WIU Senior Linebacker and Macomb native Brett Taylor picked up additional pre season accolades. Taylor has been named to the STATS Top 10 FCS Player List. Taylor is ranked tenth on a list that includes athletes on both sides of the ball. He was named to Athlon's pre-season All-American list last week.
Last season he led WIU with 134 total tackles (94 solos). He led the nation with a 8.5 solo tackles per game average. His stellar season earned him seventhplace in the Buck Buchanan Award voting (National Defensive Player of the Year), First Team All-Missouri Valley Football Conference and First Team Academic All-MVFC honors.
Many different major storylines came out of last night's NBA draft. For Bulls fans, it's about the new direction the team is going in after trading all star Jimmy Butler to Minnesota for the seventh overall pick and young former lottery picks Kris Dunn and Zach LaVine. With that pick they took Arizona big man Lauri Markannen.
What won't get discussed, but is very relevant to this region, is the seventh to last pick in the draft. With the 54th overall pick, the Phoenix Suns took Valparaiso forward Alec Peters, who hails from Washington Community High School in Washington, IL.
Peters is a 6'9 forward that in a draft chock full of one-and-done prospects from power five schools, played four years of college basketball at a Horizon League school of 4,500 students in rural Indiana. He put up monster numbers during his time at Valpo, especially this past year when he averaged 22.5 points and 9.9 rebounds per game.
He's the prototypical "stretch four," that NBA teams covet, given his length and ability to shoot from outside. He shot at a 36.9% clip from three point range last season (very respectable for a big man), while hitting a remarkable 88.8% of his foul shots. Yet, he was taken at the back end of the second round.
The combination of the Peoria Irish AAU product being over 22 years old (teams tend to be cautious with older prospects) and the questions about competition level may have brought down his stock a tad. Regardless, a young Phoenix team will now have another piece that has proven he can play. He will now just have to prove it again at the next level.
Wednesday Morning by WIU Athletic Communications
Western Illinois head volleyball coach Kelly Richardson announced the Leathernecks' 2017 schedule Tuesday (June 20). WIU is slated to play 15 total home matches, including two home tournaments.
"We are very excited about our 2017 schedule. We will be hosting two tournaments here in Macomb, which will be an excellent opportunity for our kids to get quality time on our home floor," said Richardson. "We are also looking forward to the community being able to see this 2017 squad early on in the season."
Western kicks off the season Aug. 25-26 with the first of its two home tournaments, the Hampton Inn Leatherneck Invitational. The Leathernecks are slated to face Manhattan, Chicago State and Evansville over the two days of competition.
WIU then heads to Birmingham, Alabama, for UAB's tournament Sept. 2-3 where the Leathernecks will play matches against Austin Peay, Charleston Southern and UAB. The Leathernecks then play a single non-league game at Southeast Missouri State on Sept. 4 before heading to Charleston, Illinois for Eastern Illinois' tournament for three more matches Sept. 8-9 against Chicago State, Alabama A&M and EIU.
After the Leathernecks play host to Saint Louis on Sept. 12, Western will host its second home tournament of the season, the Buffalo Wild Wings Invitational, on Sept. 15-16 to conclude non-league action where it will face Valparaiso, Drake and McNeese State inside Western Hall.
Summit League play begins with trips to South Dakota (Sept. 22) and Oral Roberts (Sept 24). WIU then plays three straight league contests at home against Omaha (Sept. 29), IUPUI (Oct. 1) and South Dakota State (Oct. 6).
The remainder of the schedule incudes five home matches and six matches on the road, all of which are Summit League contests. The Leathernecks play host to South Dakota (Oct. 20), Oral Roberts (Oct. 22), Fort Wayne (Nov. 7), North Dakota State (Nov. 10) and Denver (Nov. 12) for their final home contests, and play at Fort Wayne (Oct. 8), Denver (Oct. 13), North Dakota State (Oct. 15), IUPUI (Oct. 24), Omaha (Oct. 27), South Dakota State (Nov. 4) to conclude their away schedule.
"With a large group of upperclassmen returning and a very talented group of newcomers, we are expecting big things this fall. This group is motivated and is a true representation of the team culture we're building here with Leatherneck volleyball," concluded Richardson.
WIU Football has penciled in home and home contests with both North Alabama in 2019 and 2020 and Southern Utah in 2022 and 2023.
The UNA Lions have never met the Leathernecks. The 2019 contest will be the season opener for WIU, with the game being held in Florence, Alabama. The 2020 game will take place at Hanson Field. North Alabama will make the transition from Division II to FCS starting in the 2018 season.
Western Illinois is 4-0 all-time against Southern Utah Thunderbirds. The 2022 game will be played at Hanson Field, while the 2023 contest takes place in Cedar City, Utah.
The Western Illinois Men's Basketball team will face Butler on the road next season in a non-league matchup. The Leathernecks and Bulldogs will meet in the historic Hinkle Fieldhouse in Indianapolis on Thursday, December 21.
WIU went 8-20 last season, losing in the first round of the Summit League Tournament. Butler, of the Big East Conference, went 25-9 last season while advancing to the Sweet 16 in the NCAA Tournament. The program has won games in March Madness in each of the last three seasons.
Former Western Illinois Baseball catcher Adam Mcginnis has signed a free agent deal with the Chicago White Sox, following the 2017 MLB First-Year Player Draft. This comes after he was not one of the 1,215 players chosen during the draft. He has reported to the team's minor league program in Arizona.
McGinnis led the Summit League in batting average (.355) and on-base percentage (.471) in 2017. He is a finalist for the Johnny Bench Award, given to the top collegiate catcher in the nation. The Normal, IL product finished his WIU career in the 'Top 10' in hits (178/8th), doubles (34/T-8th), RBI (98/T-9th) and games played (5th).
New Macomb High Head Football Coach Tony Westen came on K100 this morning to discuss his summer youth camp. The Air-Raid Youth Football Camp will be held June 26-29 at Macomb High School. The camp is for athletes entering grades K-8. The cost is $30 per athlete, and $50 for families.
Coach Westen and his staff plan to focus on just getting the kids running around with a ball in their hands. No pads or cleats will be needed at the camp. All participants need to come in are shorts a t-shirt and sneakers.
For more details on the camp, listen to my interview with Coach Westen here.
Lance Lenoir, the all-time leader in just about every Western Illinois Football receiving category, has signed on with the Dallas Cowboys. Details of Lenoir's contract have not been released, but he will participate in the team's mini-camp this week in Frisco, Texas. The signing comes a month after the Chicago native participated in the Bears rookie camp, but did not latch onto the roster.
Lenoir set school records with 273 receptions, 3,796 yards, 28 touchdowns, 14 100-yard receiving games, two 200-yard games and 41 consecutive games with a reception. The receptions mark is also a Missouri Valley Football Conference Record.
The game will be played at the Hilton Coliseum in Ames, Iowa. This comes as part of the team’s #MatchupMonday campaign, in which they’ll announce a different non-league opponent for the 2017-18 season. every Monday moving forward.
The Leathernecks are coming off a 8-20 season in which the team lost in the quarterfinal round of the Summit League Tournament. Iowa State went 24-11 last year and were the Big 12 Tournament Champions. The Cyclones have made 6 consecutive march madness appearances.
Indiana Pacers forward Glenn Robinson III is coming off his third season in the NBA. He averaged career highs in points (6.1 ppg), rebounds (3.6 rpg), and minutes per game (20.7 mpg). He also won the NBA's Slam Dunk competition this year.
Robinson is having a busy offseason as he has released a new signature basketball shoe with the Chinese brand Li-Ning, paying homeage to the state of Indiana with a Pacers themed design. He of course is also focused on improving his game, as he looks to take the next step in his young career.
I spoke with Robinson about these topics, along with the NBA Finals. Listen below to hear what he had to say.
The official field list for the John Deere Classic has been announced and once again some of the biggest names in golf will be coming to Deere Run in Silvis, Illinois. Defending John Deere Classic 2016 champion Ryan Moore headlines the field that also includes former three time champion Steve Stricker, 2014 champion Brian Harmon, and John Deere Classic's very own board member and former champion Zach Johnson. Not currently on the list of returning champions but not yet officially out of the field is Jordan Spieth. The 2013 and 2015 JDC champ through representatives has committed to play in the Travelers Championship on June 22nd but is not yet commenting on his schedule following that tournament the week of June 22nd. Players have until Friday, July 7th at 5 Pm to join the field for the John Deere Classic. The full field is listed below.
Miguel Angel Carballo
Brendon de Jonge
Derek Fathauer Gonzalo Fdez-Castano
Charles Howell III
Si Woo Kim
Frank Lickliter II
Andrew Loupe Bill Lunde
Ted Potter, Jr.
Andres Romero Rory Sabbatini
Tyrone Van Aswegen
4 Open Qualifying
1 Sponsors Exemptions - Web.com Tour Finals
2 Sponsors Exemptions - Members not otherwise exempt
1 Section Exemption
156 Players in the Field
*Field list is not final until 5 PM on Friday, July 7th. Players are allowed to add or withdraw from the field until the deadline.
Western Illinois Baseball's Drue Galassi has been named to Collegiate Baseball's Freshman All-America Team. Galssi, a redshirt freshman outfielder hit .281 on the year, adding six doubles, one triple and 29 runs scored. Galassi also finished second on the squad with nine stolen bases and a .519 slugging percentage.
A highlight of Galssi's season was a win over SIU-Edwardsville, in which he crushed two grand slams. In that 21-4 victory, the Peoria Richwoods product went 5-5 at the plate, scoring five runs while driving in ten. The performance earned him the National 'Co-Player of the Week' award from Collegiate Baseball and The Summit League's 'Player of the Week' honor.
