By CAREY FOX
Times Sports Editor
Colleges around the nation are wrapping up their classes and with the calendar rolling into May it means that the spring sports seasons are concluding as well.
The number of Clay County athletes competing collegiately has continued to rise and below is an update on the spring competitors and their 2016 season.
At the University of Southern Indiana, Northview graduate TJ Decker is nearing the end of his college baseball career in style.
He was named as the Great Lakes Valley Conference Pitcher of the Week on May 2 for his effort in the previous week.
Decker saved three of the five Eagle victories last week, striking out a career-high tying five batters in two of the games. In the first save versus Saint Joseph's, a 4-2 USI victory, Decker struck out five of the last six batters to earn the save in 2.0 innings pitched. The Brazil, Indiana native earned the final two outs to save the 9-7 win in the second game on Friday, and followed with another five strikeouts over 3.0 innings in the team's 5-3 victory Sunday. For the week, Decker had a 0.00 ERA and three saves in three appearances, producing 10 strikeouts in 5.2 innings pitched.
For the season, Decker has made a team-high 19 appearances and has a 2.52 earned run average over 25 innings. He's struck out 26 while walking just five and has five saves.
As a junior transfer from Olney Central last year, Decker produced a team-best 1.74 EAR in 20 2/3 innings of work.
Southern Indiana sits atop the GLVC standings with a 17-7 record and has a five-game winning streak and a 30-16 overall record.
On the baseball diamond this season, Rose-Hulman is finishing the regular season on a strong note with wins in seven of the past nine games heading into a trip today to Franklin and a home series against Mt. St. Joseph starting on Friday night at 6 p.m.
Engineer senior Zach Hull, a Northview alum, has played in 22 games with 43 at-bats this season and posted a .302 average and a .400 on-base percentage. Hull has two doubles, a triple and five RBI.
Rose-Hulman is 23-9 overall this year and has a remarkable 12-2 record on the road.
IU-Southeast and Northview graduate Jacob Harden are on a remarkable streak as the regular season winds down. The Grenadiers have won 20 straight games to improve to 38-11 overall and an eye popping 27-1 in conference play. The team is also 24-3 at home this season.
Harden has played in 21 games this season and started five. He's hitting .143 in 28 at-bats with six RBI, a double and a triple.
The team opens play in the conference tournament at Kingsport, Tenn. vs. Brescia University Wednesday at 11 a.m.
At Olney Central, the Blue Knights are in the final stretch of the regular season and had posted a 39-17 overall mark.
Northview graduate Damon Bass is a freshman with the team and has pitched in six games and has thrown six innings and seven earned runs this season. Bass has also struck out nine while walking two.
Kentucky State wrapped up is season in conference tournament play against Paine College in Ozark, Ala. on April 28-29.
Northview graduate and college senior Kodie Girton got the start and went eight and a third innings while allowing seven hits, three earned runs. He struck out 15 and walked four in a 5-4 loss. He also came back a couple days later to get an out in relief during a 9-8 loss in 11 innings.
Kentucky State finishes its season at 14-30 overall.
At Oakland City College, several Clay County athletes have continued their athletic careers.
Northview graduates Joe Ball and Craig Peters are members of the baseball team while Whitney Jeffers of Clay City is on the softball team.
Peters started his career as a pitcher with the Oaks, but has seen most of his time off the mound this season. He's started 45 of the 45 games he has played in and leads the team with a .315 batting average in 127 at-bats. Peters has eight doubles and a triple while also driving in 15 runs. He's put together a .393 on-base percentage.
Ball has made 10 mound appearances this season with six starts for Oakland City. He has posted a 4-4 record and a 2.55 earned run average over 42 1/3 innings. Ball has walked 15 and struck out 23 and has a shutout to his credit.
Overall, Oakland City is 22-23 this season.
The softball team wrapped up the regular season with a 22-0 and a 4-3 win over Crowley's Ridge College over the weekend to improve to 13-18 overall this year.
Jeffers has appeared 17 times as a pitcher for the Oaks and started 12 of those games. Jeffers has posted a 5-9 record over 75 1/3 innings pitched with 38 strikeouts and just nine walks.
At East Tennessee State, the Division I Bucs are 18-18 this season with Northview's Taylor Carter providing some solid stats for the team.
Carter is second on the team with a .303 batting average and has seven home runs and 21 RBI this season. She's also scored 22 times and has 11 doubles while compiling a .596 slugging percentage and reaching base 38-percent of the time.
The outdoor track and field season is in the closing weeks with conference meets taking place.
Northview graduate and Franklin freshman Devin McCollum placed 13th in the 800 meters with a time of 2:05.70 in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference Meet.
The IUPUI Jaguars track and field teams are preparing for the Summit League Meet in a couple of weeks and wrapped up the regular season at Hillsdale College in Michigan.
Northview graduate Ashley Kidwell ran a 5,000 meter time of 17:09.71 at the 50th Annual Hillsdale College "GINA" Relays. Kidwell ran a season-best time of 17:08.07 at the Vanderbilt Black and Gold Invitational on March 25-26 in the 5,000 meters. She ran a 35:25.95 in the 10,000 meters at the Mt. SAC Relays on April 14-16. Her best 1,500 meter time of the outdoor season is 4:48.87.