As the ending of baseball games go, this was unique.
Trailing 9-5 with two outs in the bottom of the ninth, local favorite Illinois Wesleyan University mounted an improbable rally against North Central College that led to one of the more bizarre endings to a baseball game I’ve ever witnessed.
Enter Matt “the Cat” Adams. The long-time “assistant director of baseball operations” at Illinois Wesleyan, as he is referred to by public address announcer Ed Moore, Matt has been known to put an occasional hex on an opposing pitcher.
I sat on this one for a week or two, but it’s an interesting story to accompany the photos.
On his annual visit to Illinois Wesleyan, Augustana basketball coach Grey Giovanine was his usual volatile self, whining for every call. But he sunk to a new low this year. A little verbal jockeying towards IWU’s Victor Davis early in the game was met with a response by the player. In short, Grey muttered something like “let him shoot, we want him to take that shot.” After Davis drained the 3-pointer, he returned the salvo with something like “that’s for you Coach G.”
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.
Reading time: 4 minutes
The neighborhood wasn’t alluring in a touristy sort of way. Despite those including myself that flocked there in respect of one of the greatest Americans ever born, there were plenty of locals living a dream I would label a nightmare.
“Buy me a cheese sandwich, just one cheese sandwich,” she uttered.
I’m disappointed now that I didn’t hand her a couple dollars, instead choosing to stay part of our group and not get sidetracked by her request, or drawn into a conversation with a street vendor telling me why I should “support the neighborhood.”
The reality is he was right. I was in Atlanta to watch Illinois Wesleyan University’s men’s soccer team play in a tournament at Emory University. If you ever walk the campus of either university, you would understand that the word “privileged” isn’t a far stretch from the imagination.
I’m not suggesting the “silver spoon” variety. I know many of the parents that send their children to these schools are reliant upon financial aid, student loans and work study. I have been both a student and a parent reliant upon such assistance myself.