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High school baseball

Lincoln varsity baseball vs. Taylorville

[MAY 9, 2001]  An ESPN commentator might have said it this way: "Lincoln broke out the whoopin’ stick at Taylorville Tuesday. Can you believe 21 runs on 20 hits?" The six-inning slugfest resulted in a 21-8 conference victory for Lincoln, moving their record to 19-10 (5-6 in conference).

Ten Railers had hits, and every Lincoln starter except one had at least one hit (and he was walked twice). Matt Aper (three RBIs), Justin Dedman (RBI) and Chris Phillips (two RBIs) went 3-for-4. And Derek Schrader, who’s missed several games due to illness, made up for lost time by going 4-4 with a walk, a single, two doubles and a home run. His hits produced nine RBIs, and he scored four times himself. Danny’s Schick’s two hits (1B, 3B) yielded another three RBIs. And Andy Knopp sent his first homer of the season over the high right-field fence for a solo shot. Taylorville used four pitchers in the game, but none could halt the Lincoln bats.


Starting pitcher Ryne Komnick was the early beneficiary of the offensive outburst. Nevertheless, after four innings (with Komnick going 3 2/3 innings), the score was "just" 11-8 in Lincoln’s favor. Komnick allowed nine hits and seven earned runs (eight total) while striking out two and walking one. Two of those runs came in the third when what looked like a Taylorville single to left turned into a two-RBI double that took a big hop over Schrader’s head.



[to top of second column in this article]

[Chris Phillips lines his third game hit up the middle.]

[Ryne Komnick faces Ronnie Perona, who had a sac fly in the third.]

Michael Martin relieved Komnick late in the fourth. The left-hander pitched 2 1/3 innings, allowed just one hit and gave up no runs. After Martin took the mound, the Railers put up 10 more runs. Even team manager Brian Boyer was given a chance at the plate in the last inning. Defensively, the Railers committed three errors in the game, while Taylorville had five.

On Thursday, Lincoln will host Taylorville at 4:30 and try to even up their conference record. Coach Pat Hake will probably remind the young Railers that after a large-margin Lincoln victory at Jacksonville last month, Jacksonville came to town two days later and demolished the Lincoln bunch 14-2. Even though strong conference foe Lanphier awaits Lincoln next week, the local good guys would be well served not to take Thursday’s rematch with Taylorville for granted.

[Rich Knopp]

[Box scores and stats vs. Taylorville (May 8)]

High school baseball

Lincoln varsity baseball vs. Washington

[MAY 8, 2001]  The Lincoln varsity baseball team got back on its winning way on Saturday, taking two non-conference games from Washington and moving to an overall record of 18-10. Lincoln took the first game 7-2 and the second game 9-6. With seven games left on the schedule, not counting postseason, the Railers have already notched eight more wins than all of last year.

Chris Phillips went the distance on the mound in game one. Phillips used only 77 pitches in seven innings of work. He struck out five, walked none and gave up just five hits. Three of those hits came in the seventh inning, when Washington scored both of its runs.

Lincoln scored two in the first inning on a walk to Matt Aper, a single by Phillips, an RBI single by Danny Schick and an RBI single by Aaron Matson. Sophomore Josh Gallagher, doing some varsity time now, scored in the second after reaching base on an error and being brought home by an Aper single. Lincoln’s fourth inning started with singles by Ryne Komnick and Andrew Bartman. Both scored in the inning—Komnick on a passed ball and Bartman on a first-base error. Bartman was the only Railer with at least two hits. Lincoln committed only one error in the game, and even that did not cost any runs.


[Ryan Williams was the winning pitcher in the second game.]

The second game saw three junior hurlers. Ryan Williams got the start and registered the win. Williams pitched four solid innings, giving up one run (not earned) on just four hits and no walks. Michael Martin pitched the fifth inning and surrendered two hits and two runs (neither earned). Andy Knopp concluded the game on the mound. His first batter doubled to left center, but he proceeded to strike out the next two—the first strikeouts of that game. He got out of the inning with a lazy fly ball to shortstop.



