TERRE HAUTE — Over the years, we at the Tribune-Star have recognized the ability of St. Mary-of-the-Woods College to find softball talent right here in the Wabash Valley.
Not surprisingly, 2008 is no exception to this tradition.
Three of its players are from Vigo County high schools — senior Jessica Ketner (Terre Haute South) and juniors Ashley Sankey (South) and Kea Silcock (West Vigo).
Silcock, a left fielder, leads the team in batting with a .402 average.
“Kea’s finding ways to get on base,” noted Woods coach Gary Rodgers, wrapping up his second season at the helm. “She uses the bunt and she’s learned to perfect that slap over the third baseman’s head… She’s improved tremendously over last year — all around.”
He also offered words of praise for Sankey, a catcher who spent two seasons at Lincoln Trail College before coming to The Woods last fall, and Ketner, a third baseman.
“Ashley’s only had two passed balls this year,” Rodgers pointed out. “She’s only had one person steal on her. She’s a very good defensive catcher. On offense, she’ll surprise you sometimes. She can step up there and hit the gap.
“With Jessica Ketner, there’s probably not another kid on the team who plays with as much heart and dedication. Defensively, she cuts a lot of balls off between her and the pitcher. She’s played hurt a few games but wouldn’t come out of the lineup. Offensively, Jess is coming around with the bat at the right time for us.”
Also contributing to the Pomeroys are senior Ashley Loomis (Riverton Parke), juniors Casey Simmons (Linton) and Whitney Haase (Paris, Ill.), sophomore Amanda McGlone (Robinson, Ill.) and freshmen Chelsea Baker (Shakamak) and Chelsee Gerber (Clay City).
That’s nine out of 15 players on the roster — 60 percent — from the Wabash Valley.
As usual around this time of year, The Woods is preparing to compete in the U.S. Collegiate Athletic Association (USCAA) national tournament.
This season, it’s in Decatur, Ill. It’ll start today with pool play (eight teams divided into two brackets) and continue Saturday with a double-elimination tournament for the top four teams until a champion is crowned.
“We’re going to put our best game on the field and see where that gets us,” Rodgers said of his 28-14-1 Pomeroys, who captured the USCAA title last season.
Loomis is among The Woods’ statistical leaders again, compiling a 17-6 pitching record with two saves while batting .273 with a team-high five home runs and 38 runs batted in.
Ketner, Sankey and Silcock are glad they’re on the same team with Loomis instead of batting against her. “From a catcher’s perspective, she’s very easy to work with,” Sankey noted.
Actually, they like being on the same team with all of the “Valley girls,” even though most of them weren’t teammates in high school.
“I like playing with the local players,” said Ketner, who graduated with a degree in elementary education last Saturday. “I’ve known ’em so long and it’s nice to have that support [from so many family members and friends] locally. The local talent that they get here is awesome.”
“I like getting to play with these girls,” Silcock echoed. “I remember most of them from high school and they were good.”
This isn’t the first time they’ve been teammates, however. Ketner and Silcock were members of the Indiana Stars travel team and they were joined by Sankey on the Ketner & Sons Electric/Wolfe’s Auto Auction travel team another time.
Looking to next year, Rodgers said he’s received commitments from three Valley high school players to continue their softball careers with The Woods.
So even after Ketner and Loomis finish their careers this weekend, the Valley tradition will continue.
“It’s worked out well for me here with the local kids,” Rodgers acknowledged. “We get a lot of support from our local parents. They love to follow their kids. They go to away games with us. They go to every home game.
“I like our local kids. You know that they’ve gone through every phase of softball growing up. They’ve been on good travel teams. They’ve had good coaching.”
But for now, all of their attention is directed at the USCAA tournament.
“We just need to stay mentally focused and get our bats going,” Sankey said.
“We’ve had a long break [from games],” Ketner mentioned. “So we need to go in focused and play hard and take it one inning at a time.”
“We need to go in and play as a team and be supportive of each other,” Silcock added.
Weather permitting, the championship game will start at about 8 p.m. EDT Saturday, with an “if necessary” game to possibly follow at 10.
David Hughes can be reached by phone at 1-800-783-8742, Option 4, or at (812) 231-4224; by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org; or by fax at (812) 231-4321.
TERRE HAUTE — Over the years, we at the Tribune-Star have recognized the ability of St. Mary-of-the-Woods College to find softball talent right here in the Wabash Valley.
- Hughes News & Views
Hughes, News & Views: Odds in favor of Richard Sherman being mentioned here
I’ve explained my post-2011 NFL allegiances before, but allow me to summarize them one more time for any new readers to this column.
I eased into liking the Indianapolis Colts as my favorite team in the late 1980s. Like plenty of other Wabash Valley sports fans, I became Colts-obsessed when Peyton Manning, Reggie Wayne and others turned them into an elite franchise in 1999 and the early 2000s.
When the Colts beat Da Bears 29-17 in Super Bowl XLI on Feb. 4, 2007, I yelled as loud as anyone in Terre Haute.
