5/30/11

Blue Ridge Softball's Season, Myron Schroeder's Coaching Career with Lady Knights Ends in Final Inning of Sectional Final


DOWNS, Ill. -- Despite a heartbreaking 6-5 loss to Danville Schlarman, Myron Schroeder found a unique perspective as he spoke to his Lady Knights for the final time.

"Like I told them, Oprah had 25 years doing what she loved to do, and I had five at Blue Ridge," Schroeder said. "Like Oprah said, ‘My job’s done.’ I think I did a pretty good job."

In his five-year stint at Blue Ridge, Schroeder led the Lady Knights to three regional titles, including a trip to the University of Illinois in 2009 for the super-sectional.

Although his team could not add a second super-sectional trip to his resume, the Lady Knights rallied to make sure the No. 1-ranked Hilltoppers did not get there without a fight.

Down 5-0 when the game resumed from Saturday's rain delay, Blue Ridge scored five runs in the fourth and fifth innings to tie the game after Danville Schlarman pitcher Kelsey Sollars was forced to give up her headband by the umpires in the fourth inning.

"It’s reflective; you can’t have anything reflective and it’s not school colors," Schroeder said. "It was a distraction because of the sun. It doesn’t take much to distract a pitcher."

Following that, Jordan Wheeler and Jade O'Neal got on base via base on balls and a single that hit the left-field fence, respectively. After Melinda Wilson advanced the runners to second and third base with a groundout, Jamison Brandt smacked a double to center field that scored Wheeler and Alana Strum, who ran for O'Neal.

The two-RBI double made the score 5-2 in favor of Danville Schlarman heading into the fifth inning.



Jordyn Fones led off the inning with an infield single. Then Marcie Crawford hit a single to right-center field to put runners on the corners with Wheeer at bat.

Wheeler hit a single that sent Fones to home plate. O'Neal followed that with a shot that just stayed fair down the third-base line, scoring Crawford.

Wilson hit a ground ball that resulted in a fielder's choice. However, it also resulted in the tying run, as Wheeler crossed home plate.

"We hit the ball," Schroeder said. 

In Danville Schlarman's half of the fifth inning, the Hilltoppers loaded the bases with nobody out via two singles and a bunt that resulted in no throw by Hannah Mattingly, who was playing with a brace around her twisted ankle.

However, the Lady Knights got out of the jam without giving up any runs. Wheeler fielded a bunt and threw out the runner at home plate for the first out.

The next batter hit a fly ball that was caught by Wilson. Wheeler struck out the next batter to end the inning.

Wheeler finishes her junior season with a pitching record of 22-5. She struck out 11 Hilltoppers, including three in a row in the sixth inning.



With one out in the top of the seventh inning, O'Neal got on first base with a walk. With Strum running for her, Wilson hit a single to the outfield.

However, Strum was called out when the umpire ruled that the Danville Schlarman outfielder's throw to second base beat her foot to the bag for the forceout.



"She started with her foot on the base, but when the ball got there, her foot had slid off the backside of the base, and I’m not too sure that she wasn’t already there anyway," Schroeder said. "Wasn’t no question in my mind that she was on the base. [The umpire] was on this side, and her feet are on the other side of the base. The home plate umpire was nowhere to be found. The third base umpire was out watching the ball, where he’s supposed to be. But he’s late, and he’s supposed to go over there and watch the base. He wasn’t. That was a bad call."

Brandt hit a groundout to end Blue Ridge's half of the seventh inning. In the bottom of the seventh, Danville Schlarman's Randi Cookus hit a one-out double to left-center field.

With Sollars at the plate, Cookus attempted to steal third base. O'Neal's throw to third hit Cookus and landed in foul territory, resulting in Cookus crossing home plate for the game-winning run.
 
"It just didn’t pan out, Schroeder said. "Those are plays that we normally do ourselves. They ran the play. It was just one of those things."

With the loss, Blue Ridge ends its season with a record of 28-6.

"[The season] ended, maybe not with a victory, but my kids were playing hard and showing that they’re probably the better team," Schroeder said. "They did everything that I’d ever asked of them. You gotta see the positives in this. Those kids did great."

Danville Schlarman, meanwhile, will play in its own super-sectional against Dwight on Tuesday.

Farmer City Raceway Results -- May 27 & 29

MAKE-UP RACES FROM MAY 13

Crate LM

1. Randy Myers, Springfield; 2. Evan Fink, Glasford; 3. Jerry Lierly, Camp Point; 4. Nick Bauman, New Berlin; 5. John Barnard; 6. Roben Huffman, Clinton; 7. Matt Beadles, Clinton; 8. Ron Wilson, Pekin; 9. Logan Moody, Catlin; 10. Curtis Hobbs, Farmer City; 11. Joe Markle.

Street Stock

1. Dave Crawley, Decatur; 2. Travis Johnson, Ashland; 3. Nathan McNeese; Catlin; 4. Chris Dick, DeLand; 5. Rick Alwood, Clinton; 6. Travis Thrasher, Clinton; 7. Darrel Dick, Monticello; 8. Jim Quinn, Farmer City; 9. Jesse Simmons, Danville; 10. Eric Wilson, Downs; 11. Jeff Simmons, Pontiac; 12. Ronnie Burns.

Hornets

1. Casey Gernentz, Gifford; 2. Kenny Butterfield, Glasford; 3. Tanner Tibbs, Pontiac; 4. Matt Maier, Thomasboro; 5. Jeremy Reed, Decatur; 6. Mike Cusak, Brimfield; 7. Fred Reed; 8. Chris Burton, Mansfield; 9. Dion Smith, Bloomington; 10. Troy Newberry, Bloomington; 11. Trisha Burton, Mansfield; 12. Jim Wilson, Towanda; 13. Rick Reed; 14. Brian Wilson, Colfax.

MAY 27

Mini-Sprints

1. Jeremy Camp, Blue Mound; 2. Max Pozsgai, Lincoln; 3. John Parker; 4. Trey Datweiler, Herscher; 5. Levi Curry, Lincoln; 6. Ryne Welch, Clinton; 7. Andy Bough, Mason City; 8. Shelby Bosie, Sherman; 9. Michael Bustamante, Taylorville; 10. Luke Hanning, Fenton, Mo.; 11. Casey Swift, Tonica; 12. Liam Haigh, Mount Pulaski; 13. Phil Pickett, Elkhart.

Modifieds

1. Justin Delong, Bloomington; 2. Ryan Cary, Catlin; 3. Denny Schwartz, Ashmore; 4. McKay Wenger, Fairbury; 5. Jeff Curl, Forrest; 6. Jay Ledford, Pontiac; 7. Greg Amick; 8. Gary Turpin, Bloomington; 9. Mark Tullis, Macon; 10. Chevy Miller, Wapella; 11. Jeff Leka, Buffalo; 12. Jeb Friedman, Forrest; 13. Jeff Sandford, Gifford.

Crate LM

1. Jerry Lierly, Camp Point; 2. Dustin Griffin; 3. Randy Shuman, Danville; 4. Ryan Blair; 5. Matt Beadles, Clinton; 6. Roben Huffman, Clinton; 7. Jay Schlueter, Royal; 8. Joe Markle; 9. John Barnard, Sherman; 10. Evan Fink, Glasford; 11. Ron Wilson, Pekin; 12. Bobby Lynn; 13. Kenny Vandorn.

19. Curtis Hobbs, Farmer City (DNF)

Street Stock

1. Joel Funk, Dwight; 2. Travis Johnson, Ashland; 3. Chris Dick, DeLand; 4. Jeff Simmons, Pontiac; 5. Brandon Kessinger, Normal; 6. Rick Alwood, Clinton; 7. Troy Dodson, Cerro Gordo; 8. Darrel Dick, Monticello; 9. Rick Thomas, Dwight; 10. Dave Crawley Jr., Decatur; 11. Josh Smith, Clinton; 12. Doug Berbaum, Monticello; 13. Greg Rubenacker, Kenney; 14. Wayne Orrick; 15. Robert Cotton; 16. Eric Wilson, Downs; 17. Jimmie Howard, LeRoy; 18. Ronnie Burns.

20. Jim Quinn, Farmer City (DNF)

Hornets

1. Kenny Butterfield, Glasford; 2. Troy Newberry, Bloomington; 3. Jim Wilson, Towanda; 4. David Lauritson, Normal; 5. Chris Burton, Mansfield; 6. Jeremy Reed, Decatur; 7. Fred Reed; 8. Trisha Burton, Mansfield; 9. Luke Althouse, Paxton; 10. Larry Hawk, Champaign; 11. Chad Clevenger, Mattoon; 12. Bruce Douglas, Decatur; 13. Bob Althouse, Bloomington.

Sportsman

1. Dave Crawley Jr., Decatur; 2. Nick Macklin, Oreana; 3. Daniel Flessner, Thawville; 4. Jim Bailey, Hoopeston; 5. Dustin Mounce, Flanagan; 6. Richie Rich, Pontiac; 7. Donny Sublon, Fisher; 8. Ron Bohm, Cornell.

11. Rod Rusher, Mansfield (DNS)

MAY 29

Mini-Sprints

1. Jeremy Camp, Blue Mound; 2. Aaron Andruwskevitch, Riverton; 3. Andy Bough, Mason City; 4. Keith Garner, Maroa; 5. Jason Harms, Riverton; 6. Levi Curry, Lincoln; 7. Michael Bustamante, Taylorville; 8. Steve Russel; 9. Gedd Ross, Jr.; 10. Jeff Beasley, Urbana; 11. Liam Haigh, Mount Pulaski; 12. Cody Reynolds.

