Piatt's OT: Congrats to our IBCA Coaches of the Year

Apr. 27—I've noticed something through the first handful of weeks of the spring sports season that I absolutely love, and it's how some of our area teams celebrate players' performances.

I played baseball for a very old-school coach — shoutout Brummy — at Northrop High School in Fort Wayne, Ind., and his way of congratulating his players for a job well done was a nod right after it happened and maybe a quick pat on the back later.

I was a speedy leadoff batter, and the running joke on the team was I could never hit a home run. Unfortunately, I never proved them wrong, but I imagine that if I did ever hit one over the fence, Brummy would simply shake my hand as I rounded third base. If I was lucky, maybe he'd crack a smile. Love that man to death.

That said, some of the stuff I'm seeing around here is awesome.

The Watseka baseball and softball teams award a big chain with a giant, bedazzled "W" hanging on the end to the Player of the Game, and they give out "Web gem" pins to players who make big plays in the field.

The Champaign Central girls' soccer team crowns its Player of the Game an abnormally large hat.

The Westville baseball team's Offensive Player of the Game dons a tiger-print fur coat, and the Defensive Player of the Game wears an orange construction hard hat with a tiger paw print on the side.

And for breaking program records, the Villa Grove track and field team gives out ... well, I'm not totally sure what it is. Some sort of a circular keepsake with the Blue Devils' logo on it. Regardless, still cool.

It's been awesome seeing good performances get recognized in such unique ways, and I'm looking forward to learning all the other ways our area teams give props to their athletes.

A look back

IBCA announces Coaches of the Year, Academic All-State teams

A total of 11 area coaches received Coach of the Year honors, released this past Tuesday, from the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association. The six boys' recipients included Tuscola's Justin Bozarth (Class 1A, District 13), Arcola's Greg Gisinger (Class 1A, District 13), St. Joseph-Ogden's Kiel Duval (Class 2A, District 13), Unity's Matt Franks (Class 2A, District 13), Bismarck-Henning/Rossville-Alvin's Gary Tidwell (Class 2A, District 13) and Clinton's Vic Binkley (Class 2A, District 15).

Bozarth led the Warriors to a 28-6 record and regional title. Gisinger led the Purple Riders to a 27-7 record and sectional championship appearance. Duval led the Spartans to a 27-7 record and sectional final appearance. Franks led the Rockets to a 26-5 record and regional title. Tidwell led the Blue Devils to a 30-4 record and regional title. Binkley led the Maroons to a 28-5 record and regional championship appearance.

The five girls' winners were Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley's Ross Harden (Class 1A, District 13), Cissna Park's Anthony Videka (Class 1A, District 13), Salt Fork's Brian Russell (Class 1A, District 13), Tuscola's Tim Kohlbecker (Class 1A, District 13) and Watseka's Barry Bauer (Class 2A, District 13).

Harden led the Falcons to a 23-10 record and sectional final appearance. Videka led the Timberwolves to a 27-8 record and super-sectional appearance. Russell led the Storm to a 28-6 record and sectional championship appearance. Kohlbecker led his Warriors to a 28-3 record and regional title. Bauer led his Warriors to a 27-5 record and sectional final appearance.

The IBCA also announced this past season's Academic All-State team award winners last Friday. Westville won first place in Division 5 for boys' teams, and Arcola, Clinton, Rantoul and Tuscola earned an honorable mention. Paxton-Puckley-Loda won first place in District 5 for girls' teams, with Arcola taking third and Arthur-Lovington-Atwood-Hammond, Salt Fork, St. Thomas More, Cissna Park, Ridgeview, LeRoy, Rantoul, Unity, Tuscola, Urbana, Uni High and Watseka earning honorable mentions.

A look ahead

50 years of Bulldog softball

Mahomet-Seymour is celebrating 50 years of the softball program during the Bulldogs' home game against Bloomington Central Catholic at 5 p.m. next Friday, May 3. If the game happens to get rained out, the celebration will take place the following Saturday, May 4, during a home doubleheader against Mattoon.

Commemorative shirts, hoodies and crewnecks are available online. Head out to Mahomet next week to support a team that's been going strong since 1974.