Galssi becomes the third Leatherneck to earn this distinction.
The Western Illinois Fighting Leathernecks Football Team is ranked 19 in the Athlon Sports Preseason FCS Top 25 Poll. Western is one of five teams in the Missouri Valley Football Conference to make the list. WIU is also the only university in the state of Illinois to crack the top 25, with Illinois State earning a spot in the "others to watch," category.
The Leathernecks went 6-5 (3-5 MVFC) last season, but lost four of their final five games. The team returns 18 starters in Charlie Fisher's second season at the helm of the program.
The Western Illinois Football and Baseball programs have released information regarding their summer camps. WIU Head Football Coach Charlie Fisher will hold prospect camps Friday June 16 and Saturday July 15. The camps are open to football players entering grades 9-12. Western Head Baseball Coach Ryan Brownlee will run camp for players ages 6-18 from June 26-30.
The following details on the camps come via WIU Athletic Communications:
The June 16 Football Prospect Camp goes from 5:30-9 p.m. The July 15 camp runs from 1-4:30 p.m. Each camp is $50 for pre-registered participants, with a t-shirt included. Walk-up registrations will be accepted the day of the camp for $60 each.
All players are to bring a mouth piece, cleats or tennis shoes, and a helmet. Offensive and defensive linemen should also bring shoulder pads along with their helmet. For more information on the camp or to sign up, go to www.LeatherneckFootballCamps.com or contact assistant coach David Rocco at DC-Rocco@wiu.edu.
The Leatherneck Baseball Camp will be broken down into four sessions: hitting (June 26), pitching (June 27), defense (June 28) and a showcase camp (June 29) to close out the week. June 30 is a rain make-up date if needed. Players between the ages of 14-18 will attend the morning session from 10 a.m. until 12 noon. Ages 6-13 can show up for the morning and afternoon session (1-3 p.m.), or can choose to attend the fundamentals-only afternoon session.
The cost is $30 each day or $100 each if the camp attendee signs up for all four days in advance. Campers who attend every session will also receive a WIU Baseball t-shirt. Those attending camp should bring a baseball glove, bat and batting helmet. To sign up online, go to www.LeatherneckBaseballCamps.com. For more information on the camps contact assistant coach Parker Osborne at ParkerOsborneWIU@gmail.com.
The Western Illinois Baseball team fell to North Dakota State 11-4 on Thursday afternoon, in an elimination game at the Summit League Tournament in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The Leathernecks season ends with a 18-32 record and a nine game losing streak. Western advanced to the tournament as a four seed, making the postseason for the first time since 2014.
With sophomore Ian Koch on the mound for the Leathernecks, North Dakota State got ahead early. A one run first inning and a five run second inning made it a 6-0 Bison lead. Koch was pulled after 1.2 innings, giving up those six runs. Only two were earned, as fielding troubles plaugued the Leathernecks all day. In all, WIU committed five errors.
While a Conner Currier RBI single in the second and an Adam McGinis RBI ground out garned runs for Western in the second and third innings, the Leathernecks were down big, with NDSU up 8-2 after three. WIU clawed back, not allowing any runs betwen the fourth an eighth innings. A Currier solo home run in the seventh and Deion Thompson fielder's choice in the eighth made it a four run game heading into the final inning.
Senior reliever Nate Westfahl had pitched very well for WIU to that point, throwing five shutout innings out of the pen. The Bison were able to get to him in that final inning though, scoring three more runs. Western could not pull off anything in the bottom of the ninth, ending the game and the Leatherneck's season with an 11-4 loss.
The Macomb high school softball team lost to Washington 10-0 in a six inning Regional Semifinal game Thursday afternoon in Bartonville. The seventh seeded Lady Bombers came into the game following a 13-0 win over tenth seeded Peoria Central on Wednesday afternoon. Macomb finishes the season 14-19.
Washington has been a top five team in the 3A rankings all season long, and displayed why during this game. A Macomb error and an ensuing RBI double brought in two runs for Washington. MHS pitcher Jordyn Hare kept the scoreboard clean the next two innings, but faced more trouble in the fourth. Back to back solo home runs expanded the Washington lead to 2-0. A three-run home run in the fifth then made the score 7-0 Washington. Three more runs crossed for Washington in the bottom of the sixth, making the score 10-0 and ending the game in mercy rule fashion.
Macomb only had two hits on the afternoon, while committing five errors. Washington moves on to face Limestone today in the Regional Finals in Bartonville.
WIU baseball kicked off the Summit League Tournament in Tulsa, Oklahoma with a 5-2 loss to Oral Roberts. The fourth seeded Leathernecks now move on to face second seeded North Dakota State today at noon, facing elimination.
The Leathernecks fell to the Golden Eagles in familar fashion, as the game slipped away in the seventh and eighth innings. A two run third inning gave ORU the lead, but WIU tied things back up with a run in both the fifth and sixth innings. Small-ball is what Western needed to do to bring in these runs, with a fifth inning Steve McShane groundout scoring Chris Tschida and an RBI single from Mitch Ellis evening things up at two in the sixth.
An Oral Roberts sacrifice fly gave the Golden Eagles a 3-2 lead in the bottom of the seventh. Then it was cleanup hitter Noah Cummings that opened the game up for ORU, hitting a two-run homer in the bottom of the eighth. Western did not score in the final three innings, falling 5-2. WIU starter Preston Church pitched a complete game for Western Illinois in the loss. He gave up five runs on eight hits with two walks and five strikeouts. The Leathernecks had six hits on the night.
The Macomb High Baseball Team (10-18) ended its season yesterday with a 10-0 loss to Geneseo in 3A Regionals. The young Bombers team fell behind early, losing the game in five innings. The Macomb Softball Team lives to see another day, topping Peoria Central 13-0 in their regional opener. The Lady Bombers move on to face Washington today in Bartonville.
Macomb kept the game close for the first two innings, only giving up one run in that time. Geneseo started to pull away in the third, scoring three runs to make the score 4-0. Two more runs crossed the plate for Geneseo in the bottom of the fourth, making the score 6-0. After giving up those six runs in four innings, pitcher Brandon Bickers was pulled for Macomb. The bullpen failed to get a single out in the bottom of the fifth, with four more Geneseo runs scoring to end the playoff game in mercy rule fashion. The one Bombers hit on the day came on a Ben Higgins third inning infield single.
It only took four innings for Macomb to capture the double digit run lead needed to secure a mercy rule win. The Lady Bombers scored their 13 runs off of 16 hits, including a six run first inning to start the home game in style. Jordyn Hare pitched a one-hit shutout, striking out 12 Lions batters in five innings. The game was played under very sloppy conditions, given the consistancy of percipitation in Macomb over the past week. MHS heads to Bartonville today to meet Washington, who had a bye in the first round of regionals.
Digger Phelps has met many important people in his lifetime. From his twenty year stint as the Notre Dame Head Men's Basketball Coach to his twenty year broadcasting career at ESPN (with experience in President George H.W. Bush's White House Administration in between), Phelps has crossed paths with a variety of people. One figure he shared a particularly special bond with was former Notre Dame University president Father Theodore Hesburgh.
Hesburgh, who passed away in 2015 at the age of 97, held that title at Notre Dame from 1952-1987. In that span his accomplishments included influence in the Civil Rights Movement, charitable work, and the significant growth of Notre Dame as an academic institution as well as an athletic powerhouse. It would be Father Ted's 100th birthday on Thursday, May 25.
In Phelps' book, Father Ted Hesburgh: He Coached Me, he sheds light on the personal life of Father Ted, from the basketball locker room in the 1970s to the final days of his life and everything in between. The book will be released in June. Phelps is using proceeds from the book to set up a scholarship in Ted Hesburgh's name for Notre Dame students in need of additional financial aid.
My interview with Digger Phelps can be heard below.
0:00-3:08 Intro and the process of writing the book
3:08-5:08 What Digger learned about Father Ted at Notre Dame
5:08-7:19 Father Ted's style of leadership
7:19-9:07 What Digger wants people to learn about Father Ted & how his 100th birthday is being celebrated
The Western Illinois Baseball team is in Tulsa, Oklahoma for tomorrow's Summit League Tournament. Western (18-30, 12-15 Summit League) returns to the tournament for the first time since 2014.
Coming in as the four seed, WIU will meet the top seeded Oral Roberts Golden Eagles for a 6:00 PM contest. The winning team will play the victor of (2) North Dakota State and (3) South Dakota State Thursday at 6:00 PM. The losing teams from each Wednesday game will meet Thursday at noon. The double-elimination style tournament concludes Saturday, with the championship earning an automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament.
For the Oral Roberts game, the projected starter is senior Preston Church. The southpaw sports a 3.56 ERA on the year and bosts a 3-4 record. He missed a month during the second half of the season, but has made two starts in the final two weeks of the season. Church pitched well against Oral Roberts last Friday, throwing five innings of one-run ball in Macomb. He allowed just three hits while striking out six batters in the no decision.
On the season, WIU is 1-4 against ORU, 1-5 in meetings with NDSU and 2-4 vs. SDSU. Western is the only Summit League team to win a road game against Oral Roberts, which finished the year 25-4 in league play.
I spoke with Western Illinois Head Baseball Coach Ryan Brownlee about the tournament and what his team needs to do to make a run in Tulsa.
In the opening game of its series with Oral Roberts, Western Illinois Baseball lost 16-5 Thursday afternoon at Alfred D. Boyer Stadium. The loss locked WIU into fourth place in the Summit League, which means these two teams will meet in the opening game of the league tournament in Tulsa on Wednesday. Western's record now sits at 18-29 on the year and 12-14 in Summit League play. ORU is now 38-14 overall and 24-4 in league games.