Modifieds -- Feature B

1. Danny Schwartz, Ashmore; 2. T.D. Burger, Saunemin; 3. Gary Turpin, Bloomington; 4. Allen Weisser, Peoria; 5. Roger Mills; 6. Mark Tullis, Macon; 7. Darren Kohler; 8. Billy Tuckwell, Peoria; 9. Bobby Crego; 10. Chevy Miller, Wapella; 11. Kevin Morrow; 12. Mike Chasteen Jr., Creve Coeur; 13. Jeremy Nichols, Decatur; 14. Rodney Morris, Odell; 15. Tommy Sheppard; 16. Zane Oedewaldt, Hanna City; 17. Tim Bohm; 18. Arby Burton; 19. Steve Brooks.

Street Stock

1. Jeremy Nichols, Decatur; 2. Darrel Dick, Monticello; 3. Rick Thomas, Dwight; 4. David Shain; 5. Chris Dick, DeLand; 6. Jim Quinn, Farmer City; 7. Mike McKinney, Plainfield; 8. Nate Zimmer, Mattoon; 9. Don Hilleary, Pepineoe; 10. David Billingsley; 11. Joel Funk, Dwight; 12. Darrell Hellman; 13. Wayne Orrick; 14. Jesse Simmons, Danville.

16. Rick Alwood, Clinton (DNF)

Hornets

1. Matt Maier, Thomasboro; 2. Tanner Tibbs, Pontiac; 3. Kenny Butterfield, Glasford; 4. Jeremy Kingsley, North Pekin; 5. Jeremy Reed, Decatur; 6. Joey Smyser, Charleston; 7. Chris Burton, Mansfield; 8. Troy Newberry, Bloomington; 9. Eric Wisher; 10. Jerry Benninger, Lincoln.

For full results from Memorial Day weekend's races, visit farmercityracing.com or speednetdirect.com.

5/28/11

Blue Ridge Softball Losing 5-0 in Sectional Title Game; Will Resume Action on Monday


DOWNS, Ill. -- With the Lady Knights down 5-0 in the top of the third inning and Liz Cordes on first base with an infield single, the game was delayed for a second time due to rain and thunder.

About 40 minutes later, it was announced that the game would be suspended and that Blue Ridge and Danville Schlarman will pick up where they left off Monday at 11 a.m.

In those 40 minutes, the Lady Knights held a players-only meeting at a corner in the Tri-Valley High School gymnasium.



"We just told each other to calm down and play our game," Jordyn Fones said. "We know we can win this game, but we're not showing it."

As the players were meeting, coach Myron Schroeder said they were talking about how to cover a bunt, something they talked about yesterday.

"They didn't do it," Schroeder said.

In the bottom of the first inning, the Hilltoppers got their No. 2 hitter on base via bunt single. After a single to right-center field, Danville Schlarman scored when Marcie Crawford attempted to force a runner out at third base; the throw missed, and the runner went to home plate.

The Hilltoppers scored again when another bunt led to no throw attempt.

In the top of the second inning, Melinda Wilson led off with an 0-2 count when the first weather delay occurred.

For the most part, the Blue Ridge players, as well as the Danville Schlarman players and game attendees, stayed in the Tri-Valley gym during the rain delay.



"I'm a little tired and trying to relax," Jordan Wheeler said during the first weather delay. "It's really frustrating, but after the break, we'll come in and play our game."



In between the announcement of a rain delay and when the rain started to come down, Alana Strum found some time to play with a dog. 

When action resumed in the second inning, the Lady Knights put runners on first and second base with one out. Jamison Brandt hit a single on which the Hilltopper shortstop slipped, followed by a Kalyn Reynolds walk.

However, Danville Schlarman ended the inning with a double play. Chandler Morrow, who replaced Hannah Mattingly at second base for Blue Ridge, hit a grounder to the Hilltopper second baseman, who tagged out Reynolds and threw to first base to complete the double play.

Mattingly twisted her left ankle Thursday in the third inning against Central A&M as she tried to get back to the dugout after running through first base. She will likely not be in the lineup on Monday.

Danville Schlarman scored three more runs in the bottom of the second inning. Following an infield single and another bunt single, an additional bunt resulted in another error and two runs scored.

On this bunt, Crawford's throw to first base was too high for Brandt, putting the bunter on second base.

In the next at-bat, Wheeler fielded yet another bunt. Her throw missed Brandt at first base as well, resulting in Danville Schlarman's fifth run of the game.

When the game resumes on Monday, Jordyn Fones will be at the plate with nobody out and Cordes on first base in the third inning.

The winner of this game will play in the Danville Schlarman Super-Sectional on Tuesday at a time to be determined against Dwight.

Dwight beat Newark 10-4 in the Serena Sectional championship game (at least according to the IHSA ScoreZone).

5/27/11

Blue Ridge Softball Reaches Sectional Finals with Win over Central A&M

DOWNS, Ill. -- Melinda Wilson hit 3-for-4 with three RBIs and Kalyn Reynolds drove in two more runs as the Lady Knights earned a trip to the Tri-Valley Sectional championship game with an 8-1 win over Central A&M.

Jordan Wheeler increased her record on the mound to 22-4, striking out 12 Raiders and allowing one run on four hits.

At the plate, Blue Ridge (28-5) opened the game with four runs in the first inning. After Jordan Wheeler reached on an error, Wilson drove her in with a single to right field for the opening run.

Jade O'Neal hit a single prior to Wilson's at-bat. After Hannah Mattingly walked, Jamison Brandt reached first base on an error at third; Brandt scored Alana Strum, who ran as a courtesy to O'Neal.

Reynolds picked up one of her two RBIs with a first-inning single that sent Wilson home. Mattingly increased the Lady Knights' lead to 4-0 by scoring on a fielder's choice.

Reynolds walked in the fourth inning. Liz Cordes bunted, resulting in an error by the Central A&M first baseman.

Jordyn Fones singled and was driven home on an RBI single by Wheeler.

Blue Ridge later scored two more runs. Brandt hit an RBI single to score Wilson, who singled, and Reynolds drove in Brandt with a single of her own.

Reynolds finished the game hitting 2-for-2.

Central A&M's only run was scored in the sixth inning. Torey Hoffman drove in Kelsey Lowry, who walked.

"We played OK, but I know we can play better," Blue Ridge coach Myron Schroeder said.

The Lady Knights will need to bring their A-game to Downs on Saturday at 11 a.m., as they will face the Illinois Coaches Association's Class 1A No. 1-ranked team in Danville Schlarman.

Schlarman beat No. 20-ranked Tuscola 3-2 prior to Blue Ridge's game against Central A&M. In their previous meeting with the Hilltoppers, the Lady Knights lost 15-10 despite two home runs by Wheeler.

5/25/11

Blue Ridge Softball Game Rained Out, Will Play in Sectional Semifinals Thursday

A little more than a week after Tri-Valley High School cancelled the Heart of Illinois Conference Tournament due to rainy conditions, it once again judged "The Hill" as too damp to be playable.

Wednesday's sectional semifinal games have been postponed to a day later. Tuscola and Danville Schlarman will play Thursday at 4:30 p.m. followed by the Blue Ridge/Central A&M game.

5/22/11

Farmer City Raceway Results -- May 20, 2011

FARMER CITY, Ill. -- Dion Smith won the Dash for the Cash.

Here are the results of the feature races from last Friday. Some were make-up features from May 13, when racing was suspended due to rain.

LATE MODELS
Rescheduled from May 13

1. Ryan Unzicker, El Paso; 2. Bobby Pierce, Oakwood; 3. Eric Smith, Bloomington; 4. Scott Bull, Fairbury; 5. Roger Brickler, Springfield; 6. Bill Giannetti, Champaign; 7. Joseph Hughs, Springfield; 8. Joe Harlan, El Paso; 9. Chris Dick, DeLand; 10. Jim Moon, Zionsville, Ind.; 11. Troy Newberry, Bloomington; 12. Jimmy Dehm, Lexington; 13. Don Cisco III, Oreana; 14. Shane Garrison, Dawson.

MODIFIEDS
Rescheduled from May 13

1. Jeff Curl, Forrest; 2. Jay Ledford, Pontiac; 3. Ray Bollinger; 4. Jeff Leka, Buffalo; 5. Kevin Weaver, Gibson City; 6. Ryan Cary, Catlin; 7. Dave Crawley, Decatur; 8. Rick Weekly, Buffalo; 9. Darcey Wey, Heyworth; 10. Marvin Burton, Georgetown; 11. David Henderson, Danville; 12. Chevy Miller, Wapella; 13. Jeff Sandford, Gifford; 14. Zane Oedewaldt, Hanna City; 15. Steve Keenen, Philo; 16. Dane Tilstra, Onarga; 17. Justin Delong, Bloomington; 18. Roger Cary, Catlin; 19. Rick Hamilton, Decatur.

22. Matt Wilson, Clinton (DNS)

LATE MODELS

1. Brandon Sheppard, New Berlin; 2. Jason Feger, Bloomington; 3. Ryan Unzicker, El Paso; 4. Eric Smith, Bloomington; 5. Daren Friedman, Forrest; 6. Donny Walden, Towanda; 7. Derek Chandler, Pontiac; 8. Jimmy Dehm, Lexington; 9. Ryan Little, Springfield; 10. Roger Brickler, Springfield; 11. Scott Bull, Fairbury; 12. Joe Harlan, El Paso; 13. Bill Giannetti, Champaign; 14. Russ Adams, Princeville; 15. Don Cisco III, Oreana.

MODIFIEDS

1. Jeff Leka, Buffalo; 2. Denny Schwartz, Ashmore; 3. Justin Delong, Bloomington; 4. Ray Bollinger; 5. Jay Ledford, Pontiac; 6. Jeff Curl, Forrest; 7. Gary Turpin, Bloomington; 8. Ryan Cary, Catlin; 9. Rick Weekly, Buffalo; 10. Roger Cary, Catlin; 11. Kenny Carmichael, Terre Haute, Ind.; 12. Justin Leka, Buffalo; 13. Kevin Weaver, Gibson City; 14. Chevy Miller, Wapella; 15. Zac Oedewalt, Hanna City.

