Former Sullivan Dynamic Duo Seeing Success on Second Level

Photo furnished Pictured above is LLC basketball guard Emily Neuhauser.

Photo furnished
Pictured above is LLC basketball guard Emily Neuhauser.

•July 13, 2016•

by Kirk Whitaker
NP Sports

The 2015 Sullivan girls’ basketball team featured two All-Staters in forward Brittin Boyer (first team) and guard Emily Neuhauser (honorable mention).

And after the heartbreaking Regional final loss to T-town that ended their high school careers, both continued collegiately—Boyer at Eastern Illinois University, and Neuhauser at Lake Land College.

Brittin Boyer, EIU basketball, Sullivan class of 2015.

Boyer was eased along in her first season, averaging 10 minutes, scoring 1.5 points, and pulling down 2.0 rebounds per contest, but she showed just how good she could be in her first collegiate game against IUPUI with a season high 10 points and six rebounds.

“We had a huge fan base, and a lot of my family and friends came to the game,” Boyer reminisced. “On top of that we won the game.”

It was one of the few high moments of this past Panther basketball season, as EIU went only 3-25, but there is hope on the horizon. Read More

Area Athletes Representing at the Collegiate Level

•June 22, 2016•

By Kirk Whitaker
NP Sports

It’s about that time of year again. Summer practices, lifting weights, and running galore are the main activities for school sports programs starting their preparation for this coming sports season. Now we take a look at how some area athletes who are now at the collegiate level are doing:

Karly Goodman, Arthur-Lovington/Atwood-Hammond class of 2014, track and field Illinois Wesleyan.

After finishing fifth in the shot put her senior year, the Arthur native continued her career at Illinois Wesleyan and to this point in her career owns the school record in the outdoor shot school record: 42’ 6.75” and has been named All-Conference her freshman and sophomore campaigns. Goodman has also taken up the hammer and javelin throws and holds personal records at 141’8” and 115’ respectively.

Goodman credits her success to this point to coaching, training and a changed mindset.

“Training is a lot different. Because I’m not in any other sports and things are more geared toward strength and explosiveness, I’m in a different kind of “in shape”. My mindset in competition has changed from high school into college. There is always going to be someone better than you so rather than me competing against other athletes, I compete against myself. The coaching is a bit different as well. You are on a first name basis, but there is still an athlete coach barrier. There is definitely a lot more one-on-one time. You have to work harder than you’ve ever worked before. It’s not going to be easy, but if you love it, it’s worth it.”  Read More

Donation Expands Sullivan Cheerleading Squad

•June 15, 2016•

In discussions with the Sullivan-Okaw Valley cheerleading coach, the decision has been made to expand the roster of the 2016-2017 Sullivan-Okaw Valley cheerleading team from 16 up to the 21 members who tried out for the 2016-2017 team.

The coach has determined that she will be able to successfully coach and supervise this number of athletes.

A very generous donation from an anonymous local business owner has been made to the Sullivan-Okaw Valley cheerleading team.  Read More

Winning Season for Okaw Valley Softball

Photo furnished Regional Championship team Front row: Kailyn Boyer, Natalie Jeffers, Kaylee Thomas, Chloe Weybright, Paige Robinson, and Moranda Matheson; Middle row: Grace Harlin, Kayla Wheeler, Gracie Weybright, Dani Dick, Bella Benning, Jess Robinson, Madison Vogel, and Kailey George; Back row: Assistant Coach Wayne Perrine, Assistant Coach Samantha Inman, Maddie Perrine, Danielle Lochbaum, Kyra Jackson, and Head Coach Dave Benning. Timberwolves Softball Award Winners: Okaw Valley Timberwolves softball players were recognized during the recent sports banquet. Most Improved Player-Kailey George; Hustle Award-Kaylee Thomas; Outstanding Defensive Player-Paige Robinson; Outstanding Offensive Player-Natalie Jeffers and Grace Harlin; MVP-Maddie Perrine.

Photo furnished
Regional Championship team
Front row: Kailyn Boyer, Natalie Jeffers, Kaylee Thomas, Chloe Weybright, Paige Robinson, and Moranda Matheson; Middle row: Grace Harlin, Kayla Wheeler, Gracie Weybright, Dani Dick, Bella Benning, Jess Robinson, Madison Vogel, and Kailey George; Back row: Assistant Coach Wayne Perrine, Assistant Coach Samantha Inman, Maddie Perrine, Danielle Lochbaum, Kyra Jackson, and Head Coach Dave Benning.
Timberwolves Softball Award Winners: Okaw Valley Timberwolves softball players were recognized during the recent sports banquet. Most Improved Player-Kailey George; Hustle Award-Kaylee Thomas; Outstanding Defensive Player-Paige Robinson; Outstanding Offensive Player-Natalie Jeffers and Grace Harlin; MVP-Maddie Perrine.

•June 8, 2016•

Okaw Valley softball finished the season in a second place tie in the LOVC NW with a 7-3 record.

