By Joey Bennett
Special to the Tribune-Star
TERRE HAUTE —
Eighty Wabash Valley natives are playing collegiate softball and baseball this spring, while another 11 serve as college coaches.
Of those athletes, 48 play baseball and 32 play softball.
Highlight performers so far include Terre Haute South grad Koby Kraemer, who leads Indiana State in hitting; Owen Valley’s Craig Roberts, who leads Indiana-Southeast in hitting; Northview’s Emily Phillips, who paces Olney Central in hitting; Riverton Parke’s Megan Vincent, the second-leading hitter for Wabash Valley College; and Terre Haute North grad Kelsey Rosselli, who paces St. Mary-of-the-Woods in hitting.
The collegiate baseball coaches are all former Division I performers:
• Shakamak grad Tyler Rehmel, an assistant at his junior college alma mater of Lincoln Trail, who played at Eastern Kentucky.
• Casey-Westfield’s D.J. Throneburg, in his first year as pitching coach at Butler, who pitched at Charleston Southern.
• A pair of former left-handed pitchers from Terre Haute North in Scott Lawson (Georgia) and Max Hutson (Wichita State), who are assistant coaches at Rose-Hulman and Indiana State, respectively.
The softball coaches also bring a lot of experience to their teams:
• Casey-Westfield’s Sandy Montgomery is in her 23rd season as head coach at Southern Illinois-Edwardsville and has surpassed the 800 mark in career wins. She led SIU-E to the Division II national title in 2007, and has guided the team into making the transition to Division I this year.
• Terre Haute North grad Megan Ciolli, a former Miss Softball and Notre Dame standout, is in her third year as an assistant at Northern Illinois.
• Lincoln Trail is guided by two area natives, head coach Ashley Gordon of Hutsonville and assistant Jamie Lytle of Robinson.
• Riverton Parke grad Ashley Loomis-Organ is an assistant coach at her collegiate alma mater.
• South Vermillion grad Brian Shearer is in his eighth season as head coach at Rose-Hulman.
• Casey native Mark Brayfield is the newest of the members of this group, in his first season coaching the Illinois College softball team. A former standout pitcher himself, Brayfield started the softball program at Robert Morris University in 2003 and led RMU to the USCAA national title three years later. He posted a record of 62-12 in three years as head coach at Springfield Sacred Heart-Griffin High School, leading the Lady Cyclones to a super-sectional appearance in 2008. In 2010, Brayfield served as an assistant coach/pitching coach at the University of Illinois Springfield.
Brayfield attended Lincoln Trail College and was a member of the school’s baseball team (one year) and tennis team (two years). He was a pitcher for the 10-time ASA national champion Clearwater (Fla.) Bombers and was a member of the Springfield (Ill.) Brandt’s team that won a state championship in 1984.
Brayfield is employed as a registered nurse in cardiology at Memorial Medical Center in Springfield, and he is currently pursuing a degree in sports management at California University in Pennsylvania.
• More familiar names – Several other familiar names popped up in scouring the World Wide Web for information.
Former Terre Haute resident Bill Galloway, who won more than 900 games as head softball coach at Louisiana Tech and Texas A&M, is still active as an assistant coach at East Texas Baptist University. He was a standout shortstop on the fastpitch softball scene and played locally for a couple of summers with the Gran-Ma Joy’s team.
Shortly after retiring following a 20-year run as head coach at Louisiana Tech, Coach Galloway joined the ETBU staff in 2003 as a part-time assistant coach. He continued to work with the program’s pitchers and in general off and on through the 2007 season.
Other names of note include former Indiana State baseball assistant Matt Kennedy, head coach at Parkland College; former Indiana State pitching coach Ken Westray, assistant coach at the University of Illinois; and former Casey-Westfield Coach Katie O’Connell, an assistant softball coach at her alma mater of Illinois.
Joey Bennett is a former Tribune-Star sports reporter and copy editor who now teaches at Northview High School in Brazil. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.