While sophomore right hander Ian Koch picked up the Leatherneck loss, he pitched well early, holding the top scoring team in the league to three runs through five innings. Junior Johnathan Fleek was locked in early at the plate, hitting that RBI single in the third inning, as he started the game off 2-2 at the dish.
In the sixth inning the wheels fell off for the Leathernecks. After Koch allowed three baserunners on his first four batters faced, reliever Pete Minella could not get WIU out of the jam. Four Golden Eagle runs came across that inning, moving the score to 7-5 in favor of ORU.
Oral Roberts scored nine more runs over the next three innings, including six in the ninth inning. The combination of Minella, Connor Rektorski, and J.T. Baksha out of the bullpen could not get much going, giving up a total of ten runs and three home runs. Western only put five more runners on base, while getting three additional hits.
With the final score reaching 16-5, Western lost to Oral Roberts for the third time this season. The teams meet at Alfred D. Boyer Stadium again today at 1:00 PM, for the second game of a three game series.
Coach Brownlee and I previewed the final series of the regular season for WIU. Western hosts Oral Roberts in a home series starting today and going through Saturday. The Summit League Tournament starts up Wednesday, where the 4th seeded Leathernecks are most likely set to play Oral Roberts in the first round of the double elimination tournament in Tulsa.
We also discussed the way Adam McGinnis has continued to excel this season, as he was named a Semifinalist for the Johnny Bench Award, given to the top catcher in the nation. McGinnis leads the Summit League in a number of categories, including batting average and on-base percentage.
The Macomb High Baseball team took down Rock Island 6-3 on the road Tuesday afternoon. The game went nine innings, with a four run outburst in the ninth propelling the Bombers to victory. The win snaps a two-game losing streak for MHS, imrpoving the team's record to 10-16.
Macomb got on the board first, with a fielder's choice and an RBI single bringing in one run each. Junior Brandon Bickers was superb on the mound, not allowing any runs in his five innings of work. He only could throw five innings, after reaching the pitch count limit. In his time on the mound, he only allowed two hits and four walks, while striking out four batters. Sophomore Ben Higgins pitched the rest of the way for MHS.
In the bottom of the seventh inning with Macomb still up 2-0, the Bombers ran into some trouble. With two outs, an RBI single followed by a Macomb error brought in the two tying runs for Rock Island. With two runners on and two outs Higgins recorded the final out on a fly ball. The game moved to extra innings.
Neither team scored in the eighth, but MHS tacked on four ninth inning runs to take a commanding 6-2 lead. A two-run double by Bickers and a two-run single by Parker Schmalshof advanced the score to that. A Rock Island run came across in the bottom of the ninth on a passed ball, but Higgins was able to get out of the inning with the victory.
Macomb's next game will come Thursday afternoon, at Quincy High.
The Leatherneck baseball team went 0-3 over the weekend at North Dakota State. Western lost 5-2 on Friday, 8-0 Saturday and 6-3 Sunday. The results push WIU down to fourth in the Summit League Standings with a 12-13 mark. South Dakota State, having won five straight games, jumps ahead of Western to third place in the standings.
WIU wraps up regular season play this week, when it hosts first place Oral Roberts. That series begins Thursday afternoon at Alfred D. Boyer Stadium, with games to follow Friday and Saturday. Western has already clinched a playoff berth, and is very likely locked into fourth place in the league. To move back into third, WIU would need to win two out of three against the Golden Eagles in Macomb, while also getting three losses from SDSU to Omaha.
The Western Illinois Softball team wrapped up its season Friday, losing games to IUPUI (9-4) and North Dakota State (6-3). Without winning the Summit League, Western had to rely on a spot in the 48-team National Invitational Softball Championship to keep its season alive. That opportunity did not present itself when the field was announced Sunday night. WIU's season concluded with a 22-32 record overall and a 11-7 Summit League mark.
The Leathernecks started the tournament off in dramatic fashion, defeating South Dakota State on a walkoff grand slam. Western then took down North Dakota State 4-3 on Thursday afternoon, setting up a showdown with the top seeded IUPUI Jags on Friday morning.
WIU was up for a majority of the game vs IUPUI, carrying a 3-1 lead into the sixth inning. At that point the wheels fell off for the Leathernecks, with the opposition scoring four runs in each of the two ensuing innings. Western was outhit 11-5 in the contest
The second game that day pinned the Leathernecks up against the same North Dakota State team they topped the day before. NDSU jumped ahead early, tacking on four runs in the first inning. Western got on the board in the third inning, punching in a run. The Leathernecks tacked on another in the fourth inning, cutting the gap to 4-2. With the Bison scoring another two runs in the fifth, that was as close as the score got.
This marked the first time since 2010 in which the team won two plus games at the Summit League Tournament. Junior Kelsey Marlow, along with sophomores Emily Ira and Hailey Duwa, were named to the All Tournament Team.
In his fifteen-year MLB career, David Ross has seen a whole lot. His career had both peaks and valleys, but culminated with him playing a key cog in the Cubs 2016 World Series run as a major veteran locker room presence. This is a role Ross grew into throughout his career, and also excelled in as a member of the 2013 World Series Champion Boston Red Sox.
Ross has parlayed that into an eventful schedule after his retirement, following the 2016 World Series. He has released a book called TEAMMATE: My Journey in Baseball and a World Series for the Ages. The book, co-written with New York Times best selling author Don Yaeger, is in the works of being turned into a motion picture.
Ross is also on the current season of Dancing with the Stars. Partnered with professional dancer Lindsay Arnold, the pair has advanced to the semi-finals of the competition. One number they performed was a Cubs themed quickstep.
Along with former Cubs teammates Anthony Rizzo and Dexter Fowler (as well as actor and Cubs fan Bill Murray) Ross made an appearance on Saturday Night Live back in November. They performed a skit and took part in a Weekend Update singing of Go Cubs Go.
I spoke with Ross about the book, some of the more memorable anecdotes from his career, and his adventures in retirement. You can listen to the interview below.
0:00-1:58 Discussing his new book
1:58-3:28 Favorite anecdote from book
3:28-5:14 How he evolved into such a key cog of the Cubs team
5:14-6:23 His involved in the movie based on his book
6:23-7:46 Dancing with the Stars
7:46-8:53 Going on Saturday Night Live following the World Series
8:53-10:22 His current involvement with the Cubs in retirement
The WIU Softball Team won its opening game of the Summit League Tournament in spectacular fashion. Third seeded Western topped sixth seeded South Dakota State 12-8 to take the game, after trailing 8-3 going into the bottom of the sixth inning. The game concluded with a walk off grand slam from the bat of senior Holly Hoelting. The team moves on to face second seeded North Dakota State on their home field this afternoon.
Despite having a better regular season league mark than the Jacks, the 'Necks just went 1-2 in a series against the team to close the season. Each of those contests was seperated by a one run margain. This game started out scoreless, with WIU ace Emily Ira and SDSU's Ashlyn Bender dealing early. In the third inning Ira gave up four runs, with Bender allowing one run in the bottom half of the third. In the fourth inning, South Dakota State tacked on two more runs, ith Western bringing one across.
After a scoreless fifth and a two-run effort in the top of the sixth, Western Illinois was in a 8-3 hole. As the team has done time and time again this season, it buckled down and rallied. Junior Kelsey Marlow smacked a triple down the right field line to bring in teammate Sam Ralphs. Marlow scored on an ensuing illegal pitch. Then a two-run home run by sophomore designated player Hailey Duwa brought Western within one run. The score was 8-7 heading into the bottom of the last, with the Jacks going down 1-2-3 in the top half of the inning.
Relief pitcher Payton Abbott led off the inning with a solo home run, tying the game up at eight. A single by Sam Ralphs was sandwiched between Leatherneck outs. Western drew consecutive walks from Nina Maggio and Marlow, set up a bases-loaded situation for Hoelting with two outs. Hoelting of course crushed the ball over the center field fence in Fargo, giving WIU the victory.
Western faces second seeded North Dakota State today at 2:30 PM.
The Macomb High Baseball Team took down Quincy Notre Dame 6-4 at home Tuesday afternoon. The win came just one day after a 5-0 Senior Night loss to Galesburg. Macomb's record improves to 9-14 on the season.
Neither team scored until the fourth inning, with Bombers Junior Brandon Bickers and Raiders pitcher Nick Wellman having initial success on the hill. A fielder's choice and sacrifice fly brought in the first two QND runs in the top of the fourth. In the bottom half of the inning, MHS responded with a fielder's choice and RBI single to even the score up at 2-2.
The big damage for Macomb came in the bottom of the fifth. The Bombers tacked on four runs that inning, with Korby Foxall, Blake Kelly, Parker Schmalshof and Cale Reeves accounting for RBI's. Wellman was pulled after 4.1 innings, giving up all six runs. Bickers stayed on the mound for Macomb until the bottom of the seventh, when Gunner Lantz came in to record the final two outs. Bickers finished the day with eight strikeouts compared to four walks in 6.1 innings.
The Bombers are back on the field Friday, when they head to Moline Senior High.
Western Illinois Baseball (18-25, 12-10 Summit League) has finished another week of playing competitive baseball, getting mixed results. The team topped Iowa 7-5 at home last Tuesday to begin the week. Then Western traveled to South Dakota State, going 1-2 there. WIU won a Friday night contest 7-5, followed by a 18-8 Saturday loss and a 8-7 walkoff loss on Sunday.