[to top of second column in this article]

[Chris Phillips strikes out one of his seven K’s in seven innings.

[Andy Knopp with one of his three strikeouts in two innings.]

In the seventh, with Lincoln leading 9-3, Washington began to put on some pressure. The first two runners reached base (on a walk and infield error). After a fly out, the next batter had an RBI single followed by another fly out to deep center field—a play on which Justin Dedman made a remarkable catch. Then Washington’s designated hitter, Alan Betourne, who had doubled against Knopp in the sixth inning, did it again, driving home two runs. When Knopp beaned the next batter, the tying run was at the plate. However, Knopp ended the inning and the game on a three-pitch strikeout. Of the three runs that scored in the inning, only one was earned.


Lincoln had 11 hits in the second game, with Aper, Dedman, Phillips, Knopp and Matt Boyer each making two. The 11th hit came from Gallagher, who tallied his first varsity hit—an RBI single. Lincoln’s first three hitters (Aper, Dedman and Phillips) scored seven of Lincoln’s 11 runs. Lincoln committed three errors in the contest.

This week the Railers have two conference games with Taylorville, who have yet to win a conference game. Tuesday’s game is away and Thursday’s is at home.

[Rich Knopp]

[Box scores and stats vs. Washington (game 1)]

[Box scores and stats vs. Washington (game 2)]

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Area high school baseball games

[MAY 8, 2001] 

Mount Pulaski vs. Delavan

In a low-stats game played at home Monday night, the Hilltoppers lost to Delavan by one run.

Mount Pulaski      001 000 1 – 2-5-0

Delavan                012 000 0 – 3-6-2

Delavan’s pitcher was Matt Mammen. Pitching for Mount Pulaski was Korey Davis (5-5).

Outstanding hitter from Mount Pulaski was Chris Wilson (two hits, two RBIs).

Mount Pulaski is 9-3 for the season.

Illini Central vs. Midwest Central

The Cougars went to Manito to show them their stuff, and that they did, winning 8-5.

Anthony Fletcher (6-1) pitched another winning game for the Cougars, with Luke Bohm catching.

Gerrits, Sindle (7) pitched for Midwest Central with Roberts catching.

Outstanding hitters for Illini Central were Travis Scott (a double, two RBIs), Fletcher (two hits, a double and one RBI) and Tyler Cunningham (a triple and an RBI).

Illini Central is 8-5 for the season.


High school baseball

Lincoln varsity baseball vs. Chatham-Glenwood

[MAY 4, 2001]   After an 11-8 conference loss at home in a game with Chatham on Tuesday, Lincoln had another shot at them Thursday. After 2½ innings, Lincoln was looking good and leading 2-0. But six runs in the bottom of the inning were good enough for Chatham, which went on to a comfortable 10-3 victory. The Railers are now 16-10 (4-6 in conference). Beginning with the loss against powerhouse Edwardsville on April 21, coach Pat Hake’s ball club has dropped six of the last seven games. be posted

Chatham’s left-hander, Josh Hinton, pitched a strong complete game against Lincoln, striking out 11, granting two walks and allowing just four hits. When the Railers did hit Hinton, however, they hit him hard. Three of the four hits went for extra bases. Blake Schoonover had half of Lincoln’s hits. In the third, Schoonover whacked a triple to the right-center-field fence and scored Andrew Bartman, who had reached first on a fly ball dropped by the right fielder. Schoonover took advantage of slow play and a poor relay and scored himself on the play. In the fifth, he smacked a double to the left-center-field fence and plated Michael Aper, who had stolen second while pinch running for Josh Komnick, who drew a walk. Andy Knopp had a two-out, line-drive double to left field in the sixth, but was stranded at third after stealing the base. Matt Aper singled in the seventh for the Railers’ last hit of the game.

