Panther Sports Talk, April 16th, 2014

[music plays]
>>Rameen Karbassioon: Production for Panther Sports Talk is brought
to you in part by: Johnson’s Automotive Service is a proud supporter
of Panther Sports on WEIU. Johnson’s is a complete car facility for all
your automotive repair and maintenance needs. Johnson’s Automotive Service: keeping your
life running.>>Rich Moser:
Welcome to another edition of Panther Sports Talk, right here on WEIU.
I’m your host, Rich Moser. We’ll start off this week with EIU Baseball
Coach Jimmy Schmitz. And Coach, I guess first of all, you’ve got
to be upset that the weather now turned once again.
Mother Nature’s not been kind. You guys had great weather out there this
weekend for the series against Tennessee Tech, and you’ve got some games coming up this week,
one at home that right now you’re going to hope that it’s nice enough to be able to get
out there on the field.>>Jim Schmitz:
Yeah, we have to get out there. It’s going to be cold, back in the low 40s,
but tarp is on, so we should be fine. You know, we thought we had a chance to win
two out of three against Tech. You know, just dug ourselves such a big hole
on Sunday, which again, they’re picked to win the league, and it was really hard to
kind of chip away and get to that. So, you know, Indiana State, I think is 7-10,
one of the leaders in the Missouri Valley. So, a mid-week game that is going to be a
hard one to get things going. But, and then we go to SEMO.
I mean, they’re first in the league right now, on fire, 15-3.
So, we’re playing two very good teams. You know, at a point right now in the middle
of the year, second half of the season. So, you know, it’s time for us to really play
more consistent baseball.>>Rich Moser:
I don’t think people realize how long the baseball season is.
You talk about, you guys are 15 games in. I know it’s almost getting ready, it’s the
middle of April now; you guys still have a month, five weeks left in the baseball season.
So, probably not panic time like some people might think panic time.
You lost two out of three, the season’s over. You guys are kind of still within striking
distance to be able to get a spot in the OVC tournament.
And some of the teams you’re going to play the next couple weeks are teams that you win
two out of three from them, now you leapfrog them in the standings.
>>Jim Schmitz: Yeah, and that’s, you know, that’s really
what we told them when the game was over on Sunday, that we are only halfway through.
We have five weekends to go. People that we play are people who, if we
beat them too or sweep them, making a huge change in the standings.
For me, you know, we can’t be in any better shape in terms of who we’re playing, where
we are, and now it’s just a matter of us trying to get it done the next five weeks.
>>Rich Moser: We’ll go back and talk about the series against
Tennessee Tech. You guys, like you said, were on the downside
of the series, lost two out of three. But played well on Friday and on Saturday,
had a chance to win, I guess, on Friday, just kind of got a great pitching effort by Matt
Borens, just kind of couldn’t get the bats to help back him up on Friday night.
>>Jim Schmitz: It was really good to see Matt.
I mean, Matt’s, I think, really one of the better pitchers in the league.
And he went out, and he performed that way. We had a miscue defensively that created a
beginning for them. But you know, it probably should have been
a 1-0 game in the seventh, and there the pressure changes.
So, it’s good to see that out of Matt. Jake Johansmeier pitched exceptionally on
Saturday. We had an inconsistent performance from Joe
on Sunday, but knowing we have Matt and Jake, I think the team really feels that confidence.
Bats are now swinging a little better. So, like I said, we’re going to SEMO.
They’re the hottest team in the league right now, so emotionally, you know, this is a weekend
to see if we’re ready to go at it.>>Rich Moser:
Now, you talked about, earlier in the year we had talked about pitching, what at the
start of the year you thought was going to be one of the strong points.
And it got off that the bats were carrying the team earlier in the season.
Now, the bats against Tennessee Tech kind of maybe exactly weren’t where you wanted
them to be, but the pitching is now starting to get into the shape mid-season form that
you were hoping for. So, hopefully that’ll carry the team when
you put both of those together in some of those upcoming series.
>>Jim Schmitz: Yeah, I mean that was the plus.
I mean, obviously it didn’t all come together at Tech, but I think our players feel so much
better about Matt and Jake. Troy Barton has just been outstanding the
last two weekends for us. So, you know that, that’s all, confidence
just comes from watching players perform well. And now they have it in the pitching staff.
The wind was just gusting in at 20 miles an hour this weekend, so bats were a little bit
more silent on both ends. But you know, spring comes, the weather heats
up, and I think the bats will be fine, and the pitching’s coming around.
So, it’s a good combination that we have right now.
>>Rich Moser: Now, while we talk about the bats may not
have been where they wanted to be this past weekend, one guy in particular has been really
good all year. Caleb Howell, he’s up there in the top ten
in the country in batting average, and he’s a guy who’s been consistent week in, week
out, day in, day out when you guys have put him in the line up.