Two players garnered weekly awards. Senior catcher Adam McGinnis earned Summit League Player of the Week, while sophomore pitcher Pete Minella took home Summit League Co-Pitcher of the Week. McGinnis hit 375 last week (6-for-16), scored seven runs, drove in eight, hit two doubles and all three of his home runs came at South Dakota State. Minella pitched 6.0 innings in two appearances, giving up three hits, one unearned run and no walks to seven strikeouts.
The Leathernecks sit at third place in the Summit League, two games behind North Dakota State for second place. The team travels to Fargo this weekend to play the NDSU Bison. WIU went 1-2 in a close series against North Dakota State in late March in Macomb.
I spoke with Head Coach Ryan Brownlee about last week's outcomes and what to look at heading into this week. Below is our full conversation.
0:00-3:55 Intro/Thoughts on Last Week's Games
3:55-5:57 Coming Back from Early Defecit Friday
5:57-7:31 Team's Current Mindset
7:31- 9:16 Importance of Upcoming NDSU Series Pertaining to Conference Implications
The Macomb High School Baseball Team (7-12) won its second straight game, topping Rushville Industry (13-7) 4-2 on Wednesday. The Bombers utilized timely hitting and a dominant pitching performance from Junior ace Brandon Bickers to take down the Rockets.
Macomb and Rushville-Industry traded runs in the first inning. A Korby Foxall RBI double scored Ben Higgins in the top half of the frame, giving the Bombers the 1-0 lead. The Rockets answered right back with an unearned run coming across on an MHS error. Rushville took the lead in the bottom of the second, bringing another run in on a Macomb fielding mishap. This made the score 2-1.
Brandon Bickers continued to work through a tough Rockets lineup throughout the game. He did not allow an earned run on the afternoon, and only gave up four hits and three walks while striking out ten batters.
In the top of the sixth inning the Bombers were able to rattle off three runs. An RBI single from Alex Drannes, a fielder's choice off a Will Hall bunt, and a Brendan Mueller RBI single gave the Bombers the three-run lead. Bickers finished the job off in the bottom of the sixth to notch the 4-2 Macomb victory.
The Bombers are back home today to face Rock Island. Rushville-Industry plays Triopia at home today.
The Western Illinois Baseball team (16-23, 11-8 Summit League) has vaulted up to second place in the Summit League standings. The Leathernecks defeated Illinois State 4-1 on the road last Tuesday, then topped Omaha 3-1 Friday. Games were rained out against the Mavericks Saturday and Sunday, and will not be made up.
Western hosts Iowa Tuesday afternoon, and will play at South Dakota State over the weekend. With ten regular season games remaining, WIU is positioning itself nicely heading into postseason play. The team has gone 9-4 since a mid-week 9-3 loss at Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville on April 4.
I spoke with WIU Head Baseball Coach Ryan Brownlee about the team's recent success and how they look to continue it, heading into the homestretch of the regular season. Listen to my conversation with Coach Brownlee below.
0:00-2:55 WIU's Continued Success
2:55-5:41 SIU-E Loss Marking Turning Point in Season
5:41-8:46 Not Being Able to Play Full Series with Omaha Due to Rainouts
8:46-10:04 Preview of Tuesday’s Iowa Game
10:04-12:06 South Dakota State Preview
12:06-13:23 Team Taking Pitstop at Jonathan Fleek’s Hometown on the Way to SDSU & WESPY Award Recognition
13:23-15:01 Adam McGinnis’s Student Athlete Award/Program’s Academic Success
The Western Illinois Baseball (16-23, 11-8 Summit League) and Softball (19-28, 10-5 Summit League) teams faced more than just their scheduled opponents this past weekend. With heavy doses of rain throughout the region, each team only was able to play one game.
WIU baseball took down Omaha 3-1 on Friday in Macomb. Under overcast skies at Alfred Boyer Stadium, sophomore pitcher Ian Koch (5-2) went 6.2 innings for Western, allowing one run and five hits. Fellow sophomore Pete Minella pitched the final 2.1 innings, earning his fourth save of the year.
The Leathernecks only had four hits on the day, but half of them were extra base hits. Western took a 1-0 lead in the first innings with Chris Tschida hitting a sacrifice fly to right field. Steve McShane scored the initial run, having hit a leadoff double followed by stealing third base.
Omaha tacked on a run in the top of the third, but Western responded with two more tallies in the bottom of the inning. Drue Galassi hit a RBI single up the middle that brought home Cord Curch. Then Tschida accounted for another RBI, bringing home Galassi after he stole second and advanced to third on a wild pitch. This made the score 3-1, at which it would remain throughout the game.
WIU was initially scheduled to play Omaha Saturday and Sunday, but games were rained out both days. There will be no make up date. The teams hosts Iowa on Tuesday, before traveling to South Dakota State for a weekend series.
Western softball lost 10-6 at Iowa State Saturday morning. The Leathernecks scored four runs in the top of the first, but were quickly matched by the Cyclones. Sophomore pitcher Megan Lotarski couldn't make it out of the first frame for WIU, giving up four runs on three hits in that time. Ace Emily Ira was forced to come in to relieve her. She struck out the first batter she faced, leaving the score at 4-4.
The Cyclones took a 6-4 lead in the third inning, with the Leathernecks responding in the top of the fourth with two runs of their own. The score was 6-6 at that point. A two-run home run in the bottom of the fifth, followed by a two-run single in the bottom of the sixth, made the score 10-6 Iowa State. That did not change in the seventh inning, with the Cyclones earning the victory in what was supposed to be game one of a doubleheader.
The backend of the doubleheader was rained out Saturday, as were Sundays games. Western travels to South Dakota State this weekend for a three-game series to close out regular season play.
Former Western Illinois Football Wide Receiver Lance Lenoir Jr. has been invited to the Chicago Bears post-draft rookie minicamp. The Chicago native finished his senior season as WIU's all-time leader in: receptions (273), yards (3,796), touchdowns (28), 100-yard games (14), 200-yard games (2) and consecutive games with a catch (41).
"I was expecting to get drafted, but this is a great opportunity I have with the Chicago Bears. It's a great feeling, but I've got a lot to prove and I want to show what the other 31 teams missed out on," said Lenoir to GoLeathernecks.com.
Lenoir will attend the upcoming three-day minicamp in Lake Forest. Chicago will then have to decide whether to invite him to the team's training camp.
After winning three out of four games last week, the WIU Baseball Team (14-23, 10-8 Summit League), is tied for second place in the Summit League with North Dakota State. The Leathernecks smoked SIU-E 21-4 on Tuesday, then took two out of three games from Fort Wayne over the weekend.
I discussed the past week with WIU Head Baseball Coach Ryan Brownlee during our weekly conversation. We also looked ahead to the coming week, when Western travels to Illinois State Tuesday, before hosting Omaha for a weekend series. Listen to the conversation below.
0:00-2:20 The impressive hitting of late
2:20-6:20 Solid pitching enabling hitters to be looser at the plate
6:20-8:43 The performances of Drue Galassi (Collegiate Baseball National Co-Player of the Week) and Adam McGinnis last week
8:43-9:45 Steve McShane's importance as the lead off hitter
The Western Illinois Softball team (19-26, 10-5 Summit League), lost two of their three games against North Dakota State over the weekend in Macomb. WIU won the first game of the series 1-0, but fell 11-3 and 5-4 in the remaining two. Western holds onto a three game lead in the League over NDSU (7-5). Of course, the Bison have played three less games than the Leathernecks have.
Saturday (Game One) WIU 1 NDSU 0
Western came out victorious in a pitcher's duel Saturday morning. Sophomore ace Emily Ira took care of business in the pitcher's circle, only allowing one hit and three total baserunners in a seven inning shutout. Ira struck out 15 of the 24 batters she faced.
On the other end, NDSU's Jacquelyn Sertic was just about as effective, holding the Leathernecks to just two total hits. Western also only had three players reach base during this contest. The lone WIU run came in the sixth inning, when a Nina Maggio sacrifice fly brought home Rachel Beatty.
Ira improved to 10-11 on the season, compiling her third complete game shutout of the campaign. This performance helped her garner Summit League Pitcher of the Week honors.
Saturday Game Two: NDSU 11 WIU 3
Western junior pitcher Brooke Stulga got rocked early in this one. She lasted just 1.2 innings, giving up six runs in just 1.2 innings. Aside from a Beatty lead off homerun, the Leatherneck bats could not get going early in game two. The Bison scored all 11 runs in the first five innings. NDSU had 13 hits, including a third inning three-run shot that made the score 6-1.
Western managed to bring in two additional runs in the bottom of the fifth, making the score 11-3. That is how the game would end, setting up a rubber match on Sunday.
Sunday: NDSU 5 WIU 4 (8 innings)
Ira was back in the circle for Western in this one, going up against Sertic a second time. She wasn't as dominant, but held the Bison to four runs and nine hits in seven innings. Sertic also held the Leathernecks to four runs, doing so on four hits.
A Hailey Duwa two-run home run put WIU up 2-0 in the second inning. Kelsey Marlow hit a sacrifice fly in the third inning, making the score 3-0. The Bison responded with a run in each of the fourth and fifth innings. The bottom half of the frame brought in an unearned Leatherneck run on a throwing error. With the score at 4-2 heading into the bottom of the seventh, NDSU tied it up on a two-run single. WIU could not answer back in the bottom of the seventh, moving the game to extra innings.
In the top of the eighth, Payton Abbott came in to relieve Ira. The Bison got another RBI single off Abbott. The Leathernecks could not respond in the bottom half, despite getting two runners on base with only one out. Sertic struck out the final two batters, winning the game 5-4, along with picking up the weekend series.