Brevyn Whisman, Arcola baseball

Hit two home runs with a double and four RBI in the Purple Riders' 17-2 win over Cumberland on April 17.

Kami Muehling, Milford/Cissna Park softball

Pitched a four-inning no-hitter with six strikeouts in the Bearcats' 15-0 win over Schlarman on April 17.

Cole Wilson, LeRoy baseball

Capped his three-hit day with a walk-off RBI single in the bottom of the seventh inning to give the Panthers an 8-7 win over El Paso-Gridley on April 17.

Hayden Chew, Salt Fork baseball

Drove in the game-winning run in the bottom of the seventh inning after pitching 3 1/3 scoreless innings in relief to help the Storm beat Watseka 6-5 on April 18.

Halle Brazelton, Addie Roesch and Peyton Williams, St. Joseph-Ogden volleyball

Signed their letters of intent to continue their volleyball careers in college on April 19. Brazelton and Williams will be playing at Danville Area Community College, and Roesch will play at Parkland College.

Lenny Sementi, Tuscola softball

Won his 500th career game as the Warriors' coach with their 10-8 win over Sullivan on April 19.

Bryson Capansky, Oakwood/Salt Fork wrestling

Signed his letter of intent to continue his wrestling career at Cornell College while majoring in physical education on April 19.

Abby Sabalaskey, Westville softball

Recorded her 900th career strikeout with a six-inning, 16-strikeout performance to help the Tigers beat Armstrong-Potomac 13-1 on April 19.

Gavin Bailey, Mahomet-Seymour baseball

Hit two home runs with five RBI in the Bulldogs' 15-5 win over Taylorville on April 19.

Madden Schurvinske, Centennial baseball

Went 5 for 5 with a home run, double and four RBI in the Chargers' 9-6 win over Champaign Central on April 18.

Luke Landrus, St. Joseph-Ogden baseball

Pitched a four-inning no-hitter with 10 strikeouts while going 3 for 4 at the plate with a triple, double and three RBI in the Spartans' 15-0 win over Chillicothe IVC on April 20.

Gentry Elson, Bismarck-Henning/Rossville-Alvin softball

Hit two home runs with three RBI and three runs scored in the Blue Devils' 18-7 win over Clifton Central on April 20.

Ella Myers, Bismarck-Henning/Rossville-Alvin softball

Had one of the best three-day stretches at the plate you'll see, leading the Blue Devils to three wins. On Thursday night, she went 3 for 3 with a grand slam, double and seven RBI. Friday, she was 3 for 4 with a home run, triple, four RBI and three runs scored. Saturday, she went 5 for 5 with three homers, a double and seven RBI.

Zoe Goodreau, Centennial softball

Pitched a perfect game in the Chargers' 10-0 win over Peoria on April 20.

Josiah Hortin, Tuscola boys' track and field

Broke his own Warrior record in the mile with a winning time of 4 minutes, 17.19 seconds on April 20 at Distance Night in Palatine.

Carson Maroon, St. Joseph-Ogden boys' track and field

Broke his own Spartans' record in the mile with a sixth-place time of 4 minutes, 20.14 seconds on April 20 at Distance Night in Palatine.

Taylor Chattic, Watseka softball

Belted a walk-off home run in the bottom of the seventh inning to give the Warriors an 8-7 win over Hoopeston Area last Monday.

Maddie Barnes, Hoopeston Area softball

Hit two home runs and a double with three RBI in the Cornjerkers' 8-7 loss to Watseka on Monday.

Addison Finet and Monticello girls' soccer

Finet scored four goals in the Sages' 6-0 win over Arthur Christian on Monday. Her performance gave her 33 goals for the season, a Monticello single-season record. The win was Monticello's 15th of the year, another single-season program record.

Jaydah Arrowsmith, Oakwood girls' basketball

Signed her letter of intent to continue her basketball career at Danville Area Community College on Tuesday.

Bailey Luebchow, Paxton-Buckley-Loda girls' track and field

Signed her letter of intent to continue her track and field career at Northern Kentucky University on Tuesday.