And you kind of juggled him around, I guess, during the course of the year to see if he
could spark other guys on the team to kind of generate some offense.
>>Jim Schmitz: Yeah, we always try to be creative and maybe
put people in positions that they’re not suited for.
I had him in the three slot. I did that in ’09 with [unclear dialogue],
and that backfired, so I learned a lesson. Hopefully I won’t do that again.
But Caleb is just so consistent. He’s a guy, it’s so nice to see him come up
every third inning, you know, he’s going to come up.
We love the line up right now. Mitch Gasbarro behind him is doing a great
job of getting him over. And then, you’ve got Demetre and Valach knocking
them in. So, the line up is good, the pitching was
much better this weekend. And I think we’re going to see if we can pull
it together.>>Rich Moser:
Now, you talk about Brant Valach. I know he came back last week and kind of
helped, I guess, jar the offense or drive the offense a little bit there at Murray State,
was OVC player of the week. Another power bat back in the line up.
You guys missed him earlier in the year on defense and offense.
Is he kind of where you want him to be now, or is he still a guy that has a chance to
really come on the last couple weeks that people really haven’t seen in the line up?
>>Jim Schmitz: I think he’s really, I mean he bats fourth,
he knows how to drive the ball, and he knows how just to hit it the other way and get us
a run. He’s really an RBI guy.
His wrist seems to be getting better. It seems like even on the third day, he has
some strength in there. It was really tight on the weekend.
So, we’ll give him tomorrow off against Indiana State because it’s important for him to be
healthy for the weekend. We play Thursday this week with the Easter
weekend. So, you know, having him and Demetre right
in the middle of the line up gives us a one-two punch.
So, it’s great that Brant’s worked through his rehab, playing in a little bit of discomfort
and pain, but he knows we need him right now.>>Rich Moser:
Now, you talked a little bit about that, the fact that the OVC doesn’t play on Easter Sunday.
Does that change how you guys approach the line up this week?
I know the guys get enough time off in terms of between times for starting pitchers.
But I guess will that change how you do them for the mid-week?
Will they throw a little bit less pitches in a bull pen, or does it change your strategy
now moving up a series a day?>>Jim Schmitz:
Not really much. We’ve got to find ourselves really a fourth
starter. Andrew Grahn, who pitched last Wednesday,
he’ll start again. We’ve got to find, is we’re looking to try
to get into the tournament, well then, you’ve got to prepare yourself to win the tournament.
You can’t win it with three pitchers in terms of starting.
So, you know, Jaden Widdersheim had a little bit of a shoulder issue.
He seems to be really healthy. Luke Bushur was a little injured; he seems
to be healthy. So, those will be the three guys we’ll go
with to try to extend them a little bit, to get them to the point where if we need them
to come in the sixth inning, they can just finish a game out.
And that’s how we’re looking at it.>>Rich Moser:
Alright Coach, best of luck down there this weekend at SEMO, and then happy Easter with
the family on Sunday. I know you’ll be happy to be home on a Sunday
for once during the season. You don’t ever get that very often.
Be right back with this week in EIU Athletics, and then we’ll follow that up with a feature
on track senior Jalisa Paramore. [music plays]
>>Brad Kupiec: Panther fans, here’s what’s going on in Panther
Athletics. Baseball now 11-24 overall, and 5-10 in conference
play, as they went 2-2 last week, beating Illinois College 8-2 last Wednesday, and winning
one out of three at home against OVC rival Tennessee Tech.
Prior to the airing of this show, they host the Indiana Sycamore’s at Coaches Stadium
on Tuesday. Fro the result of that game, check out
Softball now 30-11 overall, and 10-4 in the OVC, as they went a perfect 4-0 this week
with a 7-6 win at Southern Illinois-Carbondale, and a three-game weekend sweep of UT Martin
at Williams Field. Last Thursday, men’s and women’s tennis both
lost to SIU-Edwardsville at the Atkins Tennis Center in Urbana.
And on Saturday, the men and women each blanked Tennessee State 7-0 before the men lost, and
the women won at Belmont. EIU track and field split squads Saturday
as they competed at the Illinois Twilight meet and Eastern Kentucky Hilltopper relays,
earning ten total first place finishes and six runner-up honors.
For results, head to Saturday through Monday, EIU women’s golf
competed at the Indiana State Invitational in Terre Haute.
Sunday through Tuesday, the men were in Old Hickory, Tennessee for the TSU Big Blue Intercollegiate.
For complete results of both of those tournaments for the Panthers, go to
Now, here’s what to watch for this week. On Thursday, men’s and women’s tennis will
begin play at the OVC tournament in Paducah, Kentucky, with the men taking on Austin Peay
at ten in the morning, and the women facing Moorhead State at two o’clock in the afternoon.