The Western Illinois Baseball Team (14-23, 10-8 Summit League) defeated Fort Wayne Friday (7-4) and Sunday (15-5). Western was on the losing end Saturday (2-0).
The Leathernecks will finish the regular season with a 4-2 record against the Mastodons. The weekend success also moves WIU into a tie for second place in the Summit League standings with North Dakota State. Both teams are a full six games behind first place Oral Roberts.
The Leatherneck bats picked up right where they left off after demolishing SIU-E Tuesday afternoon. Western scored three runs in the top of the first inning on Friday, with Adam Mcginnis, Johnathan Fleek, and Deion Thompson each batting in a run. The second inning featured more of the same, with Drue Galassi getting an RBI single, followed by a two-run RBI single from McGinnis. That moved the score to 6-0. A three-run third inning by the Mastodons trimmed the deficit in half, but that’s as close as it got. WIU scored another run in the fifth on a wild pitch, while Fort Wayne brought in a run in the seventh inning. The Leathernecks won 7-4. 2
The main story for Western was the dominant pitching performance of Sophomore pitcher Ian Koch. He gave WIU eight strong innings of four-hit ball. Koch struck out five batters, while only walking two. He earned the win, moving to 4-2 on the season.
The Leathernecks suffered their sixth shutout of the season on Saturday. Western accrued seven hits on the afternoon, but left nine runners on base. Freshman Connor Rektorski gave the Leathernecks 5.1 innings out of the bullpen, relieving starter Preston Church in the third inning. Fort Wayne did its damage in the eighth inning, getting two RBI singles to take that 2-0 lead. The Leathernecks went down 1-2-3 in the top of the ninth, ending the game and setting up a Sunday rubber match.
Freshman pitcher Javin Drake took the ball for WIU on Sunday. He continued to pitch beyond his years early, keeping the Dons off the board during the first three innings. Western’s bats struck first in the top of the third, with a Galassi RBI double and a McGinnis RBI ground out giving the Leathernecks a 2-0 edge.
The game see-sawed in the fourth and fifth innings. A Steve McShane RBI single pushed the Leatherneck lead to 3-2. Fort Wayne responded with a two-run home run in the bottom of the fourth. Two more WIU runs came off the bat of a Deion Thompson RBI single, moving the score to 5-2. A three-run fifth inning dinger from Fort Wayne evened things up at five. Things quickly changed in the sixth inning though.
The sixth inning started off with a bang for WIU. Galssi continued his incredible week of hitting, crushing a two run home-run to make the score 7-5. An additional six runs came across the plate that inning, with Fleek, Thompson, Mitch Ellis, CJ Schaeffer, and McGinnis (2 RBI), all bringing home runs. Western then lead 13-5, and expanded that lead by three runs with Fleek and Thompson each accounting for another RBI single.
Sophomore Sam Cottingham-Beard shut the door for the Leathernecks, allowing only one hit while striking out three batters in three innings of work. The 15-5 Leatherneck win gave Western the weekend series and the season series against Fort Wayne.
The Western Illinois Fighting Leathernecks Football Teams wrapped up its 2017 Spring Football slate with the annual Bruce Craddock Memorial Spring Game. The culmination of weeks of night practices at Hanson Field ended with a scrimmage that pinned the offense against the defense. The defense, which sported its new 3-4 alignment, won the bout 41-29 over the offense in a running clock game that awarded points to each side based on various in-game achievements.
In addition to the game being played, Head Coach Charlie Fisher announced the captains for the 2017 season, as well as the most improved player awards. The offensive captains are junior quarterback Sean McGuire and senior center Jacob Judd. The defensive captains are senior linebacker and Macomb native Brett Taylor, along with junior linebacker Quentin Moon. As for the most improved players; running back Max Norris, offensive lineman Jordan Detweiler, and defensive linemen Kyle Williams and Grant Kasal took home those honors.
The night started with the program honoring its former players. The Leathernecks participated in a tradition that Fisher has established called "The Leatherneck Handshake." It features current WIU players and former Western players shaking hands at midfield prior to the game. This is done in a way that is reminiscent of how NHL teams end a playoff series.
The game featured two touchdowns. The first one came in the second quarter, when sophomore linebacker Zach Gilsan picked up an errant pitch and ran it back 60 yards for the score. Late in the first half, a pair of redshirt freshmen connected for an offensive touchdown. After completing a 57 yard pass to receiver Tre Cervantes, quarterback Connor Sampson found tight end Chris Age in the back of the end zone for a 13 yard TD.
The offense led 22-18 at halftime, but could not move the ball all that much in the second half. The defense was able to rush the passer well throughout the game, racking up six sacks. The secondary, which struggled mightily down the stretch for the Leathernecks in 2016, compiled seven pass break ups. The inability of the offense to punch the ball in resulted in three field goal tries, all of which Western could not convert on. The defense pulled away down the stretch, ultimately winning by that 12 point margain.
As Fisher noted throughout the night, the game took place 131 days away from the season opener at Tennessee Tech. That game is set for August 31.
- Mcguire finished the day 10-15 passing with 103 yards. He started the opening drive 5-5 for 69 yards.
- Sampson took a bulk of the snaps, going 16-24 for 221 yards and 1 TD
- Junior running back Steve McShane and junior defensive back Justin Fitzpatrick were not at the game. They play on the baseball team, and are in Fort Wayne for the team's series there this weekend.
- The battle for the starting kicker spot was wide open coming into spring ball, and still is after the game. Kickers Nathan Erickson, Sam Crosa, and Kyle Coale each went 0-1 on field goal attempts.
Macomb High Varsity Baseball (5-12) fell 9-8 to West Hancock on their home field. Lady Bomber Softball blanked the Titans 10-0, with junior Jordyn Hare pitching a shutout in a six inning game.
This game went back and forth early. West Hancock scored two runs in the first inning, while MHS answered back with two in the second. The Titans tacked on another run in the third inning, making the score 3-2. A four-run fourth inning, which featured RBIs from Brandon Bickers, Blake Kelly, and a two-run double off the bat of Korby Foxall, advanced the score to 6-3 in Macomb's favor.
The Titans stormed back in the top of the fifth, scoring three more runs to tie the game back up. A walk and a passed ball brought in two more Macomb runs in the bottom of the sixth, putting the Bombers up 8-6. In the top of the seventh, Macomb allowed a three run double, making the score 9-8. The Bombers had two runners on in the bottom of the last via walks, but neither could get across home plate.
Macomb is off until next week, as the team's scheduled game at Moline today was pushed back to May 12. They'll face Illini West at home on Tuesday.
MHS Softball was sharp on the road yesterday, as the 10-0 victory would indicate. Junior pitcher Jordyn Hare was superb, only allowing one hit in a complete game six-inning shutout. The Lady Bombers used some small ball to get on the scoreboard early, as a Courtney Thorman groundout brought in the game's initial run in the first inning. A three run third inning, featuring a Haley Coker RBI single and two runner scoring on a wild pitch, made the score 4-0 in Macomb's favor.
Hare had a perfect game going until the bottom of the fourth inning, when a Titans single ended that bid. This was the only blemish on the day for Hare, as she finished with four strikeouts and only tossed 64 pitches.
In the top of the fourth Macomb built its lead up to 7-0, scoring via an RBI single and two more runs coming across on wild pitches. The Bombers scored one more run in the fifth on a Maggie Swanson RBI triple, and brought in two more in the sixth. This made the score 10-0. The mercy rule was in effect at that point. With West Hancock failing to get a run in the bottom half of the inning, the game was called after six innings
The team is off until Tuesday, when Macomb hosts Illini West.
I had the chance to speak with former MLB player Rick Ankiel today, as he promotes his new book, The Phenomenon. The book is out now. It chronicle's Ankiel's career, his battle with an extreme anxiety condition known as "The Yips," and how he transitioned from a once can't miss prospect of a pitcher for the St. Louis Cardinals to an outfielder that carved out a nice career.
As a young pitcher, he made an immediate impact in the league. Ankiel finished second in the National League Rookie of the Year voting in 2000, as St. Louis advanced to the NLCS that year. Cardinals fans will remember his struggles in that postseason, as he seemingly lost his control as a pitcher out of the blue in the NLDS series vs Atlanta. In a Game One start he unraveled in the third inning, allowing four runs on two hits, four walks and throwing five wild pitches before being removed with two outs in that frame.
Ankiel never regained his form after that, mightily struggling yet again in the NLDS, as he was taken out of the game in the first inning of a Game Two start. He managed to throw just 20 pitches before that decision was made. He spent a great deal of time in the minor leagues in 2001, before facing elbow injuries that kept him out in 2002, and for most of 2003. In 2005, he announced he was switching positions to become an outfielder
Ankiel finally returned to the majors in 2007, making it back for the Cardinals as an outfielder. His career carried on until 2013, when he retired as a member of the Mets. He's the first player since Babe Ruth to win at least ten games as a pitcher and hit fifty home runs.
Listen below to my conversation with Ankiel, as we dive into the process of completing the book, his battles with anxiety, and his successful transition from a pitcher to a position player.
Western Illinois Baseball took care of business with ease against SUI-Edwardsville Tuesday afternoon, winning 21-4. The Leathernecks avenged a loss from two weeks earlier to the Cougars, where SIU-E won 9-3. The win brings Western's record to 12-22 on the season, and is its fifth in its last eight matchups.
Offensively, Western struck first, with one run in the first inning, followed by a six run second inning. The score was 7-1 at this point, with a three-run home run by senior catcher Adam McGinnis blowing the game wide open in WIU's favor. The teams exchanged runs in the third inning, and a solo shot from SIU-E in the top of the fourth moved the score to 8-3. That's when the Leathernecks put this one to bed.