In Schoonover’s third and last at-bat in the seventh, he was hit by a pitch with two outs. The game ended when Aper singled to right center and Schoonover attempted to go to third. To Lincoln fans, it appeared that Schoonover beat the throw, but the umpire ruled that he was tagged sometime when he was not on base. Game over.

Sophomore Josh Komnick (4-0) went four innings for Lincoln, allowing 10 runs (seven earned) on 12 hits (five doubles, one HR) and one walk, with four Lincoln errors while he was on the mound, two of which came on errant pickoff throws. Junior Michael Martin relieved Komnick after the first three Chatham batters had reached base in the fifth (2B, error, 1B). One run scored (charged to Komnick), but a 6-3 double play initiated by Schoonover and a thrown-out base stealer by Bartman ended the inning without further harm. Martin gave up two hits in two innings, striking out two and allowing no runs.


[to top of second column in this article]

[Josh Komnick faces Keith Moomey in the fifth. Andrew Bartman is catching.]

[After a triple and double, Blake Schoonover is hit in the seventh inning.]

The Railers will try to get back on their winning ways when they travel to Washington for a doubleheader Saturday. Lincoln still has a good ball club (at 16-10). However, they are learning that to beat good teams, which they’ve faced in the last five games, they have to play at the top of their game.

[Rich Knopp]


Box scores and stats vs. Chatham (5-3-01)

Part 2

Steinfort flying high as an
Air Force Academy Falcon

Introduction by Jeff Mayfield

[APRIL 27, 2001]  This week's LDN Sports Talk takes on a different look than ever before. Since I couldn't get the LDN powers-to-be to send me out to Colorado Springs to do this interview, Race and I struggled together by e-mailing. I spent a Saturday coming up with a list of 20 to 25 questions and finally just told him to answer them when he could. He did that while going to class, studying for a test, practicing and, I think, writing a paper. It is very easy for a sports writer like me to have nothing but admiration for young men like Race Steinfort. I'm glad people like him are protecting Payne at night while he sleeps (or keeps his parents up). I hope you loyal LDN fans will enjoy Race's written response to my list of questions as much as I did! On behalf of the LDN, thank you, Race. We all wish you nothing but the best!

Response from Race Steinfort

[click here for Part 1]

I am majoring in aeronautical engineering as well as getting my math minor. I’d like to someday go into airplane design. However, once I graduate, I will go off to Undergraduate Pilot Training (UPT) where I will be trained for approximately one year to fly jets. Following UPT, I will have a 10-year commitment to the Air Force in which I hope to fly F-15s and/or A-10s.


[Race Steinfort]

I have been swimming competitively for about 16 years now, and yes, it has prepared me for swimming here. College is a whole new game, though. Instead of swimming every event possible, I now specialize in two to three events: the 100/200 back and the 1,650 (mile) free.

As for people I should thank, there are far too many to list. I think the main contributors were a man named Fred Plesé and my parents.


Mr. Plesé has been a huge inspiration in my life. This man, through rain, dark, snow, and hail, managed to show up at 5:30 in the morning at least three times a week and get into the water to swim with my father and me. He started from barely being able to swim for five minutes to swimming for an hour-plus and getting out hardly even breathing hard, with a giant grin on his face like he had just conquered the world (or at least the pool). To this day he still swims with my father every other morning. His dedication to swimming, his job and a giant family, and more importantly, his ability to, day after day, show up at 5:30 a.m. ready to jump in a cold pool with a giant smile on his face has made me believe that no matter how cold the water is or what lies ahead, the only way to go is just smile and jump in.


[to top of second column in this section]

I also have to thank my parents for all their support and love. They were there when I needed prodding and they were there to pick me up when I fell. They’ve been there through everything, and I know for sure that I wouldn’t be who and where I am today if it weren’t for them.

The only advice I have to give is to never underestimate yourself or your abilities and never take the easy way out. Some people believe that they can’t get anywhere because they were never given an opportunity. No one is ever given an opportunity; you have to make one for yourself, whether it’s in a pool, on a court or in a classroom.

