Faith in each other is biggest factor carrying Loyola to Sweet 16

Without fail after victories, Loyola coach Porter Moser opens his remarks in a way that stays true to the school’s Jesuit mission.

“I first want to say all glory and thankfulness goes to God, he’s been so good to this group, me, this university,’’ Moser said Saturday after his team’s 63-62 NCAA tournament victory over third-seeded Tennessee in Dallas.


Here’s the link at the Chicago Tribune.

Belleville West get first shot at boys basketball title against Class 4A defending champions

Tyrone Slaughter’s early take on Saturday’s Class 4A basketball championship game is that it will be the classic match of David versus Goliath.

But which team is which? His Whitney Young Dolphins or Joe Muniz’s Belleville West Maroons?

“We’ll tell the rest of the story tomorrow,” Slaughter said.

Here’s the link at the Belleville News-Democrat.

Great Twitter reaction to No. 1 Virginia losing and brackets going down in flames

As one would expect, there was a great Twitter reaction to last night’s stunning upset as No. 16 UMBC beats No. 1 Virginia — the first time in NCAA history that a No. 16 has beaten a top seed.

Here’s the Twitter feed at Sports Daily.

Bracket Disaster: UMBC makes history with stunning upset of No. 1 Virginia

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Jairus Lyles couldn’t suppress a smile, knowing that a school known more for chess than hoops had finally made it happen — a 16 ousting a 1 in March Madness.

Here’s the link to the story.

Baseball Salukis to host No. 24 Illinois in weekend series


#24 ILLINOIS (9-4) at SOUTHERN ILLINOIS (8-9) // March 17-18, 2018 // Carbondale, Ill. (Weather) // Itchy Jones Stadium (2,000 // Turf) // SIU Game Notes PDF

Southern Illinois hosts No. 24-ranked Illinois for a three game series this weekend at Itchy Jones Stadium. The teams will play a noon doubleheader on Saturday and a single game at 1 p.m. on Sunday. 

GAME 1 – Saturday, March 17 // 12 p.m. // ESPN3 | Live Stats

SIU RHP Michael Baird (1-1, 2.42 ERA, 26.0 IP)
ILL RHP Quinn Snarskis (1-0, 2.70 ERA, 20.0 IP)

GAME 2 – Saturday, March 17 // 3 p.m. // ESPN3 | Live Stats

SIU LHP Jamison Steege (1-1, 3.42 ERA, 23.2 IP)
ILL LHP Andy Fisher (1-0, 3.20 ERA, 19.2 IP)

GAME 3 – Sunday, March 18 // 1 p.m. // ESPN3 | Live Stats

SIU LHP Brad Harrison (3-0, 1.12 ERA, 24.0 IP)
ILL RHP Ty Weber (2-1, 3.63 ERA, 22.1 IP)


  • Southern Illinois hosts No. 24 Illinois for a three-game series at Itchy Jones Stadium this weekend.
  • SIU leads the all-time series, 38-36. The Salukis won two of three against Illinois each of the last two seasons.
  • Illinois is ranked No. 24 in the Baseball America poll and No. 25 by Collegiate Baseball.
  • SIU went 3-4 against ranked teams last year; SIU swept No. 26 Tennessee Tech and lost all four games (one in the MVC Tournament) against Missouri State.
  • Connor Kopach (.431) and Alex Lyon (.410) are the top two hitters in the MVC. Kopach is the national leader in stolen bases with 15.
  • Brad Harrison is expected to make his first weekend start of the season on Sunday. Harrison earned back-to-back MVC Pitcher of the Week awards after throwing shutouts at Belmont (Feb. 27) and at SEMO (March 6).
  • Harrison has an active streak of 20 consecutive innings without allowing an earned run.
  • SIU ranks third nationally with 49 stolen bases. In the last seven games, SIU is 28-for-32 (87.5 percent) stealing bases.
  • In NCAA Division I, Kopach ranks first in stolen bases, fourth in hits, and sixth in runs scored.


  • The Southern Illinois baseball team hosts No. 24 Illinois for a three-game series on March 17-18.
  • Due to forecasted rain, Friday’s series opener was postponed to a Saturday doubleheader, starting at noon.
  • SIU has won two of three over Illinois in each of the last two seasons. In the last 10 meetings, the teams are 5-5.
  • Illinois head coach Dan Hartleb is an SIU alumnus and played for Itchy Jones at SIU.
  • Former SIU head coach Itchy Jones, for whom the Saluki baseball stadium is named, also coached at Illinois and won 474 games for the Illini.
  • When Itchy Jones Stadium was dedicated in 2014, the first-ever series at the new park was against Illinois. The Illini won the first game, but the Salukis won the series.


