A Decade’s Wait No More as OV Wins Regional

Photo by Keith Stewart Pictured is the Okaw Valley softball team with their regional championship. The Lady Timberwolves defeated Arthur-Lovington/Atwood-Hammond 12-2 Friday in Windsor.

Photo by Keith Stewart
Pictured is the Okaw Valley softball team with their regional championship. The Lady Timberwolves defeated Arthur-Lovington/Atwood-Hammond 12-2 Friday in Windsor.

Big fifth inning propels T-Wolves past Knights

May 27, 2015

by Keith Stewart
keith@newsprogress.com

Some will call it a regional championship.
But for those close to the Okaw Valley softball program, including head coach Dave Benning, it’s more like unfinished business.
The Lady Timberwolves, who entered the Windsor/Stew-Stras regional as the no. 1 seed and faced off against two-seed Arthur-Lovington/Atwood-Hammond Friday afternoon, gritted their teeth through four innings before taking advantage of a three-error fifth that would prove pivotal in their 12-2 win.
After the Knights’ Macy Hollingsworth started the bottom of the fifth by striking out Maddie Perrine, the ALAH freshman gave up back-to-back hits to Amanda McClain and Paige Robinson. Then back-to-back errors allowed OV two runs. After the first pitch on Paige Harlin’s at-bat, the Knights attempted a throwout at second, during which Natalie Jeffers stole home. Harlin would soon after lay down a bunt, and the ensuing throw to first was high, allowing yet another run to score, putting OV up 6-2. Jesse Robinson then singled to shortstop, the hard shot ricocheting off the glove to score the last run of the inning. Read More

Lady Red Repeat with McClain’s Incredible Feat

Photo by Keith Stewart Pictured, from left to right, are members of the SOV girls’ track and field team with their third place team trophy at the IHSA state track meet Saturday in Charleston: Head coach Kali Taylor, Ashlynd Risley, Amanda McClain, Emily Neuhauser, Carlin Nuzzo, Bailey Turnbaugh, and Abby Cravatta.

Photo by Keith Stewart
Pictured, from left to right, are members of the SOV girls’ track and field team with their third place team trophy at the IHSA state track meet Saturday in Charleston: Head coach Kali Taylor, Ashlynd Risley, Amanda McClain, Emily Neuhauser, Carlin Nuzzo, Bailey Turnbaugh, and Abby Cravatta.

Three individual crowns propel SOV to third place team trophy

May 27, 2015

by Keith Stewart
keith@newsprogress.com

Sure. The 400m dash and the long jump are both events in which SOV senior Amanda McClain was at the top of her class. But the 200m dash too?
Saturday’s answer was “apparently so,” as she exploded down the big blue track at O’Brien Stadium in Charleston taking first in the 200m event and thus marking her third individual championship on the day. That coupled with Emily Neuhauser’s fourth place finish and an earlier sixth place in the 4x200 earned SOV a third place team trophy for the second straight year.
“To bring that trophy back to the communities of Sullivan, Findlay, and Bethany, it’s just a phenomenal feeling as the SOV coach to be a part of that,” said head coach Kali Taylor. “It’s something these girls are going to remember for the rest of their lives.” Read More

Arthur-Lovington/Atwood-Hammond Advances Three Boys to State in Four Events

Yeakley returns in two events

May 27, 2015

by Keith Stewart
keith@newsprogress.com

The Arthur-Lovington/Atwood-Hammond boys’ track and field team will be sending three athletes to O’Brien Stadium in Charleston Thursday to compete in four events.
“Obviously it’s great for all three to have qualified,” said head coach Ryan Whelan. “Going in to the sectional meet, that was the hope with things.”
Leading the small pack is junior Colton Yeakley who advanced, again, in the discus, with a throw of 165 feet, 10 inches and taking second at the Pana sectional. But the junior also qualified for the shot put with a fifth place throw of 48-3. Read More

Redskins Bow Out with 3-2 Regional Loss to Pana

Pana’s pitching keeps Sullivan at bay

May 27, 2015

By Matt Kracht
NP Sports Reporter

Sullivan baseball lost to Pana in their opening game of the Shelbyville Regional on Thursday. Jacob Piper had a shut out through five innings before a two-out solo home run in the top of the sixth breathed new life into the opposition. Pana would then rally for two more runs in the top of the seventh to steal the victory.
Both pitchers dominated early as the score remained 0-0 until the bottom of the fifth inning. Dakota Clayton earned a leadoff walk before Drew Harris doubled Clayton’s pinch runner home from the nine spot to give Sullivan the 1-0 lead. Harris then stole third and scored on a throwing error sporting Piper his first lead at 2-0. Read More

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