Hughes, News & Views: The ’78-79 Sycamores rediscover timeless bond
The 1978-79 Indiana State men’s basketball team that posted a 33-1 record and battled Michigan State for the coveted NCAA championship almost 35 years ago isn’t likely to play any more full-court games together, not even just for fun.
Hughes, News & Views: Shaw preparing for 20th season as Rose-Hulman coach
When Rose-Hulman men’s basketball coach Jim Shaw gets introduced to the Hulman Center crowd before Sunday afternoon’s exhibition game against Indiana State, think of the old saying “time flies when you’re having fun.”
Hughes, News & Views: Friends remember Jim Bogle
When I covered the semifinal round of the IHSAA boys tennis sectional at Terre Haute North last week, it seemed like there was an empty seat in the bleachers.
In reality, I noticed few — if any — empty seats because plenty of spectators wanted to watch the host Patriots battle No. 14-ranked Terre Haute South for the right to advance to the next day’s sectional championship match.
In the end, junior Nathan Bogle pulled out a dramatic three-set victory at No. 1 singles to help South edge its crosstown rivals 3-2 on its way to capturing the sectional title.
Yet there was something missing.
The person who would have been in that empty seat I imagined, Nathan’s father Jim Bogle, had been battling cancer for close to two years and could not attend the sectional.
Sadly, cancer claimed his life Thursday morning. He was 52.
Hughes, News & Views: Doug Shouse going into ASU Hall of Honor
One thing you can say about members of Terre Haute’s Shouse family: They never have had a problem with running and jumping.
At least not until knee problems hit.
An outstanding athlete since the days I played pick-up basketball games with him and his brothers in the Terre Haute Boys Club and Indiana State University Arena gyms in the mid to late 1970s, a young Doug Shouse knew how to turn heads with his dunks and athletic fast-break moves against college guys and mediocre players like me.
Hughes, News & Views: Oden picks Miami Heat for site of comeback
At 7 feet tall, former Terre Haute resident Greg Oden stands out in almost any crowd.
So to persuade the increasingly healthy Oden to play during the 2013-14 NBA season — for the first time since Dec. 5, 2009 — a team needed to offer something unique to stand out.
Like, say, a chance at a ring.
Enter the Miami Heat, who have won the last two NBA championships behind the “Big Three” of four-time NBA Most Valuable Player LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.
Hughes, News & Views: Gladiator Games are back Saturday
When I talk to my old weightlifting buddies around the country on the phone, through texts or on Facebook, we frequently reminisce about “the good ol’ days.”
Imagine that — guys over 50 living in the past.
Anyway, I recently discussed with Jim McCarty — who now lives in Daytona Beach, Fla. — about a “Terre Haute’s Strongest Man” contest he organized in the mid-1980s inside the National Guard Armory on Maple Avenue.
Hughes, News & Views: Lure of big payoffs fuels columnist's fantasy football addiction
Gather around, my friends. I think I may need an intervention.
After winning the championship game of our Tribune-Star newsroom free fantasy football league in 2003 — the first time I ever participated in the popular hobby — I became hooked on dominating as many leagues as possible.
Hughes, News & Views: Terre Haute ‘hacker' accomplishes Mark’s Par Three first
It’s no secret that Mark’s Par Three is not the most difficult golf course in Vigo County.
But it’s enjoyable for beginners and golfers of modest skill levels and it doesn’t lack for activity during warm-weather months.
Open since 1964, it’s had its fair share of players test their skills, probably several better than 43-year-old Brian Brown of Terre Haute.
Hughes, News & Views: Pacers, 500, NFL on mind of curious columnist
One previous time, I believe, my annual May questions column ran one day late into June.
Can you forgive me for this being the second time?
With apologies out of the way, below are questions that have been taking up valuable space in my head lately.
Some are serious, some not so much. Most are sports-related, but don’t blame me if a few are not. After all, newspaper sportswriters don’t eat, sleep and breathe sports 24/7 (contrary to what my Lisa might tell you).
Here we go:
• How funny will the reaction of the national media be when the Indiana Pacers knock off the unbeatable Miami Heat tonight and Monday to take the series and head to an NBA Finals showdown with the San Antonio Spurs? Hint: Several ESPN “experts” will need to change their underwear next week.
Hughes, News & Views: Terre Haute runner sets up race to help Boston
Having competed in the Boston Marathon once before in 2003, 35-year-old Majel Wells of Terre Haute thought she should give it another try in 2013.
“My goal was just to finish and enjoy Boston,” she reflected this week. “I had an injury [runner’s knee] beforehand, so I wasn’t too worried about beating my time from 2003 [4 hours, 10.20 seconds].
“But nobody cares about what your time is at Boston anyway.”
From what I’ve heard over the years, she’s right. Unless you’re a super-serious runner, the Boston Marathon has been more about taking in the atmosphere and having fun than placing in the top 50, although Wells was pleased that she beat her previous time by finishing in 3:55.19 on April 15.
Obviously, her race time wasn’t the most vivid memory that Wells took away from her 2013 Boston experience.
Hughes, News & Views: Former South players to play in Saylor benefit game
I had my first phone conversation with Mike Saylor since mid-February on Thursday and he sounded good.