The key is to take the harder path. Sometimes it takes giving up some things such as time and freedom, but in the end, it’s just like an investment. That which you gave up will turn into something much better. For me, the time and freedom and other things that I have given up in the past have allowed me to swim Division I and attend a great college; and the freedom and regular college life that I’m giving up right now will allow me to fly a $30 million aircraft at two times the speed of sound. You cannot give up everything, but unless you make some sacrifices, you will not be able to achieve your goals.

Yes, I would recommend the Air Force Academy and I am glad I came, but I would have to add one thing. It is not for everyone. It is a different life. I already told you a little about freshman year for me. It wasn’t easy and it was rarely fun. The academy offers a great education, great friendships, and I get paid to go to school, but in return I have pledged to give my life in the defense of our nation. I owe at least five years to the Air Force after I graduate and 10 years if I become a pilot.


It is something that must be well thought through before the decision is made. But I’d have to say jumping out of airplanes and flying fighters is an excellent way to spend a summer!


Part 1

Steinfort flying high as an
Air Force Academy Falcon

Introduction by Jeff Mayfield

[APRIL 26, 2001]  This week's LDN Sports Talk takes on a different look than ever before. Since I couldn't get the LDN powers-to-be to send me out to Colorado Springs to do this interview, Race and I struggled together by e-mailing. I spent a Saturday coming up with a list of 20 to 25 questions and finally just told him to answer them when he could. He did that while going to class, studying for a test, practicing and, I think, writing a paper. It is very easy for a sports writer like me to have nothing but admiration for young men like Race Steinfort. I'm glad people like him are protecting Payne at night while he sleeps (or keeps his parents up). I hope you loyal LDN fans will enjoy Race's written response to my list of questions as much as I did! On behalf of the LDN, thank you, Race. We all wish you nothing but the best!

Response from Race Steinfort

I’ve been at the USAF Academy for almost three years now. I am currently a Second Class Cadet (junior) and I am still happy with my decision to come, though during my Fourth Class year (freshman) I wasn’t so sure about that one.


[Marshal Haylett and Lincolnite Race Steinfort, teammates on the U.S. Air Force Academy swim team, the Falcons, pose on a crisp-looking day in the Colorado Rockies.]

The application process was a pretty lengthy one. It entailed sending in an application to both the academy and my congressmen, including my representative, the Illinois senators and the vice president. Any of those four government officials could give me a nomination to the academy. Rep. Dick Durbin gave me my nomination. The process for nomination consisted of a few questionnaires and an interview. The next step was to get accepted to the academy. This consisted of a physical fitness test, a very lengthy application with everything from medical history to police records to exactly why I wanted to attend the academy, an interview with an Air Force liaison officer, and an essay on why I wanted to come and what I wanted to do in the Air Force.

One of my requirements for a college was Division I swimming, with the other being aeronautical engineering. I planned on swimming here, and there’s no doubt that it has helped me make it through here. I have been one of the top backstrokers here, placing sixth in both the 100 back and 200 back at the Mountain West Conference, with a 50.02 and a 1:50.09 respectively. My best swim at that meet was in the morning, where I finally broke 1:50 in the 200 back to go a 1:49.39, my lifetime best.

We do get to travel quite a bit. We usually alternate with teams, going to their place one year and having them here the next. The main teams we always swim against are University of Washington, BYU, Utah, UNLV and Wyoming, to name a few. We also travel during Christmas break. We usually leave shortly after Christmas to go somewhere warm like California or Florida to train day in and day out for a little over a week.


[to top of second column in this section]

The question of whether or not being intercollegiate is an advantage is a pretty tough one. Yes, it has helped me a lot, but it has also made some aspects of life more difficult. The best part of being on a team here is the camaraderie and the friendships. We have a very close team here, and all the guys on the team look out for each other like brothers.

