Timberwolves Bag Sectional Championship

School history-making continues

June 3, 2015

By Matt Kracht
NP Sports Reporter

Okaw Valley baseball is in elite territory after defeating Blue Ridge 5-2 Monday, advancing to the team’s first ever super sectional. Peyton Hagerman took a no hitter into the fourth inning and struck out 10 batters in the victory.
Hagerman had what you would call an effectively wild day. The senior right hander did his best bulldog impression on the mound, working quickly and keeping the Knights’ hitters uncomfortable at the plate. Okaw Valley head coach Andrew Hagerman said it was a gutsy performance.
“Peyton pitched that game with his heart, not his arm. He threw a lot of gutty pitches in that game. It shows the heart of a champion to execute the way he did even though he hit half the town over there.”
Hagerman allowed a leadoff walk before hitting the opposing pitcher, setting up a two-on, no-out jam in the first inning. Hagerman got out of the threat thanks to a blown attempted squeeze by the Knights’ clean-up hitter. In the bottom half of the inning Hagerman led off the game for the Timberwolves by doubling to the wall in right field. The drive brought the crowd and his teammates to life giving the Timberwolves early confidence. Taylor Coleman followed with a walk, and Garrett Fritz smashed a single up the middle to load the bases for Devon Still. This time it was Okaw Valley’s turn to attempt the squeeze, and they did so to perfection as Still angled the ball to the third base line. Hagerman scored before the ball was fielded, and the ensuing throw to first got away, allowing Coleman to score–hustling all the way from second–spotting the Timberwolves a 2-0 lead and stunning the Knights.

Photo provided by Jennifer Fruchtl Make no mistakes about it, that isn’t a regional title, but instead the first ever sectional title for the Okaw Valley baseball team following their 5-2 win over Blue Ridge Monday in LeRoy.

Photo provided by Jennifer Fruchtl
Make no mistakes about it, that isn’t a regional title, but instead the first ever sectional title for the Okaw Valley baseball team following their 5-2 win over Blue Ridge Monday in LeRoy.

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OV Baseball Makes History with Trip to Sectional Championship

Photo by Keith Stewart Okaw Valley pitcher Peyton Hagerman thrusts his fist into the air after tallying the game-winning strikeout of Wednesday's sectional semi-final against Oakwood.

Photo by Keith Stewart
Okaw Valley pitcher Peyton Hagerman thrusts his fist into the air after tallying the game-winning strikeout of Wednesday's sectional semi-final against Oakwood.

Staple T-Wolf defense and pitching keep hold of 1-0 win

May 27, 2015

by Keith Stewart
keith@newsprogress.com

In football, senior Joe Jeffers was known as “Jumping Joe” for his often aerial grabs as a tight-end. In baseball, he might as well be called “Jackrabbit Joe,” especially after his helmet flew off as he careened past second base Wednesday following his shot to deep right field for a triple. The next at-bat, Peyton Hagerman, sent Jeffers home on an RBI groundout, which would be the one and only run of the game as Okaw Valley defeated Oakwood 1-0 to advance to Saturday’s sectional championship.

“Joe’s triple was the offensive story of the game,” said Okaw Valley head coach Andrew Hagerman. “Devon (Still) was outstanding all day long. Peyton (Hagerman) had an outstanding game. You’re talking about a lot of seniors coming through today.”

Still took the mound for OV to start and would go 5 and 1/3 innings, throwing 85 pitches, which included eight strikeouts, one walk, one hit-by-pitch, and just four hits. Hagerman came in with a high-pressure situation at hand as Oakwood had bases loaded with just one out. The senior would strikeout the next batter in what may have been the second-most pivotal play of the game. The third out then came from the big glove of left-fielder Cody Drake, who had to track the fly ball in the wind. Read More

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