Having a Ball at Busch

Photo by Keith Stewart Bryce Farris (left) and Nick Frerichs (right) bump gloves after Farris’ quick lineout grab at third in the bottom of the third.

Photo by Keith Stewart
Bryce Farris (left) and Nick Frerichs (right) bump gloves after Farris’ quick lineout grab at third in the bottom of the third.

Redskins get to experience Major League ball park for last game of the year

May 27, 2015

by Keith Stewart
keith@newsprogress.com

The Mattoon Green Wave might have avenged a season opening loss by defeating Sullivan 6-3 on Sunday afternoon, but win or no win, nothing was going to take away from the experience of a lifetime that the Redskins were able to receive by playing ball in the St. Louis Cardinals’ Busch Stadium.
“It’s awesome. Playing on a field like this makes every ground ball easier,” said head coach Troy Rogers. “It makes pitching easier. You throw quicker.  The adrenaline is going. You can’t have a better setting. And our pitchers threw well. They went out and threw strikes like they have been all year. Defensively we had a few mistakes, but there was also a bad call at first, which led to a two-run inning. And he apologized to me. He felt bad. That’s baseball. You have to learn from it and go on. But they had a great day. They had fun.”
The game itself was a back-and-forth affair with neither team doing much through three innings. In the bottom of the fourth, the Redskins (or Eagles if one was abiding by the scoreboard listing), fell behind 2-0 thanks to two errors and two Green Wave hits. And until the fifth, Sullivan’s offense had stalled, going three up, three down each of the last four. That goes without saying that the Redskins started the game off with their top three hitters in Alec Ballinger, Dylan Hart, and Nick Frerichs all coming within 15 feet or so of a home run. Read More

SOV Boys Unable to Reach Past Sectionals

May 27, 2015

by Keith Stewart
keith@newsprogress.com

The SOV boys’ track and field team competed at the Pana sectional last Thursday and came as close to sending one individual to the state meet by one spot.
Junior Zane Uphoff led the Redskins with two third place finishes in both the long and triple jumps ( 18 feet, 10 1/2 inches and 39-8 3/4), but needed a top two finish in both events to qualify for Thursday’s state preliminaries. Read More

OV Baseball Back on Top with Regional Championship

Photo by Keith Stewart Pictured is the Okaw Valley baseball team with their regional championship. The Timberwolves defeated Windsor/Stew-Stras 9-0 Saturday in Assumption.

Photo by Keith Stewart
Pictured is the Okaw Valley baseball team with their regional championship. The Timberwolves defeated Windsor/Stew-Stras 9-0 Saturday in Assumption.

Defeat Windsor/Stew-Stras 9-0

May 27, 2015

by Keith Stewart
keith@newsprogress.com

Okaw Valley head coach Andrew Hagerman sort of knew how Saturday’s regional championship was going to go. More than just predicting or hoping for a win, the OV coach actually dreamed of how the final out would come.
With two outs in the bottom of the seventh, the Hatchets’ Devon Deremiah took an 0-2 count to third baseman Taylor Coleman, who promptly fielded the grounder and shot it to first base for the winner. Like Hagerman foresaw.
“I actually had a premonition Taylor would get the last putout,” he said. “Peyton is striking the whole town out and then there’s a shot at Taylor, and he’s awake for it. First play of the game he’s seen and he ends the regional.”
The Timberwolves didn’t have to play a ton of defense, however, as senior Peyton Hagerman went off for 14 strikeouts and allowed just one hit and two walks. Read More

Tuscola Outduels Sullivan 2-1 in Regional Championship

Photo by RR Best Head coach Ben Richter speaks with his team following the tough 2-1 regional championship loss to Tuscola Saturday.

Photo by RR Best
Head coach Ben Richter speaks with his team following the tough 2-1 regional championship loss to Tuscola Saturday.

