Times Sports Editor
Northview High School graduate Emily Phillips is hoping to etch her name into the Olney Central softball record books a few more times before she leaves the Blue Knight program this spring.
Northview is well represented in the recent records as Phillips' former teammate with the Knights, Traci Sanders, holds the season and career hit marks (76 in 2010 and 108 for her career). Sanders also has the highest career batting average at .416 in 2009-10. Clay City graduate Angie Camp is second in career hits with 99 produced during 2009-10. Both Sanders and Camp are finishing their collegiate careers at Kentucky Wesleyan this season.
Phillips however has made her own mark with a total of 43 RBI's last year, which is third behind Sanders' 47 in 2010 and Teddi Helsel's 52 during the same season.
Playing collegiately has been a special experience according to Phillips.
"It's been awesome. It's been one of those experiences that you don't get to have very often," the Blue Knights' sophomore said. "I got that chance and have been able to play two years and I'm glad that I've gotten that opportunity."
While the schedule has been hectic as the Blue Knights head into the home stretch with a 17-19 overall mark currently, Phillips sees the pace as a positive.
"I'd say that all of the activity (has been my favorite part)," Phillips said. "There's always something going on. You are always practicing and playing games. There's not much down time. Spring break is a blast. Everyone looks forward to that, you get to go to the beach and play two games every day. It's fun and competitive and that's pretty much what every athlete wants."
Phillips compiled a .350 batting average through the first 21 games of action according to the National Junior College Athletic Association website. She had 15 RBI and 21 hits in 60 at-bats over that period. Since then, Phillips had a pair of hits in a 4-3 win over Southeastern Illinois College on March 27 and followed that with two more his in a 4-3 loss to John A. Logan College two days later. Phillips ripped a double against Southwestern Illinois College on March 31, which followed a 2-for-4 game in which she doubled and drove in a run.
Competition at the junior college level, especially in the Great River Athletic Conference, is excellent as it prepares players to play for four-year colleges. The top-three teams in the conference, Lake Land, Wabash Valley and John A. Logan have gone a combined 68-14. Lake Land is ranked No. 17 in the nation with Wabash Valley College also receiving votes.
"High school (softball) is a little more based on fun. Softball in college is more all around. You never really stop through winter and fall whereas high school softball is pretty much just one season," Phillips said. "The competition is higher, there are just so many more games. You don't really have time to re-think things after a game. You just have to go on to the next game."
Though Phillips had some interest from four-year colleges to extend her playing career, she admitted that she's ready to become a full-time student.
"I had some offers, but I just decided it was time to move on to the next part of my life," Phillips said. "I'm going to go on to Indiana State and major in math education for middle school."
Her advice to high school athletes that might have interest in playing at the next level?
"I'd tell them to just go out and try your best, don't stop, keep fighting and don't quit until you get what you want."
Traci Sanders and Angie Camp
At Kentucky Wesleyan, Sanders has produced a .244 batting average this season with 22 hits in 90 at-bats for the 13-19 squad. She has driven in 10 runs and has five doubles while scoring 14 times. Camp has hit .200 this year in 100 at-bats with 20 base hits, five doubles, a triple and a pair of home runs and six RBI. She has also scored a team-high 15 times.