That tournament will continue through Saturday. Also on Thursday, baseball begins a three-game
series with OVC foe SEMO. First pitch Thursday and Friday in Cape Girardeau
will be at five o’clock, with a 1 p.m. start on Saturday.
And Tuesday, baseball travels to Champaign to face the Illinois Fighting Illini.
First pitch from the U of I is set for six. Friday and Saturday, softball continues conference
play as they travel to Nashville to play double headers, Friday at noon, and two against Belmont
Saturday at one and three against Tennessee State.
And on Tuesday, EIU softball hosts a double header at three and five against Butler in
Williams Field. On Saturday, men’s and women’s track and field
are in Edwardsville for the SIU-Edwardsville Gateway Invite.
Action from Edwardsville starts at 1:30. And on Tuesday, they host the Tuesday Tweener
Meet at O’Brien Stadium. The official start time will be posted on On Sunday through next Wednesday, women’s
golf play at the OVC championships in Muscle Shoals, Alabama.
For full Panther results from that championship, check out
For Panther Sports Talk, I’m Brad Kupiec.>>Rameen Karbassioon:
WEIU is your home for Eastern Illinois Panther sports.
Panther football.>>Mike Bradd:
Here comes the blitz. Jimmy’s going to throw it deep down the middle.
Lora’s out there, got it! And he’s on his way!
Garoppolo burns the blitz! Touchdown, Eastern Illinois!
>>Rameen Karbassioon: Panther basketball.
>>Mike Bradd: Going all the way.
Laying it up. No, another dunk!
Piotrowski again, back to back rebound dunks.>>Rameen Karbassioon:
Panther greats. [Music Plays]
WEIU is your home for Panther sports. [shouting]
>>Chris Boswell: Senior Jalisa Paramore for women’s track competes
in indoor and outdoor track. She competed in the OVC championships in four
events, earning second team all-OVC in the 60 meter hurdles.
Now with four years of experience, she’s grateful that she chose Eastern Illinois.
>>Jalisa Paramore: I didn’t have Eastern in my top three, top
five, any kind of list for when you’re picking out schools to attend.
My coach had some reels, kind of like you do for football or basketball.
And she just happened to send it to Coach Akers.
And the funny joke that we always make is he was done recruiting, they weren’t recruiting
anyone else. But he saw my video.
He was like, you know what, you won’t lose anything if you don’t come, so why don’t you
just come visit the facilities, let me know how you feel.
So, I came up, I fell in love with the athletes, the coaches, and everything that they had
to offer. I was like, you know, why stay in Florida
your whole life; go ahead and do something different.
So, that’s how I ended up here at Eastern.>>Tom Akers:
It sure doesn’t seem like she’s been here for four years.
I wish she was going to be here a little bit longer.
But she’s done really well; she’s really come quite a ways since she came here out of high
school, and has done a great job for us. [starting gun]
>>Jalisa Paramore: I could tell you my whole track experience,
but it’s so rewarding and motivating in a sense.
From my freshman year to now in my senior year, it feels like just yesterday I got here
on my visit, and Coach Akers was showing me around.
It goes by so quick. But it’s probably one of the most prideful
parts of being here at Eastern, is being an Eastern athlete.
And I know that student comes first, but athlete is probably in big, bold letters.
This program is so rich in culture, and having a coach like Coach Akers, he’s so dynamic,
he’s so versatile, and he’s just an outstanding role model.
That, the biggest part of this program and having my teammates, we’re always together,
all the time. You spend the majority of your weekend traveling.
So, they become your family, and it’s just a part of who I am.
You know, Jalisa, the hurdler, the one who’s on the track team.
It’s just how I am. [starting gun]
Although hurdles is one of Jalisa’s best talents, she competes in a variety of events.
Her versatility allows her to compete in the long jump, high jump, sprints, and relays
as well.>>Jalisa Paramore:
Of course, I’m a short sprinter, a hurdler, and a long jumper.
Hurdles will always be my passion. I’ve done them since high school.
It’s what I do. But I’ve grown a new passion for long jump.
It’s different. I’ve done high jumps before, but long jump
I feel just so much more exciting for me. And I love things that excite me; I love working
at something. And at long jump, you really have to work
with technique. It’s like hurdling, it’s a lot of technical
things that go into the event. And as far as difficult aspects of it, I would
have to say I’m blessed. I learn really quickly, so long jump came
kind of quick to me in nature, kind of like hurdles idd.