STREET STOCK

1. Travis Johnson, Ashland; 2. Darrel Dick, Monticello; 3. Chris Dick, DeLand; 4. Jeff Simmons, Pontiac; 5. Dave Crawley, Decatur; 6. Doug Berbaum, Monticello; 7. Nathan McNeese, Catlin; 8. Rick Alwood, Clinton; 9. Jim Quinn, Farmer City; 10. Hugh Johnson, Champaign; 11. Troy Dodson, Cerro Gordo.

HORNETS

1. Joe Reed, Decatur; 2. Jeremy Reed, Decatur; 3. Larry Hawk; 4. Casey Gernentz, Gifford; 5. Tanner Tibbs, Pontiac; 6. Jim Wilson, Towanda; 7. Dion Smith, Bloomington; 8. Ben Gernentz, Gifford; 9. Chris Burton, Mansfield; 10. Fred Reed, Jr., 11. Brian Wilson, Colfax; 12. Trisha Burton, Mansfield; 13. Tony Reed; 14. Rick Reed.

SPORTSMAN

1. Tony Clark, North Vernon, Ind.; 2. Daniel Flessner, Thawville; 3. Dustin Mounce, Flanagan; 4. Joel Funk, Dwight; 5. Timmy Dick, Monticello; 6. Dave Crawley, Jr., Decatur; 7. Alan Crowder, Elwin; 8. Darrel Dick, Monticello; 9. Jim Felker Jr., Bloomington; 10. Shawn Diggs, LeRoy; 11. Ed Bright, Heyworth; 12. Michael Benjamin.

17. Rod Rusher, Mansfield (DNF).

For more results, visit farmercityracing.com or speednetdirect.com.

Correction: Blue Ridge Softball Will Play Central A&M in Tri-Valley Sectional

I was misinformed by IHSA's ScoreZone.

It was actually Central A&M who beat Meridian 5-2 in the Central A&M Regional at Moweaqua. Not the other way around, as my previous post stated.

The Lady Raiders will match up with Blue Ridge in the Downs Tri-Valley Sectional semifinals on Wednesday at 7 p.m. The winner of that game will play the winner of the semifinal game between Tuscola and Danville Schlarman on Saturday at 11 a.m.

I apologize for the inconvenience this error caused and would like to thank the Herald & Review in Decatur for setting the record straight.

5/21/11

Not This Time, Tri-Valley: Blue Ridge Softball Wins LeRoy Regional


Score by innings
Blue Ridge  200 001 4 -- 7
Tri-Valley  000 000 2 -- 2

LEROY, Ill. -- When Hannah Mattingly picked up Janelle Dedic's ground ball and threw to first base for the final out, Blue Ridge coach Myron Schroeder felt like a giant weight was lifted (figuratively, if not literally) off him.


"We got the Tri-Valley gorilla off our back," Schroeder said. "It wasn't a monkey; it was the full-fledged gorilla for the last three years, and it feels great."

A year after losing to the Lady Vikings in the regional final, the Lady Knights prevailed this time around. Behind another solid pitching performance from Jordan Wheeler another clutch-hitting game from Melinda Wilson, Blue Ridge won the LeRoy Regional by beating Tri-Valley in the championship game 7-2.

"I'm so happy for those kids, especially the seniors because they've been down the road and lost to Tri-Valley three times. This is big."

Jordyn Fones led off the game with a line drive that rocketed past Tri-Valley's Cassie Newman at first base and resulted in a single. After Fones stole second and third base, Wheeler drove her to home plate with a sacrifice fly ball.

Then, with two outs in the first inning, Wilson sent Marcie Crawford, who walked and stole second base, home with a double to right-center field.

Wilson scored a run of her own in the sixth inning after hitting a single to left field. Jamison Brandt drove her to home plate with a single down the middle of the infield.

In the seventh inning, with the Lady Knights leading 4-0 and runners on second and third base, Wilson lined a Mikaela Carr pitch to center field, scoring Crawford and Wheeler. Wilson again reached home plate on a wild pitch.

The three-RBI day gives Wilson 43 for the season. She tied the Blue Ridge record for most in a season (Jennifer Forrest recorded 43 RBIs in 2001).



"That kid's on fire, and we're not going to extinguish it just yet," Schroeder said.

With one out in the seventh inning, Fones got on first base by hitting a line drive that bounced off Ashley Reynolds. After Fones stole second and reached third on an error on the throw to second base, Crawford hit an RBI double to drive her to home plate.

With that RBI, Crawford now has 41 this season. Wheeler got her 42nd RBI with the sacrifice fly ball that scored Fones.

Wheeler also won on the mound, increasing her record to 21-4 by striking out six Lady Vikings and allowing two runs on five hits and one walk. Until the fifth inning, Tri-Valley couldn't advance a runner past first base.

In the fifth, Madison Sottos and Kara Neisen were on first and second base, respectively, with one out. Wheeler struck out Ashley Reynolds and Dedic to get out of the jam.



Wheeler got some help from some quality defensive play, particularly at third base. Among other defensive gems, Crawford caught two line drives (one in the second inning and the other in the seventh) to rob Kendall Gher of a hit.

She also forced runners out at second base in the first and fourth innings.



Tri-Valley scored its only two runs in the seventh inning. Ashley Reynolds drove in Neisen with a hit to center field and Sottos scored on a wild pitch.

With the regional final win, Blue Ridge improves to 27-5. The Lady Knights will play in the Downs Tri-Valley Sectional semifinals on Wednesday at 7 p.m.

They will face the Meridian Hawks, who beat Central A&M 5-2 in the Central A&M Regional championship game at Moweaqua.

"We'll see what we're made of," Schroeder said.

5/19/11

No Doubleheader Regional Finals for Blue Ridge: Knights Baseball Loses to LeRoy in Semifinal

Score by innings
Blue Ridge  000 00 -- 0
LeRoy        420 5x -- 11

ARGENTA, Ill. -- In any single-game elimination playoff system, anything can happen.

This concept coined the term March Madness for college basketball.

However, anyone who thought Blue Ridge could pull off a Cinderella-like upset of LeRoy in the May Mayhem that is the IHSA baseball playoffs got smacked hard and quickly by the stroke of midnight.

The Panthers scored four runs in the first inning and five in the fourth en route to beating the Knights 11-0 in the Argenta Regional semifinals.

With the loss, Blue Ridge ends its season with a record of 9-17. LeRoy, meanwhile, will play Argenta-Oreana in the regional championship game on Saturday.

"This is a good group of kids," Blue Ridge coach Eric Decker said. "They played hard. It just wasn't our day."



Blue Ridge had a chance to avoid the mercy rule in the fifth inning with runners on second and third base and one out. Cody Warren walked to lead off the inning and Nick Builta hit a ball to center field that bounced over the fence for a ground-rule double.

Neither runner scored, however, as Jack Plunk flied out to center field and Conner Builta struck out.

Nick Builta finished the game hitting 2-for-3. Warren took the loss on the mound, striking out three batters and giving up 11 runs on 10 hits, three walks and one hit batter.

LeRoy led off the game with an infield single. After a sacrifice bunt and a walk, the leadoff runner scored on an RBI single down the third-base line.

Following an RBI double that hit the right-field fence and put runners on second and third base, the Panthers scored two more runs on a sacrifice ground ball. After the forceout at first base and one run scored, Conner Builta committed an error on the throw to third base, resulting in another runner crossing home plate.

LeRoy scored two runs in the second inning after having nobody on base with two outs. After a ground ball that took a bad hop on Nick Builta gave the Panthers their first runner on base in that inning, they scored on two RBI singles.

In the bottom of the fourth inning, two doubles resulted in three runs for LeRoy. The Panthers got their last two runs on an RBI single and another error on Nick Builta.

JP Cool's Bar Supporting Blue Ridge Football

MANSFIELD, Ill. -- If your football program has only one win (a home victory over Heyworth in 2010) over the past three years, it needs all the help it can get.

Every Saturday from May 14 to July 23, JP Cool's Bar will try to play a role in getting Blue Ridge football to respectability.

The downtown Mansfield establishment, located at 14 N. Jefferson St., offers a $3.75 Saturday lunch special of cheeseburger and fries from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. For each special ordered, JP Cool's will donate $1 to the Knights' football program.

Jordan Wheeler, Blue Ridge Softball Powers Past Regan Romshek, GCMS

Score by innings
Blue Ridge  000 124 0 -- 7
GCMS        000 102 0 -- 3

LEROY, Ill. -- Sometimes, it's a mother who knows best.

As Regan Romshek retired the Lady Knights' first four batters, one couldn't help but get a sense of deja vu.

In their previous meeting, Romshek allowed four hits and struck out eight Blue Ridge batters en route to a 2-0 shutout.

Then Sarah O'Neal (Jade's mom) doled out some advice for the fifth batter, Melinda Wilson: be patient and make Romshek throw strikes.

Although the Illinois State recruit retired Wilson after she hit a fly ball on a 2-1 pitch to right field, it was a hard-hit fly ball. And from there, the Blue Ridge hitters slowly, but surely, shook down Romshek's aura of dominance.

En route to beating Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley 7-3, the Lady Knights' offense finished with 10 hits and four walks. One of those hits moved Blue Ridge up to a place in IHSA history.

Jordan Wheeler highlighted a four-run sixth inning with a two-run homer. The home run gave the Lady Knights 40 for the season, putting them in a tie for the No. 2 spot for most home runs hit in a season.

Wheeler also made some history on the mound. Picking up her 20th win of the season, she struck out seven batters.