The story of the day of course was sophomore outfielder Drue Galassi. He crushed two grand slams, with the first one coming as part of an eight-run fourth inning for the Leathernecks After his teammates had already brought in four runs in the frame, Galssi's blast made the score 16-3. With neither team scoring in the fifth, Western tacked on an additional five runs in the sixth, with Galassi yet again going yard with the bases jacked. He finished the day 5-5 with five runs, two home runs, and ten RBIs.
A seventh inning one-run long ball for the Cougars provided the final run of the long afternoon. The final score sat at 21-4.Sophomore lefty Pete Minella got the start for the Leathernecks, allowing one run on four hits in two innings of work. He picked up his first career victory.
WIU will travel to Fort Wayne this weekend, to play three games against the last place Mastadons.
The MHS Baseball team (5-11) was on the losing end of a walkoff for the second time in the last week. They lost to the West Hancock Titans 12-11 on the road in eight innings. The Lady Bomber Softball team continued its winning ways, defeating the Titans 11-7 in Macomb.
The Bombers got off to a very hot start in this one. A seven-run second inning put Macomb in the drivers seat. Small-ball was played early on, as only two of those runs came via an extra base hit. In the bottom half of the second, West Hancock did answer back with two runs. The game remained 7-2 until the bottom of the fourth inning, when five more Titans runs crossed the plate to even things up at seven runs apiece.
In the top of the fifth MHS retook the lead. Junior Alex Drannes hit a three-run home run to left field, making the score 10-7 Macomb. The Bombers tacked on an additional run in the top of the sixth, with West Hancock failing to score in either of those two innings. This left the score at 11-7, heading into the final inning of play.
A single and a walk issued by Macomb's Michael Watterstreet forced coach Brock Bainter to bring in Sophomore Ben Higgins. An ensuing walk loaded the bases with no outs. After recording one out, Higgins allowed a grand slam to even the score up at 11-11. Macomb worked out of the inning, sending the game to extra innings. West Hancock retired the side to start the eighth inning. The bottom half of the inning went rapidly, as on the very first pitch Titans slugger Kolton Johnson hit a walkoff homer.
Macomb Varsity is off today, and will have a rematch with West Hancock tomorrow afternoon at home.
Macomb and West Hancock went back and forth for the first three innings, with the Titans holding onto a 3-2 lead at that point. Lexy Leezer (2), Maggie Vallillo, Hailey Coker, and Courtney Thorman all batted in runs, making the score 7-3 Macomb. Three more Bomber runs came in during the fifth inning and one more was accounted for in the sixth, pushing the lead to 11-3. A four run seventh by West Hancock lessened the gap, but the final score went 11-7, with the Lady Bombers coming out on top for the second consecutive game.
MHS retakes the field today, meeting up with Unity at home.
MHS Baseball (5-10) took a 7-0 loss at United Township (East Moline) yesterday. Macomb Softball (9-8) topped Havana 7-1.
The Baseball team struggled early, allowing two runs in the first inning, and five in the second inning. Macomb commited three errors, resulting in three of the runs going unearned by pitcher Brendan Mueller. The Bombers notched five hits on the day, with Ben Higgins, Cale Reeves, Brandon Bickers, Drew Cody, and John Ogle all hitting singles.
Today the baseball team heads to West Hancock, while softball will host West Hancock.
WIU Head Baseball Coach Ryan Brownlee called in to discuss his team's past week. WIU went 2-2 during the past week, winning two out of three games vs South Dakota State over the weekend, while playing Iowa tough on the road last Tuesday.
Western defeated SDSU 7-2 Friday. They followed it up with a 8-4 win and 13-5 loss during a Saturday doubleheader. Against Iowa, WIU fell 4-1, but managed to get ten hits to Iowa's seven. Western Illinois sits at 11-22 on the season, with a 8-7 record in Summit League play.
Western hosts SIU-Edwardsville tomorrow afternoon, before heading to Fort Wayne for a weekend series. The Cougars of SUI-E beat WIU 9-3 two weeks ago in Edwardsville. Western is 2-1 on the year vs Fort Wayne, who carries a 1-14 Summit League record into the weekend.
For more on all of these games and how the Leathernecks are playing, listen to what Coach Brownlee had to say in our weekly conversation.
0:00-2:22 Intro and Aspects of Game WIU is Executing Well in
2:22-4:30 What Leathernecks are Doing Well at the Plate Lately
4:30-6:40 Preparing for Summit League Teams the Second Time Around
6:40-8:07 Recap of Iowa Game
8:07-9:18 Confidence Gained from That Game
9:18-10:25 Preview of SIU-E Game
10:25-12:19 Preview of Fort Wayne Series
12:19-13:28 How Late Season Schedule Lines Up
13:28-14:26 The Tough Aspects of Lengthy Road Trips and Outro
The Macomb High Baseball (4-8) and Softball (6-7) teams played Monmouth-Roseville yesterday. The baseball team took a 4-3 loss, while the softball squad pulled off a 12-8 victory.
Macomb took an early 2-0 lead in this game, as Korby Foxall and Blake Kelly each hit RBI singles in the top of the first inning. Kelly also hit a sacrifice fly in the top of the fifth, making the score 3-0 in favor of MHS. Brandon Bickers was strong on the hill for the Bombers, tossing 5.1 innings of one-run ball. He threw a total of 97 pitches, striking out ten batters and walking eight.
After Bickers walked in a batter in the bottom of the sixth inning, Michael Waterstreet got the Bombers out of a bases loaded jam unscathed. The Titans retired the side in the top of the seventh, giving Mon-Rose a last crack at a victory in a 3-1 ballgame.
An error, single, and a walk loaded the bases for the Titans with one out in the bottom of the seventh. Waterstreet then struck out a batter, but walked the ensuing opponent on five pitches. That made the score 3-2. With Macomb needing one more out to come away with the win, sophomore Ben Higgins came out of the bullpen. Monmouth's JC Sells lined a Higgins pitch to left field on a 2-2 count. Two runners scored, giving the Titans the 4-3 walkoff victory.
The WIU Track and Field Program has a big week ahead. The 28th Annual Lee Calhoun Memorial Invitational kicks off today at Hanson Field. It will run through Saturday. This is the only home event for the Leathernecks during the spring season.
Per WIU Athletic Communications, "The meet honors the legacy of former United States Olympian and Leatherneck track and field coach Lee Quency Calhoun. Lee Calhoun was known for being the first track and field athlete to win consecutive Olympic gold medals in the 110-meter high hurdles in the 1956 Melbourne Games and 1960 Games in Rome. Calhoun was a seven-time national champion and five-time world record holder in the indoor and outdoor NAAU, NAIA and NCAA Track and Field Championships. He won the NCAA meet with a record of 13.7 seconds and equaled world marks in 50, 60, and 70-yard high hurdle races. Calhoun was inducted into the inaugural class of the United States Track and Field Hall of Fame (1974), United States Olympic Hall of Fame (1991) and Western Illinois Athletic Hall of Fame (1990), posthumously."
The men's team currently has athletes with top ten rankings in the Summit League in eight different events, lead by sophomore Malachi Adams' first place ranking in the 100 Meters. The women's team has seven categories represented in the top ten standings, with five of those categories featuring multiple Leathernecks. Junior Jasmine Brown leads the way, currently holding onto first place in the triple-jump in the Summit League.
On Wednesday, April 19, the program will host the Ninth Annual Shaymus Relays.
As WIU Athletic Communications notes, "The Shaymus Relays were founded in the spring of 2009, as event to raise funds for Macomb local youth Shaymus Guinn. Shaymus was diagnosed with cancer and was fighting the disease while in elementary school until he lost his battle with cancer on Dec. 19, 2012."
This year, the Shaymus Relays will raise money for Reid Brewer, a six year old from Good Hope currently battling Neuroblastoma.
Brown, along with sophomore Khalyia Lawson, came in studio today to discuss both of these events. Here's what they had to say on K100.
The WIU Baseball (9-21) and Softball (16-23) teams took on Iowa and Missouri respectively on the road yesterday. While both teams played up to the competitive level of their power five conference counterparts, neither team could pull off a victory. Baseball lost 4-1 in Iowa City, while softball fell 10-2 and 6-5 in a doubleheader in Columbia.
In their loss, the Leatherneck baseball team managed to outhit the Hawkeyes. WIU compiled ten hits to Iowa's eight. Even so, Iowa managed to bring across three runs in the first four innings. Sophomore Jimmy Perkins was on the mound during that time, giving up three runs off five hits in four innings of work. In the fifth, Western scored its lone run off a Roman Visintine RBI single, bringing home Deion Thompson.
Another Hawkeye run came across in the bottom opf the sixth, and neither team could score after that. The Leatherneck bullpen only allowed two hits in five innings of use. Thompson also hit a triple in the game, finishing the day 3-3 from the plate. WIU comes back home for a weekend series with South Dakota State.
The softball team got roughed up 10-2 in the first game versus Missouri. Nine of those runs came across in the first three innings. Ace Emily Ira only lasted 3.1 innings for Western, giving up nine runs, with six of them being earned.
The second game was back and forth throughout. Western scored two runs in the first inning, and one in the second and fourth innings. Missouri seemed to have a response every inning, with the score sitting at 4-3 after four innings. A Mizzou baserunner stole home in the bottom of the fifth to tie the score up. WIU got ahead in the top of the seventh, with senior Holly Hoelting hitting a solo home run to move the score to 5-4. In the bottom of the last Missouri came away with the win though, as a one out, two-run single won it for the Tigers.
Western is home for the next two weekends, hosting IUPUI and North Dakota State in Summit League play.
