Steven Anderson signs with MacMurray to play baseball

by Steve Dunford 

Anderson on the mound in a recent Z-R-C game with Trico. (Randall Risley photo)

Anderson on the mound in a recent Z-R-C game with Trico. (Randall Risley photo)

Steven Anderson signed a letter of intent to play baseball for MacMurray College yesterday.  The Zeigler-Royalton senior has put together a great season for the Z-R-C Tornadoes behind the plate, on the mound, and especially at the plate.  His batting average has been hovering around the .500 mark all year.

Anderson is the second Franklin County backstop to sign with the Highlanders.  He will be join West Frankfort catcher Peyton Overturf playing in Jacksonville next year.

.I had a conversation with Anderson yesterday and asked why he chose MacMurray. He said, ” I was weighing my options for a while to see all the offers I was getting. However, MacMurray stood out far more than any others by their superb offer and drive to get me to go to school in Jacksonville.”

I also asked him what does it feel like the chance to play at the next level.  First he mentioned  was his High School Basketball Coach Matt Morgan who taught him to handle adversity.  Throughout the conversation, he said that Coach Morgan has served as a role model to me, and taught him to be a man.

I had several conversations with Coach Morgan over the last couple of years he always said that Anderson would go far in life whatever he does.

I did not know this until talking with Steven yesterday.  He lost his mom when he was twelve.  Steven told me that he has dedicated all he does in athletics to his mother.  He went on to say that she is his inspiration.   I know Matt Morgan lost his father at an early age as well.  That is what inspired the coach to approach super fan Randall Risley to start Coaches vs. Cancer.

Risley ran with it, and Z-R for a school for a high school with an enrollment around 150, they lead the nation in a lot of national categories.  Double R (it is Tom Wheeler’s fault that I call him this) has been very gracious in letting me share Z-R pictures over the years.

He also mentioned how his baseball coach Page Kirkpatrick pushed him to be a better player and opened doors for him to get a scholarship.

He said how Z-R-C assistant baseball coach Scotty Clark would help him with drills a lot of times at five in the morning to improve.

He also mentioned C-Z-R football coach Josh McCurren, who has been a stability in the four years he put on the pads for the Bearcats.  He also bragged about an offensive lineman that wore #53 that was a good team mate of his and a better person.  That made his dad very proud.

Anderson was an all Black Diamond running back for the Bearcats in football.  I was able to see about half of their games.  They would be down 30-0 and he played like the score was 14-14.

During basketball season Z-R did not have a lot of wins.  The Tornadoes took the Elite Eight Woodlawn Cardinals to the wire during the Sesser-Valier Holdiay Tournament, beat a very good Webber Township team, beat an Elverado team that was the surprise of Southern Illinois, and gave Goreville and Christopher all they wanted late in the season.  They were in a loaded BDC West this year.  He was their point guard, and the glue to the team.

I had this conversation with Matt Morgan during the season.  If the Tornadoes were in the SEC or GEC, playing schools more to their enrollment size they would have been one of the top teams in the conference.  This current group of seniors will set the tone for some talent that is coming up for Z-R in the underclassmen and at the junior high level.

The Tornadoes have had another successful year on the diamond.  They will be in contention for another regional crown.  There is a link (that I forgot how to get to) with Z-R-C stats to get his exact batting average.  It seems like every box score line score, or any post on social media about a game he is going 2-4 or 3-5.

This is my second season of covering high school sports.  There are certain kids you develop soft spots for.  Steven Anderson is one.  Not only has his gutsy, hard work paid off to play baseball at the next level, he is an outstanding young man.

I will be following and looking forward to the great things you will do in the next four years at Jacksonville.







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