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The daily pitch from Sports Editor Matt Daniels: March 29, 2024

Mar. 29—Three reasons we love sports today

➜ 1. Congrats to a pair of Rantoul athletes. Eli Reichenbach of the Eagles' baseball team and Addy Sherrick of the Eagles' softball team are the latest N-G High School Athletes of the Week, powered by Copper Creek Contractors. Read more about the duo in Monday's paper.

➜ 2. Congrats on a decorated coaching career to Tim Lavin. The Centennial boys' basketball coach is retiring after 22 seasons leading the Chargers (more, C-4). He won 404 games and a 2009 Class 3A state title for the school located off Crescent Drive in Champaign.

➜ 3. After two successful seasons at Chattanooga, Crescent City native Shawn Poppie is the new Clemson women's basketball coach. Well done.

Career wins for Scott Nagy (right). The 1984 Centennial graduate and son of former Illini men's basketball assistant coach Dick Nagy is heading back to the Land of Lincoln. This time as the Southern Illinois men's basketball coach after the school announced it on Thursday. Nagy has spent the past eight seasons at Wright State after previously coaching for eight seasons at South Dakota State. He has never had a losing season and has led five teams to the NCAA tournament.

➜ 1. Penn State at Illinois baseball. Chance for the Illini (11-12, 2-1 Big Ten) to get back to .500 on the season Friday night in the three-game series opener against the Nittany Lions (13-9, 1-2) at Illinois Field. Illinois has won four of its last five.

➜ 2. Minnesota at Illinois softball. Two days after Paige Berkmeyer became the first Illini to hit three home runs in a game in a 19-9 win on Wednesday against SIUE, the Illini (13-16, 0-2 Big Ten) hosts Minnesota (15-15, 1-2) at 5 p.m. Friday to start a three-game series at Eichelberger Field.

➜ 3. Colorado vs. Iowa women's basketball. Will the Caitlin Clark show continue past this weekend? Find out at 2:30 p.m. Saturday in a Sweet 16 game in Albany, N.Y.

Three questions with Bismarck-Henning/Rossville-Alvin softball coach Lindsey Andrews. The 2016 BHRA graduate and former multi-sport standout is in her first season coaching at her alma mater, with the Blue Devils scheduled to play Friday and Saturday in the Rantoul Tournament:

➜ 1. My favorite sports team is ... the St. Louis Cardinals.

➜ 2. Three coaches I'd like to have dinner with are ... Mike Candrea, Patty Gasso and Heather Tarr.

➜ 3. My biggest pet peeve is ... when players don't believe in themselves.