Coach Dave Benning’s Timberwolves softball team had a 16-10 overall 2016 record.

From the mound Maddie Perrine’s 12-9 record totaled 100 strikesouts over 112.7 innings pitched. Perrine allowed 131 hits and 32 base on balls, finishing with a 4.53 ERA.

Grace Harlin pitched 22.3 innings with a 2-0 record. Harlin had 15 strikeouts, 21 base on balls and 34 hits for a 4.71 ERA.

Madison Vogel pitched five innings in two games with two strikeouts and 12 hits.

Grace Harlin had 41 hits over 24 games, netting 34 runs for Okaw Valley. Harlin had 10 doubles, three triples and drove in 23 RBIs four a .488 avg. She led the team with 14 stolen bases.

Natalie Jeffers scored 30 runs off 34 hits in 21 games. Jeffers had six doubles, five triples and five home runs with 31 RBIs finishing with a .466 batting average.

Paige Robinson had 29 hits for 22 runs in 19 games. Robinson hit seven doubles and two triples for 13 RBIs and a .483 avg.

Jess Robinson had 29 hits in 124 games for 19 runs. She had three doubles and one home run with 19 RBIs and a .439 batting average. Read More

Fruchtl’s No-No and Fritz’s Power Surge OV to Regional Final

Photo furnished Regional Champion Timberwolves move on to sectionals Thursday in Danville.

Photo furnished
Regional Champion Timberwolves move on to sectionals Thursday in Danville.

•May 25, 2016•

By Kirk Whitaker
News Progress Sports

No­hitter.

When a pitcher allows no ­hits, that normally spells success for his team.

Beat­ down would be a more appropriate term for this one.

Behind a homer and triple by catcher Garrett Fritz, two inning­ ending­double­plays, Drew Fruchtl’s no ­hitter propelled Okaw Valley past Arthur- Lovington/Atwood-Hammond 15-­0 Tuesday night at the St. Teresa Regional semi­finals.

This set up the chance for a repeat Regional championship Saturday against one of the only three teams who had defeated them to date in Windsor/Stewardson­-Strasburg.

“I thought Drew came out really well mixing his pitches up early,” Timberwolves head coach Andrew Hagerman said. “We also gave him some good run support too. We didn’t hit bad, we didn’t hit great, but it was enough today.”

After a four­ run first, the ‘wolves hung a seven spot in the second, chasing Knights’ starter Marcus Vanausdoll from the contest and all hope of a Knight comeback as well. Read More

Fruchtl Shuts Out Arcola for Timberwolves’ Seventh Win

•May 11, 2016•

By Matt Kracht
News Progress Sports

Okaw Valley won their ninth straight contest Friday beating the Purple Riders 9-0.  Senior Drew Fruchtl tossed a complete game gem to stay a perfect 7-0—the best record in the area.

Now 18-2 overall the Timberwolves have a week of conference contests to decide who sits atop the Little Okaw Valley Northwest.  Head coach Andrew Hagerman commented the team was just happy to be playing again after a wet start to May, “It’s 75 and sunny; these kids wanted to come out and swing today. We haven’t played a lot of these days. We have been playing two game weeks instead of four. The conference games we will make up, so we have five or six games this week.”

Arcola threatened to take an early lead in the first after a two out infield single was followed by a double off the fence in right center. Faced with runners on second and third with two outs, Fruchtl bounced back with a clutch strikeout to end the threat.

Timberwolves’ leadoff man Taylor Coleman started a three run rally in the bottom of the first with a single to the gap in right center. Fruchtl then helped his own cause with a double to left, setting up second and third with no outs.   Read More

Blue Dolphins Celebrate the Swim Season

Photo by Jason Smith Blue Dophins Celebrate. Front Row: Alivia Melvin, Max Kersten, Matthew Wesselman, Mason Booker, Madalyn Booker, Zoe Johnson, Johnathan Iacobazzi, Tucker Kull. Back Row: Brodie Goss, Tyler Homann, Anna Wooters, Gabrielle Spain, Natalie Drury, Calista Clark, Jessica Renfro, Natalie Turnbaugh, Sofia Nuzzo.

Photo by Jason Smith
Blue Dophins Celebrate. Front Row: Alivia Melvin, Max Kersten, Matthew Wesselman, Mason Booker, Madalyn Booker, Zoe Johnson, Johnathan Iacobazzi, Tucker Kull. Back Row: Brodie Goss, Tyler Homann, Anna Wooters, Gabrielle Spain, Natalie Drury, Calista Clark, Jessica Renfro, Natalie Turnbaugh, Sofia Nuzzo.

•April 27, 2016•

Sullivan Blue Dolphins closed out another successful season by hosting their team banquet at Sullivan VFW.

The team’s season runs annually from the summer long course season starting in April and swimming through short course season ending in March. The Dolphins celebrated the 50th anniversary of the team this season. Head coach Jason Drury ended the season by continuing his 13 year stretch of championship meets by taking the most swimmers to the Regional meet, Age Group State and Senior State meets.