On Tuesday, both Macomb High Baseball (4-7) and Softball (7-7) suffered losses at the hands of the Camp Point Central Panthers. Baseball lost 12-4, while softball was blanked 9-0.
The baseball team was down early, giving up four runs in the bottom of the first inning. A one run second inning followed for Macomb, but a two run output in the bottom half of the inning made it 6-1 Panthers. In the top half of the fifth Macomb made it 6-4 with a three-run inning, but four more runs in the fifth and two more in the sixth followed for Camp Point.
Brendan Mueller had the lone extra-base hit for Macomb, hitting a double. In all, MHS got ten hits, but camp Point had fifteen on their end. Mueller, along with Brandon Bickers and Ben Higgins, had multiple hits in the contest.
The softball team struggled in this one, only getting one hit the entire game. Camp Point got two runs across in the first inning, four in the third, two in the fourth, and one in the fifth.
Both teams play Monmouth-Roseville today. Baseball will do so on the road, with softball taking on the Titans at home.
WIU Baseball (9-20, 6-6 Summit League) Head Coach Ryan Brownlee discusses last week's four-game stretch, and looks ahead to this week's games. Last week the team went 2-2, with that timeframe including a series victory at Omaha.
Brownlee also previews tonight's game vs Iowa, as well as an upcoming home series with South Dakota State. He also looks at how the team has progressed as a whole, as Western currently sits just one game back of second place in the Summit League. Listen to the interview below.
0:00-5:18 Recap of Last Week
5:18-6:54 Altering Practice Schedule Moving Forward
6:54-10:09 Offensive Outburst vs. Omaha
10:09-12:03 Evaluating Performance of Pitching Staff
Today I spoke with WIU Head Baseball Coach Ryan Brownlee. We discussed this past weekend's series at Oral Roberts, looked back at the first month and a half of the season, discussed the progress of many of the team's young players, and previewed this week's games against SIU-Edwardsville and Omaha. Listen to our conversation below.
0:00-3:21 Intro and recap of Oral Roberts Series
3:21-4:10 Offensive output in Oral Roberts Series
5:35-8:25 How team has improved since beginning of season
8:25-10:03 Young players that have found expanded roles on team
10:03-11:28 What Freshman pitcher Javin Drake has done well
11:28-13:51 A look ahead at this week's SIU-E and Omaha games
13:51-16:08 Thoughts on last night’s Cubs-Cardinals game & MLB Opening Day
Western Illinois Baseball went 1-2 over the weekend at Oral Roberts. The Leathernecks record falls to 7-18 on the year and 4-5 in Summit League play.
Friday ORU 3 WIU 0
The opening game of the series was scoreless through the first four and a half innings. In the bottom of the fifth the Golden Eagles brought across their first run on an RBI single. ORU would knock in two more in the bottom of the sixth, scoring on a sacrifice fly and another RBI single. WIU had a runner on second base in the top of the ninth, but failed to bring him around. The team had a total of four hits on the afternoon, falling 3-0.
Saturday WIU 5 ORU 2
After only having four hits on Friday, Western responded nicely with an eleven hit output. This game also remained scoreless until the fifth, when the Leathernecks scored on an RBI double off the bat of Cord Church, bringing in Deion Thompson. The Golden Eagles answered back with a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the inning, making the score 1-1. Western scored two more runs in the top of the sixth. A Thompson RBI single and Mitch Ellis walk with the bases loaded gave Western a 3-1 advantage. ORU chipped into that defecit with an RBI single in the bottom half of the inning. The seventh inning is where the Leathernecks did the bulk of their damage, scoring two more runs.
An Adam McGinnis RBI single and a Thompson sacrifice fly made the score 5-2, and that score would not change. Preston Church went seven innings on the mound, allowing six hits and striking out five batters. Sam Cottingham-Beard and Nate Westfahl came out of the bullpen to combine for the final two innings of work, only allowing one hit. Church moved to 2-2 on the year with the win.
Sunday ORU 1 WIU 0 (10 innings)
The rubber match was a rainy one in Tulsa. With freshman pitcher Javin Drake on the mound, Western hung right with an Oral Roberts team that they have never beat in a road series in program history. Drake went eight innings, only allowing four hits and striking out four with no walks. WIU had seven hits in this game, but could not manufacture any runs. Finally in extra innings the lone run of the game came across the plate. With the bases loaded and Westfahl on the hill, ORU shortstop Dylan Snypes was hit by a pitch, bringing home the winning run.
The Leathernecks next game is tomorrow at SIU-Edwardsville. This begins a five game road swing for Western Illinois. WIU travels to Omaha this weekend for a series with the Mavericks, followed by a road game at Iowa next Tuesday.
The Western Illinois Softball Team won all three games at Omaha this weekend to move to 14-20 on the season and 5-1 in Summit League play. The Leathernecks have now won four straight games.
Saturday (Game 1) WIU 5 Omaha 3
Sophomore ace Emily Ira was electric again in this one, recording thirteen strikeouts in a complete game victory. WIU tacked on two runs through the first five innings. Omaha was able to get ahead in the bottom of the sixth though, connecting on a three-run blast to make the score 3-2. With Western down in the top of the seventh the Leatherneck bats came to life. With the bases loaded freshman Halle Hollatz hit a three-run single to put WIU ahead 5-3. Ira would take care of business in the bottom of the inning to give the Leathernecks the 5-3 victory in game one of three at Omaha. Ira's record moved to 6-10 on the year.
Saturday (Game 2) WIU 4 Omaha 1
Omaha struck first in the second game of Saturday's doubleheader. A first inning RBI single put the Mavericks up 1-0. The score remained as such until the fifth inning, when Hollatz hit another RBI base knock to tie things back up. The game remained tied through seven innings, resulting in extra innings. The Leathernecks continued their late game heorics, bringing across three runs in the top of the eighth. Kelsey Marlow, Holly Hoelting, and Brooke Stulga all contributed RBI singles to give Western a 4-1 lead. Stulga didn't allow a run in the bottom of the eighth, finishing off a complete game victory. She allowed one run on seven hits. Her record improved to 5-5 on the season.
Sunday WIU 5 Omaha 1
After a Saturday that featured only one extra-base hit for WIU, the big bats of the Leathernecks got going early. Sophomore Ally Compton hit a two-run blast to give Western an early 2-0 lead that it would not relinquish. Omaha knocked in a run in the fourth with an RBI double, but that was all the Mavs could muster off sophomore pitcher Payton Abbott. A Hollatz two-run single in the fifth made it 4-1 in favor of WIU, with a sixth inning error brining in another run. Abbott finished the game allowing only two hits with nine strikeouts. She improved to 3-5 as the Leathernecks completed the weekend sweep.
Western now sits in third place in the Summit League standings at 5-1. The Leathernecks come back to Macomb to play a series with Fort Wayne this weekend.
WIU Baseball moved to 6-16 on the season following a 12-1 victory over Robert Morris Tuesday afternoon. The Leathernecks were down 1-0 after the top of the first, but scored 12 unanswered runs en route to the victory.
Western scored in each of the first four innings, with senior infielder Chris Tschida clubbing a grand slam in the bottom of the fourth, making it 8-1 in favor of WIU. The homerun was Tschida's second one of the season, and his first career grand slam. Western tacked on 4 more runs in the bottom of the sixth, ultimately winning 12-1 after seven innings of play.
Sophomore Jimmy Perkins earned the victory, allowing one run on three hits in four innings of work. Perkins moves to 2-0 on the year. WIU had 12 hits, with four of them coming in the extra base variety. The team also stole 7 bases, while only getting thrown out once.
WIU had a home game vs Bradley rained out today. The team will look to reschedule it. They'll hit the road for a series against Oral Roberts Friday.
Macomb Baseball lost 5-4 to Monmouth-Roseville in a 9 inning game. The Bombers (2-5) got off to a hot start, taking a 3-0 lead into the third inning. MHS junior pitcher Brandon Bickers was superb for Macomb, throwing a no hitter while recording 9 strikeouts in four innings. However, he reached his 75 pitch limit at that time, forcing Bomber Head Coach Brock Bainter to turn to the bullpen.
From there the lead quickly went to the opposition, with the Titans holding a 4-3 lead after the sixth inning. The seventh inning prompted a game tying RBI single off the bat of Bickers, which scored Michael Waterstreet with the bases loaded. Macomb could not bring across anyone else though, resulting in extra innings.
Mon-Rose's Koby Killey hit the game winning single, bringing around Jordan Cheek in the top of the ninth. Macomb could not answer back, with the Bombers taking the loss. MHS had four baserunners thrown out at home plate in this contest, including two on the same play in the sixth.
Macomb had a road game vs Beardstown scheduled for today. That has been postponed. MHS is scheduled to play Mon-Rose again Thursday in Monmouth.
After being named as the new Macomb High School Head Football Coach, Tony Westen has hit the ground running. As Westen continues his current duties as an assistant coach on the MHS Baseball Team, he has looked ahead to planning for training camp, and ultimately putting together his Macomb Football program.
I got a chance to catch up with Coach Westen at MHS. We touched on a variety of subjects, including his coaching philosophies, his hometown roots, and his ideas for developing a culture around Macomb High Football that will lead to success on and off the field. Listen to our conversation below.
0:00-1:28 Reaction to Getting the Job
1:28-2:37 Kelly Sears' Advice Following the Hire
2:37-5:34 Westen's Roots in Macomb
5:34-7:45 Weston's Coaching Philosophy
7:45-9:55 How to Bring in and Promote Energy
9:55-11:55 Wanting Multi-Sport Athletes
11:55-14:13 Addressing Low Number of Players on West Central Illinois Football Teams
0:00-2:02 Conference Realignment
2:02-3:57 Adapting to Playing Bigger Schools
3:57-5:51 Plans for Training Camp
5:51-7:29 Developing the Macomb Football Program as a Whole
The Western Illinois Softball Team defeated South Dakota in two out of three games over the weekend. The wins move the Leathernecks to 11-20 on the season. Western snapped a six game losing skid in the process of this, while also starting off home and league play with a 2-1 record.
