Panther Sports Talk, April 10th, 2013

Welcome to another addition of Panther Sports Talk right here on WEIU. Our first outside
edition of the year, coach, and I know you are going to be happy about that. We are joined
by EIU Softball Coach Kim Schuette, I am Rich Moser your host this week. We are going to
talk to Baseball Coach Jimmy Schmitz in just a little while, but coach, another home weekend,
some good weather this past weekend, and you guys are now I think 8-0 at home.>>Coach:
I didn’t realize we were that at home, but it sure is nice to be back at Williams Field,
you know, sleeping in your own bed, having your own fans out there, we had awesome fan
support this weekend. And like you said, the weather was great.>>Rich:
And you guys started out, you play a little bit different a schedule because Mother Nature
has played some tricks on you guys earlier in the year, and you added a double header
with St. Louis, you went over there on last Wednesday, got a split over there, came back
and had a non-conference game with Southern and were able to actually win that game, in
less than regulation time, with an 8-0 win, so that momentum had to be good going into
another conference series.>>Coach:
That was, you know the St. Louis trip was good because the first game we kind of got
a wake up call which happened at the right time, and then the second game we started
playing a little bit better, took that in to Southern and that was an awesome game.
I think that was a real quick game, and people are surprised it was over, but it was a good
And that’s a team that I know, St. Louis, and most of Southern Illinois, when you guys
are recruiting, you guys recruited against teams like that, so while you are based, and
you play in the Ohio Valley Conference, really, I don’t think a lot of people realize your
recruiting basis when you guys play Southern and Western, and Illinois State, and some
of those Chicago Schools, Indiana State, so any time you can get a non-conference victory
against that, it chalks one up for you in the recruiting column.>>Coach:
You are so right. We recruit against all those Illinois teams you know, there’s 13 division
one Illinois Schools, and Southern is a big competitor. Kerry does a great job and always
has a good respectable program, so it was nice to win against them.>>Rich:
Now, one of the unsung heroes, but I guess since you coach, you know a little bit about
Hannah Mennenga has really come into her own this year. I know last year she came, she
transferred mid-year from a junior college, and she had a little bit of those, I guess,
wake-ups that junior college kids seems so have the first semester when they are coming
to play, really no matter what sport, and this year she has really settled in and found
her groove, and maybe has even exceeded your expectations.>>Coach:
She has. Last year, I would agree with you. She, I don’t know if intimidation is a factor,
or maybe just not quite settled in last year, and she kind of was a shadow to Maday, but
at the end of the year she had some big goals at the end of our year meeting and she had
made a decision at that point forward, what she wanted to do this year. And I knew she
was ready to come out of the gates and do those things, but you are right, she has done
even more.>>Rich:
I don’t know if one of her goals was to leave the NCAA in strikeouts but she is right up
there. Forty strikeouts this weekend, almost unheard of.>>Coach:
Yeah, her ball was moving and sometimes we joke about what is going on there, and she’s
like I don’t know, and I guess sometimes you let your skills kind of go, but don’t get
me wrong, that kid has worked so hard. She comes from off the farm throwing into the
silos and throws with me even before double headers in the morning. So she has worked
hard and she deserves every bit of it.>>Rich:
And now while you guys have done really well in the circle and that position solidified
with Megan and Stephanie Maday who was the number one last year, really gives you a comparable
number to do, so if things aren’t going well, you know you have a backup. But offensively
is where you guys have really been steady this year, and I know it’s one to nine, I
watched the game the other day and your number one hitter Melissa Brown is hitting about
250 which is not average for her, but the girls behind her are just there to pick her
Yeah, it’s hard to I hope, I think, It’s hard to play us right now. It’s hard because you
work hard on your scouting report and the big names, but then all of a sudden, these
other kids kind of come out of nowhere. And that’s what’s been happening these last few
weeks, is out two, our three, our five, our six, or seven, or nine, or whoever I think
there were a couple games this past week where almost every kid who played got a hit, and