  • SIU has stolen 49 bases in 17 games. Southern’s 49 steals rank third in the nation.
  • In the last seven games, SIU is 28-for-32 stealing (87.5 percent).
  • Connor Kopach leads the nation with 15 stolen bases.
  • Four of the top six base stealers in the MVC are Salukis: Kopach (1st), Nikola Vasic (t-2nd), Addison Fugitt (t-4th) and Alex Lyon (t-4th).
  • The MVC’s second-best base stealing team, Bradley, has 21 stolen bases. SIU has 49.
  • Last year, SIU stole 100 bases, which led the MVC by 42 and ranked 14th nationally. This year, SIU is on pace (2.88 stolen bases per game) to eclipse 150 stolen bases.
  • The school record for stolen bases is 139 by the 1971 College World Series runners-up, coached by Itchy Jones.


  • Southern Illinois lefty Brad Harrison is scheduled to make his first weekend start of the year on Sunday. Harrison earned the spot with a 1.12 ERA over four mid-week starts.
  • Harrison has earned the MVC Pitcher of the Week award in each of the last two weeks. He pitched a two-hit shutout at Belmont (Feb. 27) and followed that up with eight shutout innings at SEMO (March 6).
  • Harrison enters the weekend with an active streak of 20 consecutive innings without allowing an earned run. His streak of 19 consecutive scoreless innings was snapped Tuesday after two SIU errors in the second inning gave Arkansas State three runs.
  • During Harrison’s 19-inning scoreless string…
    • Opponents were 4-for-61 against him (.066)
    • 27 strikeouts, 2 walks


Salukis softball downs Skyhawks in Blaylock’s 1,000th game

Salukis down UT Martin in Blaylock’s 1,000th game

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Loyola University Chicago
3/17/2018 | 12:00 p.m.

A good pitching performance from senior Savanna Dover bolstered the Salukis to a victory over UT-Martin in the first mid-week game of the season.
“We played pretty well today apart from a little mix-up in the first inning,” head coach Kerri Blaylock said. “I thought Savanna Dover settled down and threw a really good ball game. I thought we hit the ball hard all day. The wind was blowing in a little bit so we couldn’t get anything to go out. We just hung in there until the end.”
The Salukis opened the scoring in the top of the first when sophomore Katelyn Massa singled up the middle to score fellow sophomore Maddy Vermejan from second.
The Skyhawks answered in the bottom of the first when Dover committed her one glaring mistake of the game when she threw the ball into right field while trying to throw out a runner at first. Another throwing error on the play allowed UT-Martin’s leadoff hitter to score and tie the game at 1-1.
Dover settled down after the rocky first inning. She allowed just two hits and a walk until being taken out of the game in the sixth inning.
For as good as Dover was, Martin’s starter Caitlin Karo matched her. Karo threw five-straight shutout innings and kept her team in the game until the top of the seventh when Massa struck again to score Vermejan from second for the go-ahead run.
“Coming in [Karo] had below a 2.00 ERA,” Blaylock said. “I felt really good getting a couple of earned runs off of her. We finished it off.”
Junior Brianna Jones earned the win to improve to 12-1 on the season. Jones struck out two in 1.1 innings pitched.
Massa generated all of the Salukis runs in the game by bookending the game with RBI hits to score Vermejan. Massa was 4-4 on the day with 2 RBI. Vermejan was 1-3 with two runs scored.
“Kate and Maddy had a great day today along with our pitching,” Blaylock said. “Massa was really, really good today and I’m really proud of her.”
The win came in Blaylock’s 1,000th game of her career. She is Southern’s all-time leader in wins with 642 and one of two coaches in the program’s history.
With the win, the Salukis improved to 14-9 on the season. It was Southern’s seventh win in 10 games and the fourth out of its last five games. Looking forward, the Salukis take their momentum into the start of the MVC season when they hosts Loyola for three games at Charlotte West Stadium.
“If we continue to clean up our defensive mistakes, I feel like we’re in pretty good shape,” Blaylock said.
The Salukis play Loyola in a doubleheader on Saturday starting at noon.

