It’s that time again – an evening watching Augustana’s men’s basketball team when they come to town for a conference clash with Illinois Wesleyan. This is always a great rivalry – Wesleyan is rated #25 in the country, and #6 Augustana started the season as the top-ranked team.
Perhaps, it’s more accurate to say I enjoy watching the visiting coach pace the sidelines as the teams battle. Continue Reading
(Bloomington, IL – May 19, 2011) – By the time he threw his first pitch, he’d already prepared the mound for play, something that’s become a regular task for him. This was the start of Jason Pankau’s night, one that would end with a thrilling 3-2 victory on a 1-6-3 double play with two runners on in the 9th inning.
Head coach Dennis Martel was still two blocks away when he heard the final out on the radio and rambled onto the field as the post-game handshakes were concluding. Driving most of the day after attending the funeral of his mother-in-law three state’s away, it was a comforting and fitting ending to Illinois Wesleyan’s first round game in the NCAA Division III Central Regional. He joined his team and engaged them in a “group hug” – quietly celebrating their victory and looking forward to tonight’s matchup.
As a fan, it’s easy to embrace the success the Titans have experienced of late, including the first-ever national baseball championship by a CCIW team in 2010.
Perhaps it wasn’t the greatest game this year, but what’s most important is that the game is played at all.
The annual Horenberger-Bass Classic, a cross-town rivalry between Illinois Wesleyan University (NCAA D3) and Illinois State University (NCAA D1), saw a nice crowd and pleasant although slightly cool evening even if the final score showed the widest margin of victory since the two teams renewed their rivalry in 2004.
With last year’s game losing out to a rain storm, Illinois State made up for lost time and jumped on top early,
leading by a 7-0 count through the first seven and a half innings. During that time, the Redbirds looked every bit the team that is currently leading the Missouri Valley Conference.
But a four run rally by the home team in the bottom of the eighth gave Illinois Wesleyan fans hope, only to see the Titans surrender five runs in the top of the 9th for the final 12-4 outcome. Continue Reading