Blue Ridge Softball Coaches, Players Have One Last Fun Day on the Diamond

NORMAL, Ill. -- Before Myron Schroeder (and assistant coach Aimee Thacker) could walk off into retirement...

...before Jade O'Neal and Marcie Crawford could move on to their college careers at ICC and Coe College, respectively...

...they still had one more game to coach/play: The Pantagraph's Area vs. Intercity All-Star Game at Champion Fields.

Playing/coaching alongside players/coaches with whom they have played against in the past (including Tri-Valley coach Jim Suiter and players Kendall Gher and Ashley Reynolds), Blue Ridge's chosen ones represented the Area team in this game.

"It was fun," O'Neal said. "I know Kendall."

"I think the camaraderie is tremendous," Schroeder said. "They've all played against each other for so long, and now they get to play together. They played well together, I thought."

Going into the bottom of the fourth inning, the Area team played well enough to lead 3-2. A grand slam, however, gave Intercity a lead it would not surrender en route to a 10-5 victory.

Trailing the Intercity team 9-5 in the top of the eighth inning, Area had a chance to score some big runs with the bases loaded and nobody out. Neither runner scored, however.

"We just didn't score enough runs, but other than that, I thought we did well," Schroeder said. "The momentum, when they hit that grand slam, went their way and not ours, and we never got that key hit that we needed when we got the bases loaded."

O'Neal finished the game batting 1-for-2, hitting a single to left-center field in the top of the second. Crawford went 0-for-2.

Despite the loss, however, O'Neal and Schroeder said they had fun playing and were honored to be selected for the All-Star Game.

"The girls had fun, and that's the important thing," Schroeder said. "I had fun. People don't realize I always have fun."

"It's a good accomplishment [to be asked to play here]," O'Neal said. "I am honored to be here. We ended on a good note."

For Schroeder, it was his fourth time coaching at the game and his first as a head coach.

"It's an honor anytime you get to [coach in the All-Star Game], especially as a head coach," Schroeder said. "It's an honor to organize and to get a lot of the kids in the game and to see their enthusiasm. That's the fun thing about it."

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