Wheeler entered the contest four strikeouts shy of the all-time career record at Blue Ridge. She now holds sole possession of the record.



The Lady Knights went into the sixth inning leading 3-1 thanks in major part to Wilson's two RBIs. In the fourth inning, she sent Wheeler, who got on base via one of her two walks, to home plate for the game's first one with a lined shot down the middle of the infield.

After Romshek hit a solo home run to tie the score, Jade O'Neal hit an RBI single to right-center field to drive in Jordyn Fones, who got one of her three hits on an infield single, for the go-ahead run in the fifth inning.

In the next at-bat, Wilson once again sent Wheeler home, this time with a hit to left field.



With the win, Blue Ridge improves its record to 26-5 and will play for the LeRoy Regional title on Saturday at 11 a.m. Just like last year, Tri-Valley will be standing in the way of the Lady Knights' regional-championship aspirations.

Blue Ridge Statistics

Hitting

Jordyn Fones -- 3-for-4, RBI, 2 runs

Jade O' Neal -- 2-for-4, 2 RBIs

Melinda Wilson -- 2-for-4, double, 2 RBIs

Jordan Wheeler -- home run, 2 RBIs, 3 runs, 2 walks

Marcie Crawford -- double, RBI

Pitching

Jordan Wheeler (20-4), 7 innings, 7 hits, 3 runs, 7 strikeouts, 0 walks

ARGENTA BASEBALL REGIONAL UPDATE

Argenta-Oreana, the No. 1 seed in the regional, beat Heyworth 4-1.

The Bombers will play for the Argenta Regional championship against the winner of today's game between Blue Ridge and LeRoy on Saturday at 11 a.m.

5/18/11

Blue Ridge Softball Coach Myron Schroeder Chosen for All-Star Game

No matter how the Lady Knights fare in the IHSA playoffs, Myron Schroeder will coach at least one more game afterwards before his career is done.

He has been selected as a coach for the 2011 Pantagraph High School Softball All-Star Game. Blue Ridge assistant coaches Aimee Thacker, Claron Wheeler and Wayne Brown will be working as coaches at the game as well.

The All-Star Game will take place on June 13 at Champion Fields in Normal.

IHSA Softball Update: LeRoy Regional

LEROY, Ill. -- Tri-Valley, the No. 1 seed in the LeRoy Regional, advances to the championship game with a 5-3 win over Heyworth.

Kendall Gher improved to 10-1 on the year, striking out 13 Lady Hornets and allowing three runs on five hits and 2 walks.

The Lady Vikings will face the winner of today's game between Blue Ridge and Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley on Saturday at 11 a.m.

As a result of Tri-Valley's win, the only three teams remaining in the LeRoy Regional are teams ranked in the top 10 on the Class 1A Illinois Coaches Association poll. All of them are from the Heart of Illinois Conference.

5/16/11

Updated IHSA Softball Tournament Information

As you may recall, I recently put up the IHSA tournament information as read in www.ihssn.net nearly two weeks ago.

I recently read the regional/sectional pairings on www.ihsa.org, and there have been some changes. The following are the correct dates and times for Blue Ridge's potential playoff games.

LEROY REGIONAL

Wednesday

Blue Ridge vs. GCMS, 4:30 p.m.

Saturday

Winner Blue Ridge/GCMS vs. Winner Tri-Valley/(Argenta-Oreana/Heyworth), 11 a.m..

DOWNS TRI-VALLEY SECTIONAL

Wednesday, May 25

Winner LeRoy Regional vs. Winner Moweaqua Central A&M Regional, 7 p.m.

May 28

Winner of previously-shown game vs. Winner Tuscola Regional/Fisher Regional, 11 a.m.

DANVILLE SCHLARMAN SUPER-SECTIONAL

May 30

Winner of previously-shown game vs. Winner Serena Sectional, 1 p.m.

STATE TOURNAMENT
At East Peoria (EastSide Centre)

June 3

Winner of previously-shown game vs. Winner Raymond Lincolnwood Super-Sectional, 9:30 a.m.

June 4

Loser of previously-shown game vs. Loser Johnston City Super-Sectional/Rock Island (Augustana College) Super-Sectional

OR

Winner of previously-shown game vs. Winner Johnston City Super-Sectional/Rock Island (Augustana College) Super-Sectional.

Conner Builta Leads Blue Ridge Baseball to Regional Semifinals

Score by innings
Bement    000 010 0 -- 1
Blue Ridge  112 021 x -- 7 

FARMER CITY, Ill. -- Conner Builta pitched a complete-game gem, striking out 12 Bement batters to lead the Knights to a 7-1 victory.

"Conner threw really well," Blue Ridge coach Eric Decker said. "He was working ahead the whole game."

Builta also led Blue Ridge at the plate, hitting 3-for-3 with a double and driving in three runs.

Johnney Bruden contributed to the Knights by batting 2-for-4 with an RBI and two runs scored. Nick Builta hit a triple, scored two runs and drove in one more while going 1-for-4 at the plate.

With the victory, Blue Ridge improves to 9-16 overall. The Knights will play against LeRoy on Thursday at 4:30 p.m. in the semifinals of the Argenta Regional.

Melinda Wilson, Blue Ridge Softball Goes Deep in Regional Quarterfinal Win over LeRoy

Score by innings
LeRoy      000 10 -- 1
Blue Ridge  500 43 -- 12

FARMER CITY -- Before the game, Myron Schroeder expressed some hope that Blue Ridge might hit four home runs against LeRoy.

That would put the Lady Knights in some good company, giving them a tie for second place on the IHSA record books for most home runs hit in a season. With 40 home runs, the 2006 Downers Grove South softball team currently holds the No. 2 mark.

Blue Ridge fell just short, hitting three dingers. Melinda Wilson, Jordan Wheeler and Kalyn Reynolds each hit a home run to lead the Lady Knights to a 12-1 victory over LeRoy.

However, the three homers put Blue Ridge in a tie for third place with the 1985 Massac County team from Metropolis with at least one more game left to play.

"It feels good," Wilson said. "Our team is doing really good on home runs this year. We only need one more to be tied for second, so I think we'll get it."

Wilson started the dinger party in the first inning with Blue Ridge up 1-0 and the bases loaded. After Jade O'Neal was hit by a pitch in the previous at-bat with the sacks packed, Wilson cleared the bases with a grand-slam home run to left field.



"It felt great," Wilson said. "It seemed on the bat, and I just swung."

The homer sent Marcie Crawford, Wheeler and Chandler Morrow, who was running as a courtesy to O'Neal, to home plate.

Jordyn Fones scored when O'Neal was hit by the pitch. Fones got on base with an infield single, putting her in sole possession of Blue Ridge's career hit record.

To see the video, click on the following link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Si2SRYCXTwo.

After LeRoy scored its lone run on a solo homer in the fourth inning, Wheeler responded in the bottom half of the inning with a three-run homer to make the scored 9-1 in favor of the Lady Knights.

She scored Fones, who got on base with a bunt single, and Crawford, who hit a ground ball that forced Reynolds out at third base. Reynolds hit an RBI single that sent Jamison Brandt, who hit a single and took second base on a wild pitch, to home plate.



Wheeler also pitched a complete game to increase her record to 19-4. She threw nine strikeouts and allowed one run on two hits, including the solo home run.

With the nine strikeouts, Wheeler has 628 in her career with the Lady Knights. She is four shy of the school record, set by Ashley Elliott from 2005-08.

To see a video of one of her strikeouts, click on the following link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HrKh6Zst5QU.

In the bottom of the fifth inning, Reynolds' two-out, three-run dinger to center field clinched the game for Blue Ridge. She sent Hannah Mattingly, who hit a double to center field, and Morgan Delaney, who was running for Jamison Brandt after she walked, to home plate.



With the win, Blue Ridge improves to 25-5 and advances to the LeRoy Regional semifinals. The Lady Knights will face Gibson City-Melvin Sibley on Wednesday at 4:30 p.m. in LeRoy.

In their previous meeting against the Lady Falcons, Illinois State-bound Regan Romshek shut them out on four hits and two walks and struck out eight Blue Ridge batters en route to a 2-0 GCMS victory.

Schroeder said his Lady Knights should have a chance to beat the Lady Falcons this time around.

"As long as we're hitting and playing decent defense, we can beat anybody," Schroeder said. "I hope the season doesn't end too soon. If it does, it would be an injustice to the way these kids have played."

However, the No. 9-ranked Lady Knights will be facing a Lady Falcons team that is ranked No. 8 in the Illinois Coaches Association poll. If they win, they will likely face the No. 2-ranked Tri-Valley Lady Vikings for the regional championship.

"Two of us gotta lose," Schroeder said. "Hopefully, it won't be us."

5/15/11

Chicago Bulls' Bench Mob Posterizes Miami Heat's Big Three

In the Bulls' 103-82 win over the Heat, Derrick Rose was "too big, too strong, too fast."

Rose, Luol Deng and C.J. Watson, among others, brought the "hot sauce."

It was games like these that make you wish you could hear Stacey King's commentary. But unfortunately, TNT wanted exclusive television rights to the game.

Anyway, here are some free posters of Taj Gibson dunking on Dwyane Wade and Ronnie Brewer slamming it down over the outstretched arm of Chris Bosh. If King were a color commentator, he would tell D-Wade and Bosh to "get out the way."


The pictures of TNT's telecast of the Bulls/Heat game were taken from my cell phone.

Farmer City Raceway Features Rained Out Friday, Will Be Made Up Separately

FARMER CITY, Ill. -- The drivers at the Farmer City Raceway were able to finish the heats on Friday the 13th.

However, the rain has postponed the features. They will be made up on separate dates as double features.

To paraphrase a quote from Ernie Banks, let's race two.

