The MacArthur baseball team recently held a raffle, but first-year coach Kevin Hale wanted to do more than just raise money for the team.
The Generals donated $200 of the money they raised to Growing Strong — a charity serving Macon, Piatt, Moultrie, Shelby and DeWitt counties that offers free and confidential help to adult and child victims of sexual assault, sexual abuse and dating
Hale, who is also raising money for Growing Strong through his Advanced Placement Psychology class at Eisenhower, likes to pick organizations that not a lot of people know about.
“The kids in my psych class were nominating different organizations and one of my students, Melissa Tallent, brought up Growing Strong,” Hale said. “No one knew anything about it, so we did some research and found out it was a legitimate organization.
“We happened to be starting our fundraiser for baseball, and I’m believer if we’re going to raise funds, we shouldn’t just make it about ourselves. We should also help the community. Plus, I thought it was a good chance to make the kids aware of the psychological ramifications of sexual violence, and it also helps bring awareness to Growing Strong. It’s a great organization.”
Braves’ pleasant surprise
Derek Flaugher was an unsung hero for Mount Zion last season. Pitching in the Braves’ non-conference games, he went 5-1 with a 1.96 ERA.
But Flaugher wasn’t much of an offensive weapon, batting .267 in 30 at-bats.
Flaugher entered this season as the Braves’ No. 1 pitcher, but not much was expected from him at the plate. Flaugher, though, has been the Braves’ best hitter 10 games into the season. Through Friday, he was batting .654 (17-for-26) and has
Last year, Flaugher drove in six runs all season.
“It’s been totally unexpected, but very nice to have,” Mount Zion coach Matt Smith said. “It’s going to be very tough for him to keep it at that pace, but to have him swinging the bat like that has been a nice luxury to start the season.”
Smith said an adjustment assistant coach B.J. Rotz suggested to Flaugher has helped him become more effective as a hitter.
“Derek originally held his hands higher, so B.J. had him lower his hands so his first move would be back instead of dropping them,” Smith said.
Cardinals back on track?
Last year’s 11-18 record was the worst in Warrensburg-Latham coach Zach Campbell 14 years as softball coach. So far at least, it looks like this will be a bounce-back season.
Though the Cardinals lost to 13-0 to Williamsville — one of the best programs in the state — on Thursday, they’re 8-3 through their first 11 games.
But Campbell is careful not to anoint this as a turnaround yet.
“I’m pleased, and I’m excited about how quickly a lot of the sophomores who played last year as freshmen have progressed — they’re making plays they didn’t make last year,” Campbell said. “But the biggest thing we talk about is avoiding slippage. Last year we got off to a nice start, but then we went on a big slump where we struggled to finish games. We’d give up six runs in an inning where if we’d made a play, we would have held it to two.”
Campbell said improvement by sophomores Katherine Hoppe and Kaylee Shampine, as well as several underclassmen at the bottom of the order been the difference.
“Up and down the lineup, everyone has been hitting,” Campbell said. “We’re not a team that’s going to hold our opponents scoreless, so we need to make enough plays to stay in the game and let our offense keep us in it. We just have to continue to limit damage and not fall back into last year’s habits.”
As expected, the Maroa-Forsyth softball team has picked up where last year’s team left off.
The Trojans improved to 7-0 after Friday’s 15-3 win against Hartsburg-Emdem, following up last year’s 25-1 season. Maroa has now won 33 straight regular season games. The Trojans’ last regular season loss was a 7-0 defeat by St. Joseph-Ogden on May 7, 2011, at the Central Illinois Softball Showcase at the Borg Warner softball complex.
Including the postseason, Maroa is 38-2 in its last 40 games overall.
Teutopolis may not have won its third straight state title last year, but the Wooden Shoes remain the area’s best baseball program.
T-Town is 11-1 to start this season and ranked 18th in the Prep Baseball Report’s Illinois team rankings. That’s the highest ranking of any Class 2A team. The Shoes are the only area team mentioned in the rankings.
Dilley headed to Augustana
Pana senior Nic Dilley has announced he will attend and play football at Augustana College in Rock Island.
Dilley was a two-time All-South Central Conference selection at Pana. He played running back last season, and though his season was cut short by an elbow injury, he still managed 532 yards and seven touchdowns on 65 carries in six games. Defensively he played end, linebacker and safety in his career.
Augustana is an NCAA Division III school that plays in the College Conference of Illinois Wisconsin (CCIW). The Vikings went 5-5 last