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Adcock makes long journey worthwhile by helping Aviston reach American Legion title game

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AVISTON, Ill. — Nile Adcock doesn't mind the long drive.

The Aviston American Legion outfielder actually enjoys the 1 hour, 40-minute round trip that he has made numerous times this summer from his home town of Pinckneyville.

"It's not that bad," Adcock says. "I'm used it."

Adcock goes well out of his way to play for the talent-rich Clinton County squad.

And he certainly is making the trips worthwhile.

Adcock had four hits to propel the Express to a 6-0 win over Moline on Friday in the Illinois American Legion state tournament at Aviston City Park.

Aviston (26-1) will take on Moline (27-11) in the state championship game at 5 p.m. Saturday. The Express are the only unbeaten team left in the four-day, six-team double elimination affair. Moline would have to beat Aviston twice Saturday to wrestle away the crown.

The hosts already have clinched a berth in the Great Lakes Regional beginning Wednesday in Midland, Michigan. Aviston, which has reached the regional round for the first time in the 22-year history of the program, will play at either 9 a.m., 9:30 a.m. or noon Wednesday against one of two teams from Wisconsin.

Adcock, although an outsider geographically, has fit right in on a team that is made of mostly players from Clinton County.

"We got a pretty good relationship going on," Adcock said. "To be on a winning team like this, it's always fun."

Aviston left-handed pitcher Tyler Robertston, who allowed just three hits over six innings  Friday, says the team welcomed Adcock with open arms.

"He's a great player. Who wouldn't want him on their team?" said Robertson, a recent Mater Dei High grad. "He's fit in well and we've gotten along great all year. A great addition."

Adcock was supposed to play for the legion team in Pinckneyville, but got a release so he could play in Aviston. He played for Express manager Jason Rakers on a club team last season and Rakers invited him to come join the Aviston legion team during a conversation in November.

"He's such a good athlete," Rakers said. "We're full of athletes, but he's near the top. (He is) a guy that just does it all. He runs well and has a lively arm."

Adcock did most of his damage at the plate against Moline, which came into the day with a 2-0 record.

He got the ball rolling early with a run-scoring double in the opening frame to push the lead to 2-0.

Aviston plated a pair of runs on the first five pitches of the contest. Cameron Haag begin the day with a first-pitch single. Easton Rakers, Jason's son, followed with a run-scoring double to set the stage for Adcock's first hit.

Adcock added singles in the third, fourth and seventh innings.

Aviston took command with two more runs in the third. Adcock, Conner Freeze, Hunter Sample and Logan Geragosian also added singles.

Freeze contributed two hits to an 11-hit attack.

Robertson took care of the pitching chores with six masterful innings. He struck out six, did not walk a batter and retired the last seven batters he faced.

"I had a great warmup," Robertson said. "And my defense was great. They were there for me the whole game and I was able to get them outs by feeing them ground ball."

Easton Rakers turned in the web-gem of the contest ranging deep into hole to throw out Hunter Woods in the opening frame.

The Express have outscored its opponents 24-1 in the three games of the tournament. Friday's effort may have been its best to date.

"You come watch us play, we're not going to blow your mind," Jason Rakers said. "We're consistent. I told them at the beginning of the year, "if you want to play at the next level, college coaches are looking for guys that make the routine plays. And these guys make the routine plays routinely."

Moline was the surprise of the tournament with early-round wins over Alton and Danville.

"We just couldn't get much going offensively," Moline manager Matt Trouten said. "We tried to compete at the plate, but (Robertson) was really good."

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