Make-Up Double Features

May 20 -- Late Models, Modifieds

May 27 -- Crates, Sportsman

May 30 -- Street Stocks, Hornets

Point Standings as of 5/6/11

Late Models

1. Ryan Unzicker (El Paso) 104; 2. Derek Chandler (Pontiac) 93; 3. Brandon Sheppard (New Berlin) 89; 4. Eric Smith (Bloomington) 87; 5. Donny Walden (Towanda) 71; 6. Frank Heckenhast Jr. (University) 68; 7. Mike Spatola (Manhattan) 64; 8. Kevin Weaver (Gibson City) 59; T-9. Bobby Pierce (Oakwood) 57; T-9. Roger Brickler (Springfield) 57; T-9. Dillan White (Hopkinsville, Ky.) 57.

T-37. Curtis Hobbs (Farmer City) 20.

Modifieds

1. Jeff Leka (Buffalo) 152; 2. Lance Dehm (Chatsworth) 121; 3. Jay Ledford (Pontiac) 117; 4. Nick Allen (Wheatfield, Ind.) 114; 5. Jeff Curl (Forrest) 102; 6. McKay Wenger (Fairbury) 87; 7. Justin Delong (Bloomington) 76; 8. David Henderson (Danville) 73; 9. Jamie Lomax (Lake Village, Ind.) 66; 10. Ryan Cary (Catlin) 62.

Street Stock

1. Travis Johnson (Ashland) 129; 2. Jim Quinn (Farmer City) 117; 3. Rick Alwood (Clinton) 109; T-4. Eric Wilson (Downs) 78; T-4. Chris Dick (DeLand) 78; 6. Troy Dodson (Cerro Gordo) 75; 7. Joe Brown (Wilmington) 74; 8. Brian Cassell (Decatur) 65; 9. Brad Rogers (Foosland) 64; 10. Jerit Murphy (Lodge) 61.

18. Travis Thrasher (Clinton) 41; T-29. Donnie Rhoades (Clinton) 30; T-36. Josh Smith (Clinton) 23.

Hornets

1. Matt Maier (Thomasboro) 146; 2. Casey Gernentz (Penfield) 134; 3. Dion Smith (Bloomington) 125; 4. Larry Hawk (Champaign) 110; 5. Ben Gernentz (Gifford) 109; 6. Chris Burton (Mansfield) 103; 7. Troy Newberry (Bloomington) 102; 8. Joe Reed (Decatur) 98; 9. Trisha Burton (Mansfield) 89; T-10. Kenny Butterfield (Glasford); T-10. Brian Wilson (Colfax) 80.

Sportsman

1. Deve Crawley Jr. (Decatur) 154; 2. Nick Macklin (Oreana) 146; 3. Daniel Flessner (Thawville) 138; 4. Dustin Mounce (Pontiac) 130; 5. Jason Maier (Thomasboro) 123; 6. Alan Crowder (Elwin) 119; 7. Richie Rich (Pontiac) 103; 8. Rod Rusher (Mansfield) 102; 9. Darrel Dick (Monticello) 100; 10. Dave Slade (Seymour) 96.

For full point standings, go to farmercityracing.com or speednetdirect.com.

5/14/11

Nobody Wins When it Rains: HOIC Tournament Cancelled

DOWNS, Ill. -- All of Saturday's Heart of Illinois Conference Tournament games have been cancelled due to rain.

Blue Ridge's next contest will be at home on Monday in the LeRoy Regional against LeRoy at 4:30 p.m.
HOIC SOFTBALL TOURNAMENT UPDATE -- At this point, the Blue Ridge/Fieldcrest game has been moved to 2 p.m. and the GCMS/Tri-Valley game to 3:30 p.m. The consolation and third-place games have been cancelled. Stay tuned to the Sports Thread for further updates.

5/13/11

Blue Ridge Baseball Loses to Heyworth in 9 Innings

DOWNS, Ill. -- For the two Heart of Illinois Conference Tournament Cinderella teams (No. 12 Heyworth and No. 13-seeded Blue Ridge), midnight took some time to come.

After nine innings, the glass slipper fit on the Hornets, as they beat the Knights 5-4.

For Blue Ridge, Cody Warren led the offense by driving in two runs. He also pitched the first eight innings before Nick Builta took the loss in relief.

The Knights take their 8-16 record to the Class 1A regionals on Monday. They will face Bement at Farmer City's South Park.

2011 NBA Eastern Conference Finals: Full Schedule Information

The following are the scheduled dates and times for each Eastern Conference Final game between the Chicago Bulls and the Miami Heat:

Game 1 -- Heat at Bulls, May 15 at 7 p.m. CST.

Game 2 -- Heat at Bulls, May 18 at 7:30 p.m. CST.

Game 3 -- Bulls at Heat, May 22 at 7:30 p.m. CST.

Game 4 -- Bulls at Heat, May 24 at 7:30 p.m. CST.

*Game 5 -- Heat at Bulls, May 36 at 7:30 p.m. CST.

*Game 6 -- Bulls at Heat, May 28 at 7:30 p.m. CST.

*Game 7 -- Heat at Bulls, May 30 at 7:30 p.m. CST.

* -- if necessary

All games will be televised on TNT.

Jordyn Fones' Record-Tying Hit Sends Blue Ridge Softball to HOIC Semifinals

Due to technical difficulties, the original post accidentally disappeared from this blog. The following is a re-typed and updated version of my recap of Wednesday's Heart of Illinois Conference quarterfinal game between Blue Ridge and Tremont.

DOWNS, Ill. -- With a duel on the mound brewing between Ali Meeks and Jordan Wheeler and the game tied 1-1 in the bottom of the seventh inning, it would have seemed fitting for Wheeler to get the game-winning RBI.

That's what Jordyn Fones was thinking as she stepped up to the plate with two outs and Marcie Crawford on second base.

"I just wanted to get a base hit to led Jordan hit," Fones said. "She was really wanting to hit and get on. Going up to that, I was 0-for-3 for the game, so I was really nervous."

Of course, when you're batting .521 and one hit shy of Blue Ridge's career hits record, 0-for-3 simply means you're due. Fones lined a 3-1 pitch to left field to drive in Crawford, giving the Lady Knights a 2-1 win and setting up an HOIC semifinal matchup with Fieldcrest.

"I just kept battling up there, and as soon as I had that hit, it felt really good," Fones said. "I just want to say good job to the team for sticking together. It was tough going through that, but we pulled it out. I think we're playing our best right now."


Fones' hit was the 161st of her career, putting her in a tie for the school record with Jessica Forrest.

"I've been working for that during my four years," Fones said. "To be able to tie with at least three more games in the season, that just makes me feel good. I'm proud to leave my mark."

The win improves Blue Ridge's record to 24-5. As the winning pitcher, Wheeler sees her record increase to 18-4.

She struck out 15 batters and allowed one unearned run on three hits and no walks. Taking the loss for Tremont, Meeks struck out nine batters and allowed two runs on five hits. 


After Tremont scored the game's first run in the third inning, Melinda Wilson (seen in the above photo congratulating Wheeler on one of her strikeouts) scored the tying run in the fourth.

After hitting a single, she successfully attempted to steal second base. After the Tremont catcher's throw to second landed in center field, Wilson ran to home plate.

Liz Cordes led off the bottom of the seventh inning with a walk. Crawford hit a ground ball that resulted in a fielder's choice that forced Cordes out at second base.

Hannah Mattingly sent Crawford to second with a sacrifice bunt, setting up Fones' game-winning RBI.

With the 2-1 win, Blue Ridge now faces Fieldcrest. In their previous meeting last Friday, the Lady Knights gave Fieldcrest five unearned runs en route to a 5-3 home loss.

Fieldcrest almost suffered the same fate on Wednesday, as they fell behind via numerous errors in their HOIC quarterfinal matchup against Heyworth. However, Fieldcrest erased an 8-7 seventh-inning deficit to force extra innings and won the game 9-8 in the eighth inning.

Joust II will take place on Tri-Valley's "The Hill" on Saturday at 10 a.m. The winner will play against the winner of Tri-Valley/GCMS for the HOIC tournament championship at 6 p.m. and the loser will play in the third-place game at 4 p.m.

In case you didn't see the links to my videos of the Tremont/Blue Ridge game on my blog before they were erased, here they are:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d1mscnX3Ddg

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b18-tMap2SU

BLUE RIDGE BASEBALL

The Knights were scheduled to play on Thursday in the HOIC quarterfinals at Heyworth.

The game, however, was postponed for Friday at 4:30 p.m. in Tri-Valley.

5/12/11

Blue Ridge Baseball to Play Heyworth in HOIC Quarterfinals Today


LEROY, Ill. -- The No. 13-seeded Knights, fresh off their upset of Fieldcrest, will play the Hornets for a chance to reach the Heart of Illinois Conference Tournament quarterfinals.

The game is scheduled to be played at 6:30 p.m.

5/11/11

BLUE RIDGE TRACK RESULTS
At Colfax Ridgeview Invitational

Boys Discus -- Brett Koos, First place.

Girls Shot Put -- Kalyn Reynolds, Second place.

Girls 100 -- Tia Morrow, Fourth place.

Girls 200 -- Tia Morrow, Fourth place.

Boys 800 -- J.J. Malone, Fifth place.

Girls High Jump -- Bailey Clancy, Fifth place.

Jordyn Fones Close to Blue Ridge Softball's Career Hit Record

Just one year after getting 66 hits and a .537 batting average (both Lady Knights records from a 43-foot pitching distance), Jordyn Fones is again proving to be a tough out for Blue Ridge opponents.

Fones is batting .521 this season and has recorded 50 hits. She now has 160 hits in her career.

The Lady Knights record for career hits is 161, set by Jessica Forrest from 1999-02. She has a chance to break the record in today's Heart of Illinois Conference Tournament quarterfinal game against Tremont.