that’s so nice to see. You know, don’t get me wrong, we’ve had some big swingers with
Hannah Cole, and Carly Willert really driving the ball in, Brooke Owens really picking up
the runs, but with Bailey O’dell and her grand slams lately, and you know Ashley Westover
it’s just a tough out, so anytime we can have lots of people to contribute and lots of people
for them to worry about, it’s great.>>Rich:
Now, you talked a little bit about Hannah Cole, there, she’s really settled in, as your
everyday catcher and it’s different for you the last couple of years, where you’ve really
played two catchers based a lot of times maybe on pitching for the other team or the pitcher
for our team, but Hannah Cole, you’ve evidently felt confident that she could handle everybody
on the staff.>>Coach:
Yeah, she’s done a nice job. She works really well with Mennenga and traditionally lately
we have had her catch that first game with Mennenga and have her play right field with
Wood catching with Maday. So that’s really worked well, because Maday is used to catching
with Wood, and Wood’s used to that little outside stuff she throws. But Hannah Cole,
similar to Hannah Mennenga last year, at the end of that meeting said you know Coach, I
can do more, and she kind of made up her mind then she really worked her butt off this summer,
and has proven herself and a lot of other people that she is a good athlete.>>Rich:
Now, you guys fast forward to this week, you return to conference action, but conference
action on the road, you are going to play at Illinois a non-conference game on Tuesday,
and then you are going to go play against SEMO, and while their record is not what it’s
been in the past, they are still one of the teams that traditionally been really strong
in softball.>>Coach:
They are, you now, Illinois is hard to play at their place. They are not having a great
year, but they are tough to play. But you are right, every time we go to SEMO, everybody
always asks me, who is your rival? Well, my answer is always whoever is over in the other
dugout. But at the same time, SEMO has always been that close team to us, who we travel
one day, this will be the first time we go all weekend with them, and it’s always a battle
at their place, always. So, no matter if we are having a great year, or they are having
a great year, our games are always a battle back and forth.>>Rich:
Now, you are going to get in a little bit different situation this week where you are
going to play four games but four solo dates, is that a little bit different, a little easier
maybe for a coach and for players, to where it is not doubleheader, go home, rest for
a while, come back, doubleheader the next day?>>Coach:
Yeah, I think nothing is ever easy, and we talk about you know, no win is ever going
to fall in our lap, and everybody wants to get us now, but absolutely. We need a day
off. We are going to practice and go get Illinois and take a day off and then prepare for SEMO.
But, last week was quite a few games especially for this weekend, and I know our kids need
a little bit of rest but at the same time you want to keep the train rolling. So, they
are excited and the vibe is good, and knock on wood we keep on going.>>Rich:
All right coach, well best of luck in those games and we’ll talk to you next week. Right
now the Panthers are 13 and 1 on the conference, leading the league and want to try to get
some road wins this week, and continue to lead the OVC Western Division. Be right back
with This Week in EIU Athletics.>>Rameen:
Eastern Illinois Panthers Sports on WEIU are brought to you by The Student of WEIU TV Sports,
a live sports production team consists of students from Eastern Illinois University,
Lake Land College and surrounding area high schools. WEIU is your home for Panther Sports. Panther fans, here’s what’s going on in Panther
Athletics. Baseball going 4-0 last week, all four wins coming at Coach’s Stadium. They
won 20-2 over Illinois State, and a three game series sweep over Murray State 6-3, 15-8,
and 16-6. The Panthers are now 10-18 overall and 3-8 in the OVC. Softball continued their
winning ways going 6-1 last week to improve their overall record to 25-10 and 13-1 in
the OVC. Five of the six wins came at WIlliams Field, 8-0 over Southern Illinois and double-header
sweeps over OVC Rivals Belmont and Tennessee State. Outdoor track competed at the Miami,
Ohio relays, the men placed third overall, as well as the women placing third overall.
Nine panthers posted first place finishes. Men’s Tennis went 0-3 last week all three
coming on the road at SIU-Edwardsville, Jacksonville State, and Tennessee Tech. Women’s Tennis
with a split last week on the road. They won 4-3 at SIU-Edwardsville, and fell 5-2 at Jacksonville
State; they are now 5-2 in the OVC. Men’s golf placed 20th in the Arkansas State Invite.