The former Terre Haute South High School boys basketball coach, who’s been battling cancer this year, has been traveling back and forth to the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston for chemotherapy treatments.
Recent South swimmers Roach, Bray heading to DI nationals
I’m sure most of you with office jobs can relate.
When work gets busy, sometimes it’s easy to skim over our emails. After all, how many times do we need to read the same nonsense from alleged Nigerians wanting to make us rich if we’ll send them several thousand dollars first?
So after having three consecutive days off, that almost happened to me when I returned to work Tuesday. Then I realized that the message from Jeff Thompson, Terre Haute South High School’s boys and girls swimming coach, contained significant news.
NCAA Division III basketball tournament returns to Rose-Hulman
The last time Rose-Hulman served as host for the NCAA Division III men’s basketball tournament, its game was played inside an old World War II airplane hangar.
You “old-timers” should know the building I’m talking about and the matchup wasn’t really that long ago — March 6, 1997, to be exact.
DAVID HUGHES: Childhood friends use faith, sports to get them through
When I learned in February 2009 that a rare form of appendix cancer would devastate my life and cause me to miss work for several months, Mike Saylor was among the first to offer assistance.
Book review: Thumbs up for ‘Trophies and Tears’
Now might be too late for giving Christmas presents, but the book “Trophies and Tears: The Story of Evansville and the Aces” is a fascinating read for longtime Indiana basketball fans, particularly those older than 40.
Written by award-winning Kyle Keiderling of Henderson, Nev., and released in hardcover format in mid-December, the 480-page “Trophies and Tears” documents the rich tradition of the University of Evansville men’s basketball program through recent interviews and research of old yearbooks and newspaper/scrapbook clippings.
The book contains many cheery moments — behind-the-scenes details of all five NCAA College Division (now known as Division II) championships won in the 1950s, 1960s and early 1970s by the Purple Aces and their legendary coach Arad McCutchan — although some of those moments don’t seem so cheery from an Indiana State perspective when the Sycamores found themselves on the losing end of scores.
Hughes, News & Views: Wishing for Colts-Broncos playoff matchup from Santa
There’s plenty of tragedy in the world to bring us down if we let it, so let’s have a light-hearted column today — my annual Christmas gift requests for Santa Claus.
I already know one of my gift wishes is becoming less likely to happen. That would be for the Indianapolis Colts to face the Denver Broncos in the AFC playoffs.
Colts' loyalty tested by Manning, Broncos
We’re approaching the halfway point of the NFL season and so far it’s been surprisingly enjoyable.
I wasn’t sure how I would handle following two favorite teams — 1a.) the Indianapolis Colts and 1b.) Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos — but the new arrangement hasn’t caused me any loyalty conflicts yet.
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My name isn’t attached to them, but I’m the one who usually puts together the “Sports on the air” television/radio listings that appear daily on this newspaper’s Scoreboard Page.
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When we last visited 16-year-old Rachel Gutish, she was finishing sixth in the Women’s Enduro X race in the nationally televised Summer X Games at Los Angeles.
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In June 2011, I wrote a feature story about former Indiana State basketball center Mick Yelovich making a name for himself as a golfer on the Long Drivers Association (LDA) Tour.
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I’ve got a longtime buddy who I’m fairly sure rarely, if ever, reads this column.
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Since May 14, Indiana high school basketball fans have wondered why Jim Jones would want to come out of retirement at 74.
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Phones are ringing less frequently in the Tribune-Star sports department this week.
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If Kylie Hutson were a cross-country runner, she’d be approaching the final stretch of her biggest race in about three weeks.
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Bryan Egli and Joe Puthoff, both Rose-Hulman basketball starters I covered in the late 1990s, took their degrees from the prestigious engineering institute and found successful careers in the Indianapolis area.
Egli, also a former West Vigo High School multi-sport standout, lives in Carmel and works for Thieneman Construction in Westfield. Puthoff lives in Indy and works for Rolls Royce Aircraft Engines.
DAVID HUGHES: Super Bowl odds getting stranger and stranger
Today’s annual “Super Bowl odds column” feels special to me because I’ve been a diehard NFL fan since 1967 and next Sunday will be the first time the big game takes place in our great state of Indiana.
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Almost 10 years ago, February 2002 to be exact, the New England Patriots upset the high-powered St. Louis Rams to win Super Bowl XXXVI in New Orleans, the Winter Olympics entertained spectators in Salt Lake City and Terre Haute South High School’s girls basketball team started its tournament run toward a Class 4A state title.
HUGHES NEWS AND VIEWS: Plenty of sports-related gifts for columnist's wish list
Last week, I was all set to beg Santa Claus to give the Indianapolis Colts a certificate good for one NFL regular-season victory.
Then the 2011 Colts decided to play like the 2009 Colts and clobber the Tennessee Titans on Sunday for their first win of the season. So that present won’t be necessary.
HUGHES NEWS AND VIEWS: WTHI defends decision not to show Colts
When your favorite NFL team is threatening to finish 0-16, you have to figure a few fans will jump off the bandwagon.
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