With Fones consistently getting on base, it gives other Blue Ridge players a chance to drive in runs. Marcie Crawford, who, coincidentally, follows Fones in the batting lineup, leads the team with 39 RBIs.

That is four shy of the school record for most RBIs in a season, set by Jennifer Forrest in 2001 from a 40-foot pitching distance. With 42 RBIs in 2010, Melinda Wilson holds the record from a 43-foot pitching distance.

While we're on the subject of records, here's a look at the IHSA leaderboard for home runs hit by a team in a single season.

1. Johnston City (2010), 47
2. Downers Grove South (2006), 40
3. Metropolis Massac County (1985), 39
4. Blue Ridge (so far this year), 36

Heart of Illinois Conference Softball Tournament Update

DOWNS, Ill. -- On Monday, Heyworth beat Flanagan-Cornell-Woodland 1-0 to advance to the quarterfinals.

The Hornets will play the No. 1 seed in the tournament (Fieldcrest) at 4:30 p.m. today. The winner of that game will play against the winner of the 6:30 p.m. game between Blue Ridge and Tremont.

On Tuesday, No. 7-seeded LeRoy pulled off a come-from-behind victory over No. 10 El Paso-Gridley, winning 12-7. No. 6 Deer Creek-Mackinaw beat No. 11 Fisher 3-0.

LeRoy takes on the No. 2-seeded Lady Vikings of Tri-Valley and Dee-Mack faces No. 3 Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley on Thursday.

5/10/11

Blue Ridge Baseball Upsets Fieldcrest; Will Play Heyworth Thursday

WENONA, Ill -- This time, the young, No. 13-seeded Blue Ridge's baseball team came through in the clutch.

With the game tied 2-2 heading into the sixth inning, the Knights scored two runs. That proved to be the difference, as they upset No. 4-seeded Fieldcrest 4-3 in the Heart of Illinois Conference Tournament.

Connor Builta was the winning pitcher, as he struck out six batters. Jack Plunk went 2-for-3 at the plate and scored two runs to lead the Knights' offense.

Blue Ridge takes its 8-15 overall record into a Thursday matchup against No. 12 Heyworth, who pulled off an upset of their own. The Hornets beat No. 5 Fisher 14-2 in six innings.

The Knights will play against Heyworth in LeRoy at 6:30 p.m.

BLUE RIDGE BOYS TRACK RESULTS
At Gibson City

Ryan Roos won the 400-meter dash at Blue Ridge's track meet in Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley High School.

He was also a part of the Knights' 400-meter relay team, which took second place. J.J. Malone, Trent Butler and Brett Roos also were part of that team.

Malone took third place in the 800-meter dash. He also took part in Blue Ridge's 1,600-meter relay, which also finished in third place; Butler, Josh McQuaid and Ryan Roos were also in that relay.

Blue Ridge also took third place in the 800-meter relay. Wes Thompson, Dylan Weidner, Jon Berger and Josh McQuaid were in that relay.

The Knights' boys and girls track teams will compete at the Ridgeview Invitational today, starting at 3:45 p.m.

5/9/11

Blue Ridge Softball Punches Ticket to HOIC Quarterfinals with Big Win over Ridgevew

Score by innings
Ridgeview  000 00 -- 0
Blue Ridge 470 2x -- 13

DOWNS, Ill. -- Right from the opening inning, the No. 13-seeded Mustangs were no match for the No. 4-seeded Lady Knights or for the wind.

Blue Ridge scored 11 runs in the first two innings and Jordan Wheeler threw a no-hitter en route to a 13-0 win over Ridgeview.

With the win, the Lady Knights improved their overall record to 23-5 heading into a Heart of Illinois Conference quarterfinal matchup against Tremont. Led by a perfect game from Ali Meeks (a second consecutive no-hitter on The Hill at Tri-Valley High School), the No. 5-seeded Turks beat Lexington 10-0 in five innings.

Their previous meeting was last Tuesday at Tremont, where Blue Ridge beat the Turks 5-1. The HOIC quarterfinal meeting is scheduled for Wednesday at 6:30 p.m.

"It'll be a good matchup," Lady Knights coach Myron Schroeder said. "It'll come down to defense and who gets hot with the bats. If we play defense, we'll be fine." 

After Jordyn Fones led off the Ridgeview game with an infield single, Marcie Crawford hit an RBI double to left field to give Blue Ridge an early 1-0 lead. Wheeler hit another double to left field to score Crawford.

After Wheeler stole third base and scored on a Jade O'Neal ground ball, Melinda Wilson hit a double through the Mustangs' third baseman. With Jamison Brandt at bat, Wilson scored from third base on a wild pitch that sailed behind Brandt's back.

In the second inning, Fones reached second base with a line drive that deflected off the Ridgeview third baseman. With Crawford at bat, Fones attempted to steal third base; after a collision jarred the ball loose, Fones took home plate.

After Wheeler hit a double and O'Neal hit a single to put runners on the corners, Wilson hit an infield single to score Wheeler. Chandler Morrow, who ran as a courtesy to catcher O'Neal, and Wilson scored scored when Hannah Mattingly reached first base on an error by the first baseman.

After Jamison Brandt hit a double to left-center field, Kalyn Reynolds smacked a base hit down the middle of the infield to score Mattingly. With two outs, Fones hit a single to score Brandt and Reynolds.

In the fourth inning, an infield single by Fones and a double to left-center field by Crawford put runners on second and third base. Wheeler then hit a fly ball that turned into trouble in left field, dropping to the ground after catching a gust of wind.

Alana Strum, who was substituting for Fones, scored on the Wheeler double to make the score 12-0 in favor of Blue Ridge. Mattingly drove Wheeler to her third run of the game, and the Lady Knights' last, with a double to center field.

Wheeler finished the game hitting 3-for-4 with three doubles and driving in two runs to go with the three she scored.

She also increased her pitching record to 17-4 as she faced 16 Ridgeview batters, striking out seven of them. A throwing error by Wilson put a runner on second base in the second inning.

Wheeler also walked a batter in the fourth inning. However, O'Neal caught the Mustang runner attempting to steal second base. 

Wilson pulled off another defensive gem in the third inning, catching a foul ball alongside the fence near the Blue Ridge dugout.

Wilson also hit 2-for-4 at the plate with double, scoring a run and driving in another. Fones led the Lady Knights at the plate, batting 4-for-4 with a double, two runs and two RBIs.

Other Notable Blue Ridge Stats

Crawford -- 3-for-4, 2 doubles, RBI, run.

Brandt -- 3-for-4, double, run.

Reynolds -- 2-for-2, RBI, run.

Mattingly -- 1-for-2, double, RBI, run, walk.

O'Neal -- 1-for-4, RBI.

Jordan Wheeler Adds Another Notch to Career Blue Ridge Softball Pitching Belt

Shortly after winning the WallStudz Player of the Month for her performance in April, one could only wonder what junior Jordan Wheeler could accomplish next.

After all, she already holds the Blue Ridge softball record for career wins. She threw a perfect game in 2010 against Peoria Menual.

Prior to today's Heart of Illinois Conference Tournament game against Ridgeview, however, there was one seasonlong goal that eluded her: another no-hitter. Like many other achievements in her career, that goal has been accomplished, as she no-hit the Mustangs en route to the Lady Knights' 13-0 five-inning win.

"It feels really good," Wheeler said. "I'm just glad I got one. I had one last year, so then I wanted to keep it going."

For someone with lofty goals on the diamond, however, she says she has yet to look into attending the more prestigious colleges in the near future. So far, she is looking at Heartland, Parkland, ICC and Lincoln Land Community College.

"Next year, I'm probably going to look more into bigger schools and stuff," Wheeler said.

For now, however, she says she is glad to be pitching for Blue Ridge High School.

"I'm just really excited that my team is there backing me up and helping me," Wheeler said. 

Blue Ridge Softball: HOIC Tournament Information

Today in Downs, the Lady Knights will start their Heart of Illinois Conference Tournament journey at 4:30 p.m.

They moved up to No. 9 in the Class 1A Illinois Coaches Association poll, but will be the fourth seed in the HOIC tourney. Blue Ridge plays against No. 13-seeded Ridgeview.

If the Lady Knights win, they will play against the winner of the 6:30 p.m. matchup between No. 5 Tremont and No. 12 Lexington.

That game is scheduled for Wednesday at 6:30 p.m., with the winner advancing to a Saturday semifinal matchup against top-seeded Fieldcrest (or against the winner of the No. 8 Heyworth vs. No. 9 Flanagan-Cornell game). That will be played at 10 a.m.

The championship game will be played at 6 p.m. that same Saturday. The third-place game is scheduled for 4 p.m.

By the way...

Jordan Wheeler was named the WallStudz Player of the Month.

5/7/11

2011 NBA Playoffs: Why Taj Gibson Should Start for the Chicago Bulls

As we all know, Tom Thibodeau promised at his introductory press conference that his team will be based on defense and rebounding.

If that's true, and these playoffs have been any indication, then Carlos Boozer needs to have a seat. It's Taj Gibson's turn at the starting power forward position.

In the Bulls' 99-82 win over the Atlanta Hawks in Game 3, Gibson put up a double-double, scoring 13 points and grabbing 11 rebounds. Meanwhile, Boozer grabbed six boards and scored six points.

I know Boozer is paid the big bucks because he is a more capable scoring option. But he isn't even out-scoring Gibson.

Heck, he isn't out-scoring the forwards he's supposed to be guarding. Despite what Boozer's defensive efforts may lead you to believe, Tyler Hansbrough is not Kevin Durant.

Chicago is simply better off with Gibson at power forward right now. And the Bulls need to realize it if they want to reach the promised land.