Lady Vols sweep Frontier

By Katie Sandusky 

FAIRFIELD – The Lady Vols returned back to action today at Frontier College in Fairfield Illinois.  Game one had Sydney Levan on the mound. She allowed 2 runs on 4 hits in seven innings.

The Vols bats came alive in the 5th inning with back to back homeruns by Taja Dedecker and Lynnsay Wilson. Mikayla Chamness added 3 doubles of her own to help with the cause. Lexi Childers and a Taylor Rogers each chipped in two hits a piece.  Winning game one 9-2.

Bailey Anderson took the mound in game 2 for the Vols. Anderson gave up only 1 hit through 3 solid innings not allowing a run and picking up the win.  Alyssa Wright entered in relief and gave up two runs in her two innings of work.

Coach Orsburn-Siefert was very pleased with her pitching staff today with everyone contributing.

On the offensive side in game two, Lexi Childers lead the way by going 4-4, 3 RBI, and a stolen base. Taja Dedecker racked up a double and a total of 7 RBI’s on the day.  Lynnsay Wilson added two hits and 4 RBI in game two as well as Mikayla Chamness tallying another double and single in game two.  Ally Vaughn scattered two hits with 2’RBI in game two. Winning game two 16-2 in 5 innings.

Coach Orsburn-Siefert stated that she was pleased with the offensive production throughout the entire line up 1-9.  She believes her young team is beginning to compete better and just hopes Mother Nature begins to cooperate so the team and continue to “gel”!  She states that they are fun to watch when they are focused and that just comes with playing time.

Peyton Wilhoit earns fifth MVC Golfer of the Week award


ST LOUIS, MO – For the fourth time this year and the fifth time in his career, Southern Illinois men’s golfer Peyton Wilhoit has earned the Missouri Valley Conference Golfer of the Week award.

A junior from Searcy, Arkansas, Wilhoit placed third this week at the South Florida Invitational at 3-over par. It marked the fourth-straight tournament in which he has placed in the top 10 on the leader board, including a 10th-place showing at the Wyoming Intercollegiate, first at the Kennesaw State Intercollegiate, and taking fifth place at the LSU Intercollegiate. He is 13-under par combined during the four-tournament stretch.

The Salukis will play three more tournaments this spring — the William & Mary Intercollegiate, Arkansas State Intercollegiate and Purdue Invitational — before hosting the MVC Championships at Dalhousie Golf Club in Cape Girardeau, Missouri on April 23-24.

Diamond Notes: Raubach strikes out 11 for Johnston City

Reed Raubach on the mound last year at Illinois College. (SI Prospects U photo)

By Steve Dunford 

The Benton Rangers started the season 0-2 as they drop the opener to DuQuoin 3-1 Monday and fall to Carterville 10-2 yesterday.

The Lions held the Rangers to two hits.  Tyler Butler led the offense with a triple, Hamilton Page doubled, and Brett Bonneberger  had an RBI.

Reed Raubach in his Johnston City Indian debut, pitched five innings and struck out 11 in an 8-0 victory over Carrier Mills on Monday.   Hunter Woodring went 2-3 for at the Plate driving in four, and Dylan Fisher went 2-3 for the Indians.

Thompsonville is co-oping with Johnston City and there are several from T’ville on the roster.

Here is how I am going to cover baseball and softball this year, I am going to write daily summaries like this for baseball and softball.  If it is two Franklin County schools against each other, I will write a full story, including a full box score if I have the information.

Please send me a message on Facebook, email me at, or tag me on your teams page.  If you enter stats in on MaxPreps, that will help.

Baseball and softball is tough to keep up, with teams playing five or six days a week.  It might take me two or three days to play catch up.

I will try to provide the best coverage possible for Zeigler-Royalton Christopher, Waltonville-Sesser-Valier, Benton, West Frankfort, Galatia-Thompsonville in softball, and Johnston City in baseball.



Marion’s season ends at the Super-Sectional to Springfield Southeast

MARION –  The Marion Wildcats make it to the Elite Eight as they defeated Springfield Southeast 56-51.  Justin Saddoris led the Wildcats with 13, Terell Henderson and Jadon Lacy added 10.

Marion Coach Gus Gillespe told Scott Mees of the Southern Illinoisan,  “It wasn’t one of our better performances, but maybe you give Southeast credit for the way they do things defensively. The part of the game I’d like to get back was the first quarter. I should have gotten us out of our defense earlier.”