Saturday 3/25: WIU 9 SD 4
On a windy day in Macomb the Leathernecks were elevating the ball very nicely in the first game of a doubleheader. Western Illinois compiled six extra base hits in the game, including three home runs. The bats were connecting early, as WIU scored runs in each of the first three innings. A five-run seventh innings brought the Leatherneck lead to 7-0. Emily Ira hit a solo shot in the second inning, while Holly Hoelting and Taylor Messer crushed two and three run jacks in the third.
Ira, the ace of the WIU pitching staff, tossed four scoreless innings before allowing runs in the fifth and sixth innings. She moves to 5-10 on the season after the complete game.
Saturday 3/25: SD 15 WIU 5
The Coyote bats were lethal during the backend of the doubleheader. While Western managed to strike first, scoring four runs on three more homers in the bottom of the first inning, South Dakota controlled the remainder of the game. The Coyotes scored six runs in the top of the second inning to take a lead they would not come close to letting slip.
South Dakota had nearly double the amount of hits in this game, recording fifteen of them. Western had eight hits. The game was 10-4 after five innings, but a five run 7th inning for South Dakota particularly put the game out of reach for the Leathernecks.
Sunday 3/26: WIU 9 SD 8
The Leathernecks closed out the series by winning the rubber match. Western found itself behind early, with South Dakota up 6-0 after two innings. Western scored three runs in the 5th inning, but allowed another in each of the 6th and 7th innings. With the score 8-3 South Dakota heading into the bottom half of the final frame, Western managed to pull it together.
Despite the fact that WIU clubbed nine homers over the weekend, only one of those came in the final inning. A small-ball approach allowed the Leathernecks to slowly churn out some runs. Six singles a home run and a walk ultimately brought in the six runs needed to win in walk off fashion. Pinch hitter Sydney Hollings was the batter that hit the game winning single, knocking in shortstop Payton Abbott.
The Leathernecks play again Saturday (doubleheader) and Sunday, facing Omaha on the road in a Summit League matchup.
The WIU Baseball team moved to 5-16 after the weekend, following a 1-3 showing vs North Dakota State. The Leathernecks dropped the initial game Friday, bounced back with a victory Saturday, but could not secure the win in the rubber match Sunday.
Friday 3/24: NDSU 7 WIU 5
Western Illinois got off to a rocky start Friday, falling into an early 3-0 hole. The Leathernecks responded though. NDSU held a 4-2 lead after 7 innings, but Western tied the game up and took a 5-4 lead in the bottom of the 8th inning. Shortstop Deion Thompson tied the game up with a 2-run blast, his second homer of the afternoon. Steve McShane came up clutch with an ensuing pinch hit single to swing the game back in the Leathernecks' favor.
WIU could not close it out though. A walk and a double for the Bison put runners on second and third with no outs. A ground out to short tied the game at 5. Western recorded another out, but with two outs NDSU left fielder Logan Busch smacked a 2-run dinger to give North Dakota State a 7-5 lead. Western began the bottom of the 9th with a Conner Currier double, but could not muster up anything else, falling by a final score of 7-5.
Saturday 3/25: WIU 5 NDSU 1
The Leathernecks tacked an early run on, as outfielder Cord Church scored on a 1st inning balk. Western brought across 3 runs in the third inning, using a 2 run double from senior catcher Adam McGinnis and a sacrifice fly from Johnathan Fleek to make the score 4-0. A Fleek RBI single in the fifth made it 5-0.
Aside from allowing one solo home run for NDSU in the 8th, WIU senior pitcher Preston Church went unscathed in this one. The southpaw was stellar on the hill, holding the Bison to 2 hits in 8 innings of work, en route to the Western win.
Sunday 3/26: NDSU 1 WIU 0
The Sunday rubber match went right down to the wire between the Summit League foes. Coming off his first career win, freshman pitcher Javin Drake tossed 6 scoreless innings for WIU. He allowed 4 hits, 3 walks, and struck out 5 batters in that stretch.
Both teams had their chances throughout the game. Most notably, Western had runners on second and third in the bottom of the 7th following a Chris Tschida one-out double and a Conner Currier walk. The Leathernecks could not bring around either of those runners though, as a Mitch Ellis liner nearly cleared the second-baseman's glove.
Relief pitcher Nate Westfahl got out of a two out jam in the 7th, but ultimately gave up the game winning run in the 9th. This came on a one-out RBI single. The Leathernecks could not bring across anybody in the bottom of the last, losing the game 1-0.
This stretch marked games 5-7 of an 8 game homestand. That stretch concludes Wednesday, with Western Illinois hosting in-state foe Bradley.
After a rainout Thursday vs Quincy High, the MHS Softball Team pulled out a big win in their home opener Friday vs South Fulton Co-Op. The Bombers earned a 14-4 victory over the Rebels, moving to 2-4 on the young season. Macomb will face Jacksonville on the road this afternoon.
The 2-2 Macomb Bombers were scheduled to play in the Galesburg Early Tournament Friday and Saturday. The event was postponed due to rain. The Bombers next game is at home tomorrow vs Monmouth-Roseville.
A number of high school sporting events in the Macomb area have been postponed this afternoon due to rain. We'll keep updating the list as we get more information in. The following events have been canceled today.
Bushnell-West Prairie Baseball vs Monmouth-Roseville
On Wednesday the Western Illinois Baseball team notched a 9-0 win over St. Ambrose. The Leathernecks improved to 4-14 following the victory in game 4 of an 8 game home stand.
Western capitalized on small-ball tactics in this one. The team scored their 9 runs on 7 hits and 11 walks. Only one extra base hit was recorded by the Leathernecks, a double from outfielder Roman Visintine. Additionally, WIU displayed aggression on the base paths, stealing 4 bases. The team also took advantage of three errors committed on the St. Ambrose side.
Sophomore pitcher Jimmy Perkins was on the hill for the Leathernecks, allowing only 1 hit in 6 innings of work. This was Perkins’ first start of the year. Freshman Connor Rektorski earned his first career save, taking care of business in the final 3 innings for Western Illinois.
The Leathernecks open up a 3 game series with North Dakota State on Friday afternoon at Alfred Boyer Stadium.
Macomb Baseball (2-2)
Macomb High Baseball fell 14-3 to Alleman Catholic High on the road yesterday. The Bombers record drops to 2-2 on the year with the loss.
The Pioneers jumped out in front early an often, scoring 4 runs in the 1st inning. Macomb answered back with 1 run in the top of the 2nd, but in the bottom half of the frame Alleman brought 2 more runs across.
Macomb chipped into the deficit with a run in the top of the 3rd as well, but a 6 run inning for Alleman put the score out of reach at 12-2. After the top of the 5th with the score at 14-3, the IHSA’s mercy rule was enacted, given that the Pioneers led by over 10 runs after 5 innings.
The Bombers are up in Galesburg Friday and Saturday for the Galesburg Early Tournament.
Macomb Softball (1-4)
Macomb High Softball fell 10-0 to Alleman in 5 innings on the road Wednesday. The team’s record falls to 1-4 after the defeat.
The Pioneers knocked in 2 runs in the bottom of the 1st to take a 2-0 lead. The floodgates opened in the 2nd inning in this one, with the Bombers allowing 6 more Alleman runs to cross the plate. Macomb was down 9-0 heading into the bottom of the 5th, but gave up an RBI double to make the score 10-0, ending the game in mercy rule fashion.
The team holds its home opener today vs Quincy High, followed by another home contest tomorrow against South Fulton Co-Op.
Macomb High School has officially named Tony Westen as the new Head Football Coach. Westen, who has served as an assistant coach on Kelly Sears’ staff for several years, takes over following Sears’ resignation after a 21 year run at the helm of the Bombers program.
Westen has head coaching experience with the Macomb High Wrestling Team, as well as additional assistant coaching mileage with the Bombers Baseball Team. He works for the West Central Illinois Special Education Co-Op, meaning he will be on-site at MHS throughout the day as well.
At his opening press conference, Westen touched on energy being something he’ll expect his players to bring to the field on Friday nights.
"Energy, fun, we're going to do some things where we're flying around,” Westen said (via the McDonough Voice). "We're going to try to get the crowd to their feet, try to utilize the athleticism that is in our building.”
The new head coach will have the task of taking over a team that finished 2-7 last season, but will bring back many of its starters.
Leo Durocher is one of the more interesting characters in the complex history of the game of baseball. His MLB career as a player started in 1925, playing on the Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig "Murderer's Row," Yankees, and extended all of the way to 1973, his last year as a manager for the Houston Astros.
In between, the 1994 Baseball Hall of Fame inductee found himself right in the middle of the rich history of the game. He was a key cog at shortstop for the St. Louis Cardinals "Gashouse Gang," team that won the World Series in 1934, the manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers when Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier, and the manager of the Cubs during the end of Ernie Banks' time in the majors, in addition to many other stops over the nearly half a century he was involved in the MLB.
Paul Dickson delved deep into the history of Durocher in his new book, Leo Durocher: Baseball’s Prodigal Son. The book is available in stores and online now. Below you can listen to my interview with Paul, as he dives into his process of writing the book, some of the more memorable anecdotes about Durocher, and specifically details about the hall of famer during his stops in St. Louis and Chicago.