Farmer City Raceway Results -- May 6, 2011

FEATURE RESULTS

Mini-Sprints

1. Aaron Andruskevitch; 2. Derek Schuett, Philo; 3. Max Pozsgai, Lincoln; 4. Jason Harms; 5. Ryne Welch, Clinton; 6. Levi Curry, Lincoln; 7. Kyle Schuett, Philo; 8. Randy Brown, Paris; 9. Andy Bough, Mason City; 10. Devin Feger, Marquette Heights; 11. Greg Northrop, Jacksonville; 12. Liam Haigh; 13. Lucas Sprague, Clinton (DNF).

Late Models

1. Jason Feger, Bloomington; 2, Ryan Unzicker, El Paso; 3. Dillan White, Hopkinsville, Ky.; 4. Kent Robinson, Bloomington, Ind.; 5. Derek Chandler, Pontiac; 6. Frank Heckenhast, University; 7. Steve Sheppard Jr., New Berlin; 8. Bobby Pierce, Oakwood; 9. Eric Smith, Bloomington; 10. Dennis Erb Jr., Carpentersville; 11. Daren Friedman, Forrest; 12. Brandon Sheppard, New Berlin; 13. Donny Walden, Towanda; 14. Chris Dick, DeLand; 15. Roger Brickler, Springfield; 16. Scott Bull, Fairbury; 17. Jimmy Dehm, Lexington; 18. Joe Harlan, El Paso (DNF); 19. Greg Kimmons, Pleasant Plains (DNF); 20. Richie Hedrick, Urbana (DNF).

Modifieds

1. Jeff Leka, Buffalo; 2. Lance Dehm, Chatsworth; 3. Jay Ledford; 4. McKay Wenger, Fairbury; 5. Gary Turpin, Bloomington; 6. Dane Tilstra, Onarga; 7. Jeff Curl, Forrest; 8. Jeffrey Leka, Buffalo; 9. Tim Bohm; 10. Don Kiger, Tilton; 11. Chevy Miller, Wapella; 12. Roger Cary; 13. Rick Hamilton, Decatur; 14. Jeff Sandford; 15. Steve Keenen; 16. Zane Oedewaldt, Hanna City; 17. David Henderson, Danville (DNF); 18. Steve Ewing, Decatur (DNF); 19. Ryan Curry, Catlin (DNF).

Street Stock

1. Travis Johnson, Ashland; 2. Troy Dodson, Cerro Gordo; 3. Darrel Dick, Monticello; 4. Jim Quinn, Farmer City; 5. Chris Dick, DeLand; 6. Jerit Murphy, Lodge; 7. Rick Alwood, Clinton; 8. Darrel Lehigh, Fisher; 9. Eric Wilson, Downs; 10. Doug Berbaum, Monticello (DNF); 11. Ronnie Burns (DNF); 12. Steve Ewing, Decatur (DNS); 13. Brad Rogers, Foosland (DNF); 14. Nathan McNeese, Catlin (DNS).

Hornets

1. Matt Maier, Thomasboro; 2. Casey Gernentz, Penfield; 3. Dion Smith, Bloomington; 4. Troy Newberry, Bloomington; 5. Larry Hawk, Champaign; 6. Chris Burton, Mansfield; 7. Ben Gernentz, Gifford; 8. Trisha Burton, Mansfield; 9. Bob Althouse, Bloomington; 10. Luke Althouse, Paxton; 11. Adam Busboom, Rantoul; 12. Jayme Benton; 13. Michael Webb (DNS).

Sportsman

1. Nick Macklin, Oreana; 2. Dave Crawley Jr., Decatur; 3. Rod Rusher, Mansfield; 4. Daniel Flessner, Thawville; 5. Jason Meier, Thomasboro; 6. Kenny Carmichael, Terre Haute, Ind.; 7. Darrel Dick, Monticello; 8. Alan Crowder, Elwin; 9. Dustin Mounce, Pontiac (DNF); 10. Donny Sublon, Fisher (DNF); 11. Cody Bauman, Eureka (DNF); 12. Richie Rich, Pontiac (DNF); 13. Ben Hulse, Flanagan (DNF); 14. Dave Slade, Seymour (DNF); 15. Ron Bohm (DNF); 16. Jesse Simmons, Danville (DNS).

For full results, visit http://www.farmercityracing.com/ or http://www.speednetdirect.com/.

Blue Ridge Softball Loses to Fieldcrest Knights in Extra-Inning Joust

Score by innings
Fieldcrest  003 000 02 -- 5
Blue Ridge  012 000 00 -- 3

FARMER CITY, Ill. -- The back of Jade O'Neal's warmup shirt reads, "You lose, no prom for you."

Despite Blue Ridge's 5-3 loss to Fieldcrest, there will be a prom at the high school tonight. Still, head coach Myron Schroeder could make do without the error-happy defeat to the black Knights from Minonk.

"I thought we hit the ball well off a good pitcher and we made some good plays early in the game, but errors finally snuck up on us," Schroeder said. 

All five of Fieldcrest's runs were unearned, including two in a four-error eighth inning. After a leadoff single in the top of the extra inning, a bunt put runners on first and second; however, one of the runners was tagged out after she was caught overrunning second base.

The runner on first scored via an RBI double. That batter scored from second base after a fly ball bounced off a diving Jordyn Fones' glove.

In the third inning, Fieldcrest took a 2-1 lead when a squeeze bunt resulted in two runs. With runners on second and third base, Wheeler attempted to throw out a runner at home plate.

After a collision in which the runner ended up safe at home, the ball popped loose. By the time Blue Ridge controlled it, another run scored and the bunter ended up at third base.

In the next at-bat, the bunting runner reached home plate on an RBI single.

Melinda Wilson started the scoring with a solo home run to right field in the second inning. It was her seventh home run of the season, tying a career best for home runs in a season.

She hit seven homers in 2010, which was a school record before this year.

That record belongs to Jordan Wheeler, who hit a two-run shot (her 11th of the season) to left-center field in the third inning to tie the score at 3-3. Wheeler's home run gave Blue Ridge 36 for the season and sole possession of fourth place on the IHSA's all-time list for home runs in a season.

Wheeler also struck out eight batters, but also gave up nine hits to fall to 16-4. Tiffany Lindsay was the winning pitcher for Fieldcrest, giving up six hits and striking out six batters.

With the loss to Fieldcrest, Blue Ridge sees its record drop to 22-5 overall and 8-3 in the Heart of Illinois Conference. The Lady Knights' next game will be in Downs on Monday, where they will take on Ridgeview in the conference tournament.

5/5/11

Blue Ridge Softball Schedule: HOIC and IHSA Tournaments

On Monday, the Lady Knights will start playing in the Heart of Conference tournament.

They will play against Ridgeview at Tri-Valley High School at 4:30 p.m.

According to ihssn.net, Blue Ridge will play in the LeRoy Regional against LeRoy at 4:30 p.m. on May 16. If they win that game, the Lady Knights will have a rematch against Regan Romshek and Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley on May 19 at 4:30 p.m.

The winner of that game will play in the regional championship on May 21 at 11 a.m.

The winner of the LeRoy Regional will play in the Tri-Valley Sectional in Downs, matching up against the winner of the Moweaqua Central A&M Regional in the sectional semifinals on May 25 at 7 p.m.

The Tri-Valley Sectional championship game will be played on May 28 at 11 a.m.

The winner of that game will play in the Danville Schlarman Super-Sectional against the winner of the Serena Sectional on May 30 at 1 p.m.

The winner of the Danville Schlarman Super-Sectional will advance to the state tournament in East Peoria's EastSide Centre, matching up in the semifinals against the winner of the Raymond Lincolnwood Super-Sectional on June 3 at 9:30 a.m.

The winner of that game will play for the Class 1A state championship on June 4 at noon. The loser will play in the third-place game at 9:30 a.m.

For more information on the IHSA Class 1A postseason, visit http://www.ihssn.net/.

5/4/11

Jordan Wheeler's Bat Leads Blue Ridge Softball to Victory in Paxton

Score by innings
Blue Ridge  231 030 0  -- 9
PBL            001 010 0  --2

PAXTON, Ill. -- Although she increased her pitching record to 16-3, Jordan Wheeler did not put on a spectacular performance on the mound against Paxton-Buckley-Loda (at least to her lofty standards).

Wheeler struck out seven batters, but also allowed six hits and walked three batters. However, whatever she may have lacked on the mound, she made up for (and then some) at the plate.

Wheeler hit 3-for-4 at the plate with two doubles and drove in five runs as the Lady Knights beat the Panthers 9-2.

Marcie Crawford drove in the first run of the game in the opening inning with a double down the first-base line that barely stayed in fair territory. She sent Jordyn Fones, who led off with an infield single, to home plate.

After Crawford took third base on a wild pitch, Wheeler drove her in with a single to make the score 2-0 in favor of Blue Ridge.

In the second inning, Wheeler hit a two-RBI double that hit the left-center field fence to send home Fones and Crawford. Two at-bats prior to that, Fones drove in T-Ann Crozier, who was running for catcher Jade O'Neal, with another infield single.

Melinda Wilson led off the third inning with an infield single of her own. After reaching second base on a wild pitch and stealing third, she scored a run as Jamison Brandt reached first base on an error.

The Panthers scored their first run of the game in the bottom of the third inning with an RBI double that made contact with the left-center field fence.

After a scoreless fourth inning, each team scored at least one run in the fifth. In the top of the fifth, Wheeler drove in two runs with another double to left-center field.

She sent Kalyn Reynolds and Fones to home plate. Then O'Neal sent Wheeler home with an RBI double of her own to make the score 0-1 in favor of Blue Ridge.

PBL scored when Wheeler walked a batter with the bases loaded. Wheeler retired eight of the Panthers' next nine batters to seal the victory.