Warriors’ Watson the speedy difference maker

May 27, 2015

By Matt Kracht
NP Sports Reporter

Regional host Sullivan faced off against Tuscola for the third time this season Saturday on the North Diamond but were unfortunately unable to muster enough offense to claim back-to-back regional titles.
Heidi Clements gave up one earned run over six innings holding the potent Warriors’ offense to just four hits. Seleste Smith had Sullivan’s only two hits and drove in Elissa Stewart for the lone Redskin run.
“I can’t say enough about these girls,” said head coach Ben Richter. “We played tremendous defense today. Our game plan was to hold them to less than six runs, and we held them to two. Heidi did a wonderful job on the mound.”
Tuscola wasted no time taking the lead in the first inning after a leadoff walk. The Warriors’ leadoff hitter, who has speed for days, quickly stole second, third, and then home giving Tuscola a 1-0 lead without having recorded a hit. Coach Richter had high praise for Tuscola’s leadoff hitter after the game.
“Pretty much Anna Watson beat us,” he said. “Leadoff hitter with a delayed steal of home in the first and took a run on a single to right. She is quite a player.” Read More

Lady Red Advance, Send Five Back to EIU for Saturday’s Finals

Photo by Keith Stewart SOV's Amanda McClain is seen midair during her jump of 18-8 1/2 Thursday at the state track meet preliminaries in Charleston. The jump would not only mark McClain's personal best, but also set a school record.

Photo by Keith Stewart
SOV's Amanda McClain is seen midair during her jump of 18-8 1/2 Thursday at the state track meet preliminaries in Charleston. The jump would not only mark McClain's personal best, but also set a school record.

SOV track team to state finals in four events

May 22, 2015

by Keith Stewart
keith@newsprogress.com

After finishing with a time in the 400m dash more familiar of her freshman year, senior Amanda McClain went and sat down in the grass near the south end of O’Brien Stadium Thursday in Charleston to regroup. There, she remained with her mother and her head coach Kali Taylor, mulling over her 1:00.08
in the 400m dash, an event in which she earned first at last year’s state meet.
“It’s aggravating to get a time like that, that I haven’t done since my freshman year, but I figured it wouldn’t be a very good time because I didn’t have much time to rest. I was pretty tired,” said McClain, who moments before the 400m had anchored the 4x200 relay. “I knew it would be a tight race and there would be a tiny window for our relay to get in depending on how other teams did. I wanted to try to give it all for the relay because it means more to me than the 400.” Read More

Lady Knights Make Good on 2-Seed with Semifinal Win

Photo by Keith Stewart Right fielder Jazmine Arnett prepares to throw to the cut-off after tracking down a triple by Bayleigh Tabor in the top of the fifth.

Photo by Keith Stewart
Right fielder Jazmine Arnett prepares to throw to the cut-off after tracking down a triple by Bayleigh Tabor in the top of the fifth.

Knock Lady Comets out at home Thursday

May 21, 2015

by Keith Stewart
keith@newsprogress.com

It took just one inning Thursday for Arthur-Lovington/Atwood-Hammond’s softball team to put enough runs on the board to advance past regional host Windsor/Stew-Stras in the semi-final.
After four innings of shut-out ball by both teams, the Lady Comets struck first in the top of the fifth thanks to back-to-back hits, the first, a double by senior Kendall Knop, followed by a triple by Bayleigh Tabor.
But the Knights, who had just one hit up until that point, strung together six hits following two immediate outs en route to a six-run fifth.
After two straight strikeouts by Knop, freshman Janette Comstock sent a single to shallow right field. Fellow freshman and pitcher Macy Hollingsworth then reached on a walk. Sophomore Logan Kauffman, bringing the top of the order back round, then reached first after beating the throw from third–a moment that Windsor/Stew-Stras’ coach Kyle Knop says was in some ways the beginning of the end.
“ I’m not going to say he missed the call, but I felt that Arthur got a huge break on the lead-off hitter, who slapped it to our third baseman,” he said. “That was huge, because otherwise that ends the inning.”
After a brief meeting at the mound, senior Samantha Landers stepped to the plate with bases loaded and singled to left field, scoring two. But an error on the fielding allowed Landers to second and a third run to score, putting the Knights up 3-1.
Sophomore Mycaela Miller then stepped up and took the first pitch over the center-field fence for the two-run homer. Read More

Sullivan Softball Staves Off Shelbyville to Advance to Championship

Photo by Keith Stewart Sullivan's Heidi Clements came up big for the Redskins Tuesday, not only with a game-ending double play, but also the tying RBI in the fourth inning.