The top finisher was Kevin Flach in 39th place. Now here’s what to watch for this week. On
Wednesday, prior to the airing of this show, baseball took on Illinois College. For the
result and stats of that game, check out On Friday Baseball begins a three game series
in Cookeville, TN as EIU takes on OVC rival Tennessee Tech. On Saturday, Track is at the
Western KY Hilltop Relay starting at 9:00. Men’s and women’s tennis are at Darling
Courts to take on Eastern KY. The Women’s match starting at 10:00, the Men’s starting
at 2:00. Softball is in Cape Girardeau for a doubleheader with Southeast Missouri State
starting at 1:00. Baseball with their second game of their 3 game series at Tennessee Tech
and EIU Athletics will host the Spring Fling at Lantz Arena starting at 6:00. On Sunday,
Men’s Golf begins a three-day run at the Tennessee State Invite. Men’s and Women’s Tennis back
at Darling Courts for a second straight day, as they take on OVC Rival, Moorehead State.
Softball wraps up their three game series at Southeast Missouri State, and baseball
wraps up their three-game series at Tennessee Tech. On Monday, Men’s Golf with their second
day of competition at Tennessee State Invite. On Tuesday, Men’s Golf wraps up their competition
at the Tennessee State Invite. And Baseball with a night game at St. Louis. For Panther
Sports Talk, I’m Rameen Karboosian. WEIU is your home for Eastern Illinois Panther
Sports. Panther Football, Panther Baseball, Panther Greats, WEIU is you home for Panther
Sports. Game on the line, 2 point conversion, they
throw it to Laura, running around the right end on a reverse, throws a pass, and it is
caught. The Panthers win. WEIU is your home for Eastern Illinois Panther Football. Eric
Lora, and Jimmy Garopola lead the Panthers potent offense in 2013 as EIU hopes to repeat
as OVC Champs. It’s Eastern Illinois Panther Football coming in September on WEIU. OVC
Welcome back to Panther Sports Talk. We are now joined by EIU Baseball coach Jimmy Schmitz.
And coach we are in front of your stadium here which has been the past week, a really
good place to be for the Panthers.>>Coach:
It has. Obviously I think we are 5-2 at home, everybody knows we play on the road a lot,
but our guys feel comfortable in our stadium as most people do, but just to have a good
series, good weather, and obviously pretty impressive wins, we really needed it in terms
of where we were especially in league standings, and so it gives our guys some confidence here
with six weekends to go.>>Rich:
Now you started off and you kind of got the so to say the train rolling on Wednesday when
you guys played Illinois State, and the bats came out and the came out early, you scored
six in the first, five in the second, and really got up and I know I’ve watched your
team a little bit, and I talked to you a couple times, the guys seem to I guess play a little
bit looser when they get that first run on the board, and kind of get, things just kind
of click together and it started on Wednesday, when you guys scored twenty runs against the
Yeah, and they threw a good arm. I mean the freshmen recruited hard, and we just, we tried
we had a meeting on Monday, and it’s kind of complicated, but we tried to make it simple
for the guys because it has been a little more pressure. We don’t like getting the big
hit, or the pitchers need to make a great pitch and it’s just been one thing after the
other, and we made our approach to hitting a little bit more simpler, and kind of said
Hey let’s do this, and the guys have responded well, and like I said, Wednesday wind was
blowing out crazy, Friday, out, but Saturday and Sunday, not, and we still scored a lot
of runs so our approach to hitting carried over to those two games, too.>>Rich:
Now you came back on Friday, you played Murray State, you had a three game series, you guys
ended up sweeping them, but Friday’s game was really pivotal. It was kind of a back
and forth game, and I know you’ve kind of mentioned and teams seem to go this way, that
you kind of have to get that first win in the column for other wins to come easier,
and you guys were able to I guess get that first win, and the second games on Saturday,
and Sunday you guys were a little bit looser, and the results came out and you got big wins
both those days.>>Coach:
Yeah, and we say it with everything, with hitting, you need the big RBI, the big clutch
hit, the other, you know, hitting is contagious, Friday was an unbelievable game, Andrew Grahn
pitched so well for us, got us into that area, Kennedy, Ben Kennedy did a great job, George
Kalousek coming two on, two strike outs so, we’ve been there, you know, J-State the same
thing, we’ve been there, we’ve been so close, we just you know, told the simple story, like
hang in there we are going to get this thing going. If you don’t hang in there, it’s never
going to get rolling, so you know, really a great job by the pitching staff on Friday.