But over time, throughout the four years, there’s always something new that I’m learning
about the events each time. So, I have to say hurdles are my favorite,
but long jump is not that far behind.>>Tom Akers:
Very consistent, very intense competitor. Sh works vey hard at her trade, whatever she’s
training for. You know, currently jump and hurdles are going
really well for her. She used to high jump, but since her hurdles
and long jump have sort of taken off, we’ve sort of let the high jump go.
But also runs well for us on our sprint relays and in some open sprint events.
>>Chris Boswell: Over the years, Paramore has realized that
talent alone does not make you a champion. She has gained other competitive aspects that
have made her the leader she is today.>>Jalisa Paramore:
Having the leaders that I had there earlier, my freshman year, they kind of handed off
the baton, to use a track pun. They’ve handed the baton really well.
And over time, I’ve learned how to be more competitive.
I wasn’t very competitive in high school. I was talented, but I wasn’t competitive.
And here, they kind of pulled that out of me.
You know, you’ve got to be headstrong, you’ve got to want it.
And that’s something that I’ve grown to appreciate and use in my track career.
Just be more of a team player is really big for me.
A lot of the times when I run, it’s not so much for myself.
And over time, I’ve learned that my victories and my woes, I look for my team and how they
respond to those. When I step on the line, when I get ready
to jump, I do it for my team. And that’s something that I’ve learned to
do, just because I want to be more of a leader for this team and for this program.
>>Tom Akers: She’s very focused on her technique, very
focused on what she needs to do to be successful. And you know, I think has high goals for herself.
I think a lot of our young ladies need to look and see how successful she’s been, and
how far she’s come. And if they can model what their careers are
like after her, they’ll have a very successful career.
[starting gun] [shouting]
>>Announcer: Jumping out to a good lead, Jalisa Paramore
from Eastern Illinois. You can see her in white.
>>Chris Boswell: Paramore has accomplished many of her goals
while at EIU, but even as a senior, she isn’t done yet.
>>Jalisa Paramore: Of course, with anyone nationals is the first
thing you think of. Being a senior, I haven’t gone.
I’ve gone to regionals, which is a step before nationals, but I want to go to nationals,
I want to be able to have that title “all-American” attached to my name.
But my goals for this year, of course, I’ve been undefeated thus far outdoors the last
two years, so I’d like to keep it that way leaving my senior year.
Me and Coach Ellis, we joke about the long jump record.
I’m not that far behind, so if I can get that and take that home, I’d have another title
under my belt, and it would be great to come back and see my name up there on the board
again. I want them to remember me not so much for
my performances, but the ultimate essence that I left with the team.
Of course, I know they’re going to give the ultimate response, you know, “She was a great
athlete.” But I want them to say, you know, “She was
always willing to do what was best for the team.”
It’s, learning to juggle multiple events, I did it because I knew that the team needed
me to do it. And that’s ultimately what I want them to
say when I leave. “She was always willing to do whatever it
took for us to come out number one and on top.”
>>Chris Boswell: Reporting for Panther Sports Talk, I’m Chris
Boswell. [chatter]
>>Brad Kupiec: EIU softball is in the midst of their first
season under a new head coach, and a roster featuring several veteran seniors, including
Mattoon native Reynae Hutchinson. Hutchinson says that these seniors, who won
the OVC championship as freshmen, have had to adjust to a new coaching staff this season.
But through the pre-conference schedule, they’re buying into the new style of play.
>>Reynae Hutchinson: In the fall, it was rough because I could
tell that some of the seniors, they were a little skeptical, being a senior and having
a new coach this first year. And so, I was really worried about going into
practice and them wanting to change. But I think since I’ve been in January, I
think everyone has, I mean like Coach said, everyone’s bought into their system; everyone
believes in what both coaches are telling us.
And we’ve made some big changes that I think are going to definitely help us come post-season,
and throughout the regular season also.>>Angie Nicholson:
Since I’ve gotten here, I feel like they know; you can see it.
The thing is, like I said, with them buying into what we’re doing and them seeing the
results, you know, going, we’ve already stolen more bases than they did all of last year.
We’re hitting the ball harder than they’ve ever hit the ball.
We’re doing things that they haven’t seen before.
And for them, I think that gives them that assurance that, hey, you know what?
We are better than we’ve ever been. And so, I think they’re ready to go.
It’s been an amazing journey, and they’re doing everything that I’ve asked.
And we have gotten better, and we’ve grown, and we’ve learned from our experiences, and
that’s exactly what I’ve preached since I got here.
And they are completely, 100% into our philosophy, and they get and see the results.
And when I look in these kids’ eyes, there’s no denying that they don’t want it more than
anything. It’s a great feeling.
>>Brad Kupiec: In addition to playing softball, Hutchinson
has also spent the last four seasons as a starting outside hitter for EIU volleyball.
And she says she’s thankful for the opportunity to have been a two sport college athlete.