The hardest part of the academy is the loss of freedom during freshman year. You come from a high school where you are at the top of the chain, and you walk into a place where you are worth less than the dirt on the ground. It provides quite a bit of emotional stress among other things. I seriously doubted why I came, and I wasn’t sure that I wanted to stay. Everyone was always yelling at me and nothing seemed to be good enough. There was dust inside the smoke detector, a spot on the sink and my shoes were NEVER shiny enough (just a few of the things they’d pick on). The goal was to put as much stress on us as possible to weed out the people who didn’t want to be there and teach the rest of us how to deal with stress. That was pretty much all of basic training and freshman year.

This is where swimming and the team really helped me to get away and remember that I do have friends, and mainly, I wasn’t in this alone. Going down to the pool every day also helps to get away from the academic grind.

This, however, is also where sports are not so much an advantage. We, as intercollegiates, do not have a lighter academic load than anyone else here, despite the fact that we have three to four hours of our afternoon devoted to practice. This provides for many late nights and long weekends doing homework and studying. I’m taking 22.5 hours this semester as well as swimming for three hours every afternoon. Along with this, we, as cadets, have mandatory formations, In Rank Inspections (IRIs—uniform inspections) and Additional Morning Inspections (AMIs—room inspections) which we have to prepare and clean for at least twice a week and sometimes more depending on the leadership and how we did the previous week.

Traveling with the team is another bonus, in that for a weekend or at least a day or two you get to leave the academy and get away for a while. The only problem with that is that you miss classes and usually fall behind in the process, and catching up with 22 hours is not easy! Despite the disadvantages, the friends and the break from the grind for a day or two or even just a few hours in the day make being an intercollegiate well worth it in my mind.

(To be continued)

[click here for Part 2]


Play ball with the Lincoln Park District

From Roy Logan, program coordinator

[APRIL 26, 2001]  The phase "play ball" is echoing all around the Lincoln Park District.  Teams for boys and girls have been chosen and practices are in full swing.  Registration for men's and women's softball is currently under way.  If you have not come to the office to pick up your roster and information, you will want to do so soon.

A new league offered this summer is Co-ed Over 40.  This league is strictly for the recreational player.  The season will not last as long.  Play will be at Memorial Park on Thursday nights.

The success of Lincoln's summer baseball and softball programs is directly related to the many local businesses that support the teams financially.  In these times of rising utilities and gas prices, we urge you to support the businesses whose names appear on the team shirts.  It takes not only money but volunteers as well.  Our thanks to the many people who donate their time and talent to coaching and keeping a great game on track.

Our summer brochure is out and ready for you to pick up a copy to see the many things there are to do this summer.  While many of you think of us in terms of sports, we are offering much more.  This summer is guaranteed to be full of camps, clinics, arts and crafts, and a host of other fun activities for nearly every age.  Some of our new programs will be limited in size, and we urge you to register early.  Availability will be on a first-come, first-served basis.  We have had several calls from people wanting to know when registration for certain classes would be.  The earliest date to register will be May 4.

Golf outing planned

[APRIL 12, 2001]  Abraham Lincoln Healthcare Foundation has set Friday, June 29, for their seventh annual golf outing at the Elk’s Country Club in Lincoln.

The format will again be a four-person scramble with a 7:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. shotgun start. The $75 entry fee includes greens fee and free cart rental, along with opportunities to win prizes and awards, including Hole-in-One, Top Foursomes, Longest Putt, Longest Drive and Closest to the Pin, for both men and women. Also provided are a continental breakfast and buffet luncheon.

In addition to golfing, a variety of sponsorships are available, including Tee, Cart and Prize Sponsorships. Appropriate recognition and benefits are provided for each sponsor.

All funds raised from the golf outing support the ALMH Care-A-Van service. The Care-A-Van is a specially equipped van, custom-built to provide non-emergency transportation for individuals who are wheelchair-bound or need transportation assistance to get to necessary appointments.

For more information on player registration or sponsorship opportunities, please call Cynthia Kelley at (217) 732-2161, Ext. 405.

[News release]

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