Photo by Keith Stewart
Sullivan's Heidi Clements came up big for the Redskins Tuesday, not only with a game-ending double play, but also the tying RBI in the fourth inning.

Redskins to play Tuscola Saturday for regional title

May 20, 2015

by Keith Stewart
keith@newsprogress.com

Tuesday evening’s regional semi-final between no. 2 seed and host Sullivan and no. 3 seed Shelbyville saw plenty of back-and-forth momentum that finally ended with a double play in the top of the seventh, earning the Lady Redskins their second straight regional championship appearance.
After taking an early 1-0 lead, Sullivan found themselves down 5-3 heading into the bottom of the fourth.
There, the Lady Red strung together six hits for four runs, including a double to deep left field by Heidi Clements to tie the game at 5-5 before Makenzie Ruppert tripled to deep left field to put Sullivan on top 6-5–a lead they would not give up. Seleste Smith then followed with a single RBI up the middle to put Sullivan ahead 7-5. Read More

Okaw Valley Advances with 20-0 Regional Win over Neoga

McClain perfect in outing

May 20, 2015

By Matt Kracht
NP Sports Reporter

The Timberwolves looked like a number one seed Tuesday night in the second round of the class 1A Windsor/Stew-Stras Regional. Amanda McClain was perfect through four frames striking out nine in a five inning no hitter. Okaw Valley will face the winner of Windsor/Stew-Stras and Arthur-Lovington/Atwood-Hammond Friday in the championship.
A dialed in OV lineup tallied 11 runs in the first two innings with McClain setting the tone by stealing home for the initial run in the bottom of the first. Paige Harlin followed with a two run double to centerfield giving the Timberwolves a 3-0 advantage. Maddie Perrine then capped the inning with a two-run double from the nine hole spotting McClain a six run lead. Timberwolves head coach Dave Benning thought his team fed off each other’s success.
“Hitting is contagious when you are hitting line drives. The confidence builds up and down the lineup. We scored six in the first. It was just a matter of getting on top of this team early and continuing to build momentum. I am very pleased with how we hit the ball today–not just flaring balls out there but hitting with a vengeance.” Read More

Diving Catch Robs Knights in 3-2 Regional Loss

ALAH’s season ends early

May 20, 2015

By Matt Kracht
NP Sports Reporter

Arthur-Lovington/Atwood-Hammond baseball had their season come to an end Monday at home versus the Purple Riders from Arcola. The first round regional hosts got an absolute gem from Tyler Schuring who relieved Ross Ryan after the first inning, but it was not enough. Schuring pitched six innings without allowing an earned run while striking out nine.
Coach Craig Moffett thought the Purple Riders simply had more energy.
“They hit the ball okay, but they were ready to go,” he said. “They were the aggressor today.” Read More

Sullivan Splits Pair at Softball Invitational

Photo by RR Best Pictured are Sullivan high school’s senior softball players who were celebrated last Saturday during their annual invitational tournament in which they placed second. Pictured, left to right, are Elissa Stewart and Brittin Boyer.

Photo by RR Best
Pictured are Sullivan high school’s senior softball players who were celebrated last Saturday during their annual invitational tournament in which they placed second. Pictured, left to right, are Elissa Stewart and Brittin Boyer.

Two seniors also celebrated

May 20, 2015

By Matt Kracht & Keith Stewart
keith@newsprogress.com

A beautiful Saturday for softball ended with rain as invitational hosts Sullivan beat Cumberland in their first game 5-4 but fell 6-3 to tournament winner Mt. Zion during a torrential downpour in the championship.
Taking the mound in game one of the senior day invitational, Heidi Clements pitched seven innings of four run ball allowing six hits and striking out two in the win over Cumberland. The Pirates led 1-0 until the bottom of the fourth inning when the Redskin offense manufactured two runs.
Seleste Smith duplicated the feat in the bottom of the fifth driving in two more, pushing the Redskins to lead 4-1. The Pirates rallied back to make it a 4-3 ball game before the Redskins added an insurance run in the Bottom of the sixth. Read More