With the win, the Lady Knights improve to 22-4. They will host Fieldcrest for what may be their regular-season finale on Friday.

BLUE RIDGE BASEBALL

The Knights held a 7-3 lead heading into the bottom of the sixth inning.

The Panthers, however, scored six runs to take a 9-7 lead. Blue Ridge put a runner on first base with no outs in the top of the seventh, but two consecutive strikeouts and a groundout sealed the deal.

With the loss, the Knights fall to 7-14.

Blue Ridge Track Results: McLean County Meet

GIBSON CITY, Ill. -- The Knights' boys and girls track teams finished 11th and 13th place, respectively, in the McLean County Meet on Tuesday.

Ryan Roos finished fifth in the 400 meter dash and sixth in the 100 meter run. Brett Roos finished sixth in the discus throw.

J.J. Malone finished sixth in the 800 meter dash. For the girls' team, Kalyn Reynolds finished in sixth place in the shot put.

Melinda Wilson, Blue Ridge Softball Earn Win No. 21 over Tremont

TREMONT, Ill. -- Melinda Wilson produced once again at the plate to lead the Lady Knights to a 5-1 win over the Turks.

Wilson hit 3-for-3 with a double and two RBIs. Jordyn Fones joined her in the multi-hit club, hitting 2-for-4 and scoring a run.

Jamison Brandt, Paige Weidner and Marcie Crawford each drove in a run. Brandt hit 1-for-3 with double; Weidner batted 1-for-3 as well and Crawford went 1-for-4.

Jordan Wheeler increased her pitching record to 15-3, striking out seven batters while yielding no earned runs on three hits.

With the win, the Lady Knights improve to 21-4 overall and 8-2 in the Heart of Illinois Conference. They will travel to Paxton today to take on the Paxton-Buckley-Loda Panthers at 4:30 p.m.

The Turks, meanwhile, fall to 11-11 overall and 6-3 in the conference.

BLUE RIDGE BASEBALL

Johnney Bruden hit a solo home run for the Knights.

It was not enough, however, as Blue Ridge lost to Tremont 4-3 to fall to 7-13 overall and 2-8 in the HOIC.

5/3/11

Farmer City Raceway Points Standings as of 4/29/11

Late Models

T-1. Ryan Unzicker (El Paso) 66; T-1. Brandon Sheppard (New Berlin) 66; 3. Mike Spatola (Manhattan) 64; T-4. Eric Smith (Bloomington) 61; T-4. Derek Chandler (Pontiac) 61; T-6. Donny Walden (Towanda) 49; T-6. Kevin Weaver (Gibson City) 49; 8. Bret Sievert (Mukwonko, Wisc.) 46; 9. Brian Diveley (Springfield) 44; T-10. Wes Steidinger (Fairbury) 40; T-10. Brian Shirley (Chatham) 40.

T-39. Curtis Hobbs (Farmer City) 10.

Modifieds

1. Nick Allen (Wheatfield, Ind.) 114; 2. Jeff Leka (Buffalo) 112; 3. Lance Dehm (Chatsworth) 83; 4. Jay Ledford (Pontiac) 81; 5. Justin Delong (Bloomington) 76; 6. Jeff Curl (Forrest) 74; 7. Jamie Lomax (Lake Village, Ind.) 66; 8. David Henderson (Danville) 55; 9. Eric Bruce (Peoria) 54; 10. McKay Wenger (Fairbury) 53.

Street Stocks

1. Travis Johnson (Ashland) 89; 2. Jim Quinn (Farmer City) 83; 3. Rick Alwood (Clinton) 81; 4. Joe Brown (Wilmington) 74; 5. Brian Cassell (Decatur) 65; 6. Travis Wolford 54; T-7. Eric Wilson (Downs) 52; T-7. Jeff Simmons (Pontiac) 52; T-7. Gene Reed 52; 10. Brandon Roundtree 50.

13. Travis Thrasher (Clinton) 41.

Hornets

1. Matt Maier (Thomasboro) 106; 2. Joe Reed, (Decatur) 98; 3. Casey Gernentz (Penfield) 96; 4. Dion Smith (Bloomington) 89; 5. Ben Gernentz (Gifford) 81; T-6. Kenny Butterfield (Glasford) 80; T-6. Brian Wilson (Colfax) 80; 8. Larry Hawk (Champaign) 78; 9. Chris Burton (Mansfield) 73; T-10. David Lauritson (Normal) 68; T-10. Troy Newberry (Bloomington) 68.

12. Trisha Burton (Mansfield) 62.

Sportsman

1. Dave Crawley Jr. (Decatur) 116; 2. Nick Macklin (Oreana) 106; T-3. Dustin Mounce (Pontiac) 104; T-3. Daniel Flessner (Thawville) 104; 5. Alan Crowder (Elwin) 92; 6. Jason Meier (Thomasboro) 91; 7. Richie Rich (Pontiac) 80; 8. Dave Slade (Seymour) 75; 9. Darrel Dick (Monticello) 72; 10. Rod Rusher (Mansfield) 66.

For more information on the Farmer City Raceway standings, visit farmercityracing.org or speednetdirect.com. The next race day is scheduled for Friday, May 6.

Blue Ridge Softball's High-Powered Bats Lead to Victory, Climb up IHSA Record Books

Score by innings
El Paso-Gridley 000 00 -- 0
Blue Ridge         471 1x -- 13

FARMER CITY, Ill. -- Decades after Babe Ruth famously called his shot, Jade O'Neal knew where she would hit her home run on Monday against El Paso-Gridley.

A red Mini Cooper that belonged to her best friend's father was parked beyond the left-field fence. O'Neal bet her friend that she could hit the car with a dinger.

"If I hit it, I get it," O'Neal said. "It was just a spur of the moment."

In the first inning, with the Lady Knights leading 1-0 and runners on second and third base, O'Neal crushed a pitch past the left-field fence. Although she barely missed the car, she hit the first of three home runs smashed by Blue Ridge en route to beating EPG 13-0 in five innings.

Jordan Wheeler and Melinda Wilson each hit solo home runs, giving the Lady Knights 34 home runs for the season. They are now in fifth place on the IHSA's all-time list for homers hit in a season.

They passed St. Joseph-Ogden's 33 hit in 2005. They are one home run shy of fourth place, owned by Cicero-Berwyn and Downers Grove South.

O'Neal's three-run blast in the first inning was her fifth of the season. She drove in Wheeler, who walked and stole second base after Jordyn Fones took home plate on a wild pitch, and Marcie Crawford, who doubled prior to Wheeler's at-bat to send Fones to third base.

Wheeler hit her solo homer in the third inning to give Blue Ridge a 12-0 lead. It was her 10th home run of the season.

Wheeler also was the winning pitcher, increasing her record to 14-3 as she struck out seven EPG batters and allowing only two hits in a complete-game shutout.

Melinda Wilson's solo dinger, hit in the fourth inning, was her sixth of the season and her third in the last two games.

Crawford also produced at the plate, hitting 2-for-3 with two doubles. Her second double drove in Blue Ridge's first two runs of the second inning; Liz Cordes and Hannah Mattingly scored from second and third base, respectively.

Wheeler sent Fones home with an RBI single to make the score 7-0 in favor of the Lady Knights. Then Wilson drove in Crawford and Wheeler with a two-RBI single.

Mattingly hit a double to left-center field, sending Wilson home. Mattingly reached home plate when a ground ball by Kalyn Reynolds resulted in an error on the attempted forceout throw to first base, giving Blue Ridge a seven-run second inning.

With the win, Blue Ridge improves its record to 20-4 overall and 8-2 in the Heart of Illinois Conference. The Lady Knights travel to Tremont for a Tuesday conference game.

El Paso-Gridley, meanwhile, falls to 7-14 overall and 1-7 in the conference.

BLUE RIDGE BASEBALL

El Paso-Gridley scored eight runs in the final two innings for a come-from-behind, 10-7 victory over the Knights.

Blue Ridge falls to 7-12 overall and 2-7 in the HOIC.

5/2/11

Blue Ridge Softball Heads into Final Week of Regular Season

For the third consecutive week, the Lady Knights are ranked No. 12 in the Class 1A Illinois Coaches Association poll.

Blue Ridge's record is 19-4 overall and 7-2 in the Heart of Illinois Conference as it starts the final week of the regular season today with a home matchup against El Paso-Gridley.

Three of their losses are to teams within the state of Illinois: Danville Schlarman, Tri-Valley and Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley.

Schlarman is the No. 1-ranked team in Class 1A. Tri-Valley moved up from the No.7 spot to No. 3 in the ICA poll while GCMS is ranked No. 8.

As the Lady Knights enter their final week of the season, here are some of their stat leaders:

Batting

Jordyn Fones: .526 batting average, 21 stolen bases

Marcie Crawford: .446 batting average, 6 home runs, 33 RBIs

Melinda Wilson: .444 batting average, 5 home runs, 28 RBIs

Jordan Wheeler: .431 batting average, 9 home runs, 25 RBIs

Jade O'Neal: .403 batting average, 4 home runs, 21 RBIs

Pitching

Wheeler: 108 innings pitched, 13 wins, 3 losses, 1.30 earned run average, 136 strikeouts

Crawford: 16 innings pitched, 6 wins, 1 loss, 1.83 earned run average, 38 strikeouts

5/1/11

President Barack Obama Announces Osama bin Laden's Capture: Where Were You When you Heard the News?

I was watching the New York Mets play against the Philadelphia Phillies on ESPN's Sunday Night Baseball.

Then I heard the breaking news that Osama bin Laden was killed. I immediately turned the television to ABC for the special news report.

The following picture may shock a few of my readers, who have not seen a beard-free version of my face in a long time.

But in this event of Bin Laden's capture, I figured it would be appropriate to shave my beard.