Times Sports Editor
The Indiana State Sycamore softball team has improved by leaps and bounds this year and head into a weekend set with Southern Illinois with post-season aspirations.
The Sycamores will be celebrating Senior Day this afternoon and will honor five seniors, who they hope can help ISU snag one of two final berths in the Missouri Valley Conference Tourney.
Northview High School graduate Stephanie Jonson, a sophomore with the Sycamores, hopes to play a pivotal role in scoring ISU a tourney berth.
Indiana State is currently tied with Wichita State with a 9-13 MVC mark and must match the Shockers' performance this weekend.
The Sycamores are coming off a doubleheader sweep by the Bradley Braves, who took a pair of 2-0 wins over ISU.
In the previous series, the Sycamores swept Evansville in a three-game series. Jonson went 2-for-3 in the second game of a doubleheader sweep on Saturday.
This season, Jonson has started 22 games and has played in 30 games for the 17-24 Sycamores. She has hit .220 for the year and has scored eight times while driving in four runs.
A pair of Clay County graduates have helped lead a resurgence by the Olney Central softball program this season.
Angie Camp, a Clay City graduate, and Traci Sanders, of Northview High School, are each freshmen with the Blue Knights and have both had great success in their first year of collegiate softball.
"To go from 10-29 last year to 21-23 this year and make it to the Region 24 Final Four is a testament to all the girls on the team," Olney Central softball coach Nick Short commented. "Angie and Traci are gamers and I'm just glad they're on our side.
"We would not be in the position we are in now without them," Short added.
Sanders has hit a robust .370 this season with 30 hits in 81 at-bats while driving in 12 runs and scoring 14 runs. She's also reached base more than 43 percent of the time.
"Traci has fought some shoulder and arm problems, which has limited her in the field," Short said. "It's unfortunate, because she has one of the best gloves and throwing arms on the team. However, she has shown that she can hit at this level, and she comes through in the clutch. She has probably the best swing on the team. I couldn't be happier with her contributions."
Camp has also had a strong season despite playing with her own injuries late in the season.
"We just found out that Angie has a torn labrum, which will require surgery after the season. We thought it was just pulled," Short said. "We moved her to first base to limit her throwing, which just shows how versatile she is and how important she is to our lineup. She is the most versatile player on the team."
Despite the shoulder injury, Camp finished the season on a roll at the plate, hitting .370 over the final eight games, including postseason play. She had 10 hits in the final 27 at-bats and drove in six runs helping lead Olney to the Region 24 Tourney Final Four.
For the season she hit .304 in 38 games with 17 RBI and 23 runs scored and 11 sacrifices.
Kayla Raderstorf and her Rend Lake College team matched up with her former teammate and county rival in the Region 24 Tourney.
The Northview graduate and Rend Lake sophomore, had her season come to an end at the hands of Olney Central in a first round battle, winning 15-13, but dropping game two, 4-3 in 11 innings to cap a 15-30 season.
Raderstorf was third on the team with 16 RBI this season for the Lady Warriors.
The St. Mary-of-the-Woods Pomeroys come into the national tournament ranked second in the country as of April 16.
Clay City graduate Chelsee Gerber is a starter for the Pomeroys. No statistics were available.
The United States Collegiate Athletic Association softball national championship begins on Tuesday.
The Indiana State Sycamores opened a huge Missouri Valley Conference series last night against Wichita State and it continues through the weekend
Chasing a conference championship, senior Brady Shoemaker has turned up the flame on what has already been a great season for the Northview graduate.
Shoemaker led ISU to a seven-game winning streak that included four wins last week. The Sycamore senior went 8-for-16 over the four-game stretch with four home runs, seven runs scored and 11 RBI. He accounted for 21 total bases and posted a slugging percentage of 1.313.
This week he went 1-for-4 in an 11-10 win over Illinois that featured a four-run rally by the Sycamores in the bottom of the ninth inning.
This season he has hit .397 in MVC play over the course of 41 games and has 14 doubles and 10 home runs with 39 RBI with a .702 slugging percentage and a .521 on-base percentage.
Shoemaker leads the conference in batting average, total bases, walks and on-base percentage and second in slugging, home runs and runs scored.
The Vincennes University Trailblazers baseball team has strung together a 27-11 mark through April 17 and Northview graduate John Reberger has put together a .259 average in 20 starts. He's driven in 12 runs in 58 at-bats and has scored 11 runs.
Clay County has produced a high number of collegiate track and field athletes and this weekend, Indiana State will recognize two of the best.
Emily Pugh and Nikki Royer enjoyed standout high school track and field careers while at Northview and both showcased their talents as members of Indiana State's program.
Both will be recognized today during the Pacesetter Invitational at Marks Field.
A total of 24 seniors, 15 men and nine women will be recognized before the final two events at the invite at approximately 5:40 p.m.
Pugh, a Geology major from Cory, is a distance runner, who has set two personal bests this season. She recorded a time of 18:38.03 in the 5,000 meters and a 39:30.25 in the 10,000 meters, which is 17th best on the ISU All-Time list.
Royer, who is working on her Masters in Business Administration, comes from Brazil and competes in the pole vault.
She has the fifth best vault in school history indoors at 12-1 ½ in 2007 and the third best outdoors at 12-1 ½ in 2008.
The University of Southern Indiana track and field teams head into the home stretch of the 2009 outdoor season and competed at the Stan Lyons Open at Butler University last weekend.
Clay City graduate, Cole Schroer, raced to a 23rd-place finish in the 400 meters with a time of 54.67. The freshman also was part of the 4x400 meter relay team that placed seventh in 3:34.73. Schroer also got into the field events where he placed 26th in the javelin with a throw of 84-2.
Schroer's top effort of the indoor season is a 54.17 in the 400 at the Indiana Relays, a 1:29.08 in the 600 meters at the Gladstein Invitational. In the long jump, Schroer's indoor season-best was 17-7 ½, which is tops on the team and he leapt 18-7 ¼ outdoors. In the outdoor high jump, Schroer has a season-best of 5'6 ½. His best javelin throw of the season is 118-3 at the Rose-Hulman Twilight Meet.
His versatility has also proved key for USI where he competed in the heptathlon with a best score of 3,751 at the conference championships.
In the 110-meter hurdles, Schroer ran an outdoor best time of 19.57 at the Washington Invite and in the 1,500 meters, Schroer's best time is 4:36.48.
Schroer's Screaming Eagle teammate, John Latta, a freshman from Northview High School placed ninth in the 3,000-meter steeplechase in 10:36.02.
Latta has an indoor season best of 4:28.39 in the mile run at the Hoosier Invite where he was sixth-place and a 15:48.61 in the 5,000 meters.
Latta's outdoor bests are 10:02.81 in the 3,000-meter steeplechase and a 15:18.89 in the 5,000.
Taylor University competed at the Mid-Central Conference Meet last weekend and Clay City graduate Adam Schroer, finished 18th in the 5,000-meter run with a time of 17:01.56. In the 10,000 meters he finished 11th for the Trojans in 35:06.
In the 2009 HCAC Conference Championship Meet at Rose-Hulman last weekend, Hanover and sophomore Andrea Thomas competed.
Thomas placed second in the pole vault by clearing 9-4 ¼, which was just one inch away from the stadium record.
She also was part of the 4x100 relay team that finished sixth in the conference with a time of 53.97.
The team will compete today in the Mount St. Joseph's (Ohio) Invitational.