Providence makes history with its record sixth state championship

Providence’s jerseys didn’t feature the school name or nickname on Saturday in Joliet. The Celtics wore a black jersey with “Emerald Isle” emblazoned in green on the front.

It was fitting, as Duly Health and Care Field filled with a large crowd wearing green and hoping to watch history.

The Celtics’ baseball team delivered, beating Conant 4-1 to win the Class 4A state championship. It’s a record sixth state title for Providence, surpassing the five won by rival Joliet Catholic and Edwardsville.

Junior Kasten Goebbert learned earlier on Saturday that he would be pitching the state championship game. He was terrific, throwing six innings and allowing just three hits and one earned run.

“This has been my favorite couple of months of baseball I’ve ever played,” Goebbert said. “They’ve all made it special and winning this game made it even better.”

Goebbert came out to pitch the seventh but was removed after Matt Maize opened the inning for Conant by crushing a home run to right field.

Celtics coach Mark Smith turned to junior Nate O’Donnell, who closed out the win. O’Donnell was the offensive hero for Providence, with two hits and two RBI.

“The crowd definitely made it feel special,” O’Donnell said. “Throughout the playoffs the crowds kept getting bigger and I really appreciate everyone coming out tonight.”

The first three batters in Providence’s lineup are future college hitters: Enzo Infelise (Oklahoma), Jackson Smith (Bradley) and O’Donnell (Creighton). But the Celtics’ successful playoff run was built on defense and pitching.

Providence allowed just four hits and two runs in the two state finals games. The Celtics didn’t allow more than two runs in any playoff game.

“It’s just a lot of great pitchers,” O’Donnell said. “We rely on each other and we have been healthy and the defense played great. But the key was throwing a lot of strikes.”

Providence’s Kasten Goebbert (22) pitches during the Class 4A state championship game against Conant.

Kirsten Stickney/For the Sun-Times

The Celtics won Class 4A in 2016, 2015 and 2014 under Smith. Jaime Garcia led the school to Class A titles in 1986 and 1978.

It was the first title game appearance for Conant (30-8), which won its last eight regular season games.

Cougars starting pitcher Bryce Loeger went seven innings and didn’t allow an earned run but was undone by his team’s two errors. Loeger struck out seven, walked three and gave up six hits.

“As soon as we stepped foot into this school we knew we were going to make history,” Conant catcher Jake Parpet said. “We came up short, but we made history. We will eventually be proud of it, but right now, it sucks.”

Providence beats Conant 4-1 to win the Class 4A state championship.

It’s a record 6th title for the Celtics, who only allowed 4 hits in 2 games. pic.twitter.com/B32DGgHiI1

— Michael O’Brien (@michaelsobrien) June 9, 2024

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