We did score them a couple runs right there at the end, and then Saturday, on Sunday,
offensively we really came alive, so you know, it’s kind of something we wish would have
happened three to four weeks ago, but you know, you’ve got to keep plugging away, until
it does. And I’m proud of the guys how they have.>>Rich:
Now, as a team this past week, you guys hit over four hundred, and the key part of that
and I know something, that as a coach you knew it was going to come, it was just kind
of a matter, is the three, four, five in the lineup, Treysen Vevra, Brant Valach, and Nick
Priessman all really had swing really good bats this weekend, and then came up with those
big hits.>>Coach:
Exactly. I mean, we kind of did something on the board to them, like I said on Monday,
and did not try to make those guys feel bad, but you know, if you don’t if your players
you know your main players don’t play well, or you main pitchers don’t pitch well, you
are not going to have a good year, and it was just a nice way of saying they needed
to step up, and take some more aggressive swings, and certain counts and they looked
a little timid, so you know, to me exactly, Trey Vevra is really starting to carry us,
taking the pressure off of Brant, and then Nick Priessman, we switched him in the five
slot, he’s more of a leadoff kind of guy, but he has really been aggressive and a lot
of good RBI’s so, you know, we like the lineup, Demetre Taylor, a home run on Wednesday, to
kind of get us going, Cam Berra who earlier, you know, we benched because he just wasn’t
doing anything, producing wise, and he comes out and gives I think six hits in two games,
so you know, the meeting was good. But it was one of, we need to get better in some
areas, and guys responded well to that, instead of getting negative or defensive, they just
said, “hey, let’s kind of get going.” So, the middle guys did great, but so did the
other guys getting on base. You know, base runners are it. If you don’t get on, you can’t
knock them in, so people understood their roles a little better.>>Rich:
Now, defensively you guys are also getting a lot more comfortable out there, I know that
was kind of one of the key areas where you talked about not getting the timely hits at
Jacksonville State, but also, kind of some untimely errors cost you the opportunity to
get a win or two down there at Jacksonville State. That wasn’t the case here this past
weekend you guys played really well defensively and I tell you what, Brant Valach may be the
best defensive 3rd baseman in the league and maybe one of the best in the country.>>Coach:
He really is, and you know, we had a big error at J-State and after the game, you know, we
just met with him and told him, he is the best third baseman I’ve ever coached defensively.
Dane Sauer, shortstop, that’s been a position that’s really, we’ve not done well, and he
had one ball that kind of came up on him, but boy, he just played great defensively,
so he knows, I’m batting in the ninth slot, and he’s going to do the job in playing defense.
And then Mitch Gasbarro, the freshman there at second base, just covered balls, but made
sure he got all the outs, so you know, we think we made the right decisions, with regard
to defense, and it seems right now, it’s really working.>>Rich:
Now, you guys move forward this weekend, and you are back on the road again, for a couple
of the games, you played Illinois on Tuesday, a home afternoon game, a little bit earlier,
2:00 on Wednesday against Illinois College, and then you guys head to Tennessee Tech,
a team that is surprising a few people, with where they are at in the OVC race right now.>>Coach:
Yeah, Tuesday is going to be a fund game. It is at Illinois, I mean they are playing
really well, 19-9 I think right now, they just run like crazy. They have like 60 stolen
bases; we don’t have that in two years. And so we are going to have to do a really good
job of that. Coach Anderson, the pitching coach, has done a great job with out staff,
Illinois College, we are going to get other people in, but this is the weekend, on the
road, at Tech, I don’t know what they did this weekend, but 10-2 going into this weekend,
having some really good stats, so we got our confidence, so now let’s kind of see if we
can carry it over, and be a little more week in, week out, consistent.>>Rich:
All right, Coach, well best of luck at that, and we’ll talk to you next week, after the
series at Tennessee Tech. We are going to wrap up this week’s show right here on Panther
Sports Talk on WEIU with some highlights, since we had a lot of baseball, a lot of softball
at home this weekend, these will be some of the highlights from that, thanks for watching,

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