To show the accumulation of the swimmers’ hard work and dedication throughout the season the following swimmers were awarded individual recognition.

Brodie Goss took home the top prize of Blue Dolphin of the Year. Goss was selected by his teammates for this honor. Consideration for the award is based on hard wordk at practice, respect to coaches and team members, assistance to other swimmers and setting an example of what a Blue Dolphin should be.

The swimmers also vote per practice group for group representative for Blue Dolphin of the Year. Yellow Group selected Clair Welch, Bronze Group Tucker Kull, Silver Group Ethan Schmohe, Gold Group Jessica Renfro and Titanium Natalie Drury.  Read More

Timberwolves Bats Shine in Statement Win over Rams

Photo by RR Best Timberwolves’ Austin Hill’s determination gets him to the bag just as the throw arrives in Okaw Valley’s win over Shelbyville.

Photo by RR Best
Timberwolves’ Austin Hill’s determination gets him to the bag just as the throw arrives in Okaw Valley’s win over Shelbyville.

•April 20, 2016•

By Matt Kracht
NP Sports Reporter

Okaw Valley baseball knocked off crosstown rival Shelbyville 13-3 in impressive fashion Saturday.

Garrett Frtiz allowed two earned runs over five innings to get the win in a quality start.

The Timberwolves’ offense exploded for 10 runs in the fifth inning after a stretch of base hits head coach Andrew Hagerman said was a long time coming.

“We went on a streak of hitting there in the fifth that I have not seen in a long time. It was just single double, double after double line drives really solid hits. No lucky hits or bloopers. We just really took a good approach in that inning and one through nine came up with some big hits,” Hagerman said.

Shelbyville manufactured a run in the first inning to take the early lead.  Okaw Valley responded with a run of their own in the bottom of the inning thanks to an RBI double by Dylan Park.

The Rams added two more runs in the second after a throwing error by the pitcher set up a first and third situation with no outs. A drag bunt for a base hit loaded the bases before a two RBI single made it a 3-1 contest.   Read More

Two Wins For Sullivan at Tuscola Showcase

Photo by Darian Hays Redskin pitcher Dylan Liddiard did the five inning stretch against the Storm, getting eight strikeouts, allowing four hits and one run.

Photo by Darian Hays
Redskin pitcher Dylan Liddiard did the five inning stretch against the Storm, getting eight strikeouts, allowing four hits and one run.

•April 13, 2016•

Sullivan baseball team’s trip to the Tuscola Showcase let the Redskins showcase some talent.

Sullivan came away April 8 with a big 11-1 win over Danville Schlarman and followed up Saturday evening with an 8-4 win over Salt Fork.

Dylan Liddiard pitched the five inning game for the Redskins, giving up four hits, throwing 39 of 65 strikes with eight strikeouts. Liddiard gave up one run and four walks in the game.

Depmatt and Rongy split pitching duties for the Hilltoppers. Depmatt gave up nine runs on four hits in 2.1 innings while getting three strikeouts. Rongy pitched 1.2 innings giving up two hits and two runs.

Alec Ballinger and Zach Hrvol scored home runs in the game.

Ballinger had two hits, scoring three runs with one RBI. Hrvol got a hit, two RBIs and scored twice.

Brett Tuttle scored one run following a base on balls. Bryce Farris scored one time following a  walk.  Read More

Impressive Lady Redskin Win Over Decatur MacArthur Following Tuscola Loss

•April 6, 2016•

By Matt Kracht
NP Sports Reporter

Sullivan softball had a tough start to conference play last Wednesday as the team fell in an away contest to Tuscola 7-1. However, the squad rebounded with an impressive 14-1 result over Decatur MacArthur on 15 hits in just four innings.

Sullivan head coach Andy Wagner credited an improved approach at the plate with the offensive success. “We really emphasized our hitting approach this week. We changed a few approaches with a few of the girls, and we swung the bats a little bit better today.”

Heidi Clements pitched both games for the Lady Redskins and held Tuscola to one run over three innings before a late Warriors rally pushed the contest out of reach. Against Decatur Clements put together an all-conference performance going the distance and coming up one out short of a shutout. Clements allowed only four hits, and MacArthur’s lone run came on a fielder’s choice with the Lady Redskins up by 14. Coach Wagner praised the attitude of Clements through the early part of the schedule. “Heidi pitched her tail off against Tuscola. She threw her changeup more today and deserved a shutout; she threw that well.”

The Lady Redskins put away a talented MacArthur team early with a nine run second inning. Clements helped her own cause with a leadoff single. A walk and a bunt single followed before a line drive to right brought home the game first run.

Irie Dulin crushed a triple to the gap in right field to clear the bases and make it a 4-0 lead with just one out in the inning. An infield single followed before Bailee Pratt came up with the hit of the game.  Read More