020.
The games were originally formatted as East vs. West with Interstate 57 being the dividing line. The games are now played with conferences facing off against each other.
This year's games had the River to River/ Greater Egyptian/ South Egyptian conferences squaring off against the Black Diamond/ South 7 conferences.
Saturday's games started off on a somber note. On Friday night, NCOE senior, CJ Richardson was killed in a car accident.
CJ was to play his final high school game on Saturday.
The players honored him with a moment of silence when it was his turn to come to bat. Each player signed an all star T-shirt and presented it to family members who were present.
His NCOE teammates Nathaniel Wilson and Wade Sauls played the game in his honor. In basketball, CJ won the state 3-point contest as a freshman in Peoria hitting 14 out of 15 shots in his final round to win in 2018.
The senior game saw the R2R/GEC/SEC conferences beat the BDC/S7, 5-4.
Benton's Mitch Giacone picked up the win as the R2R/GEC/SEC scored four runs in the third inning and one in the fourth to hold off the BDC/S7 who scored four runs in their final three at bats.
The R2R/GEC/SEC had six hits with Du Quoin's Brian Winters driving in the first and winning RBI in the third inning. The BDC/S7 outhit the R2R/GEC/SEC while getting seven base hits.
Johnston City's Braden Watts led the way with two hits in his final high school game.
Featuring only sophomores and juniors, the underclass game had a similar outcome with the R2R/GEC/SEC beating the BDC/S7, 8-6.
The R2R/GEC/SEC outhit the BDC/S7 by collecting 11 hits to the BDC/S7's eight hits.
Benton's Jacob Kinsman doubled and had an RBI for the R2R/GEC/SEC while Herrin's Cameron Evrard scored twice. West Frankfort's Drew Smith and Johnston City's Caden Clark each had a hit while Marion's Kale Cameron scored the final run in the eighth inning for the BDC/S7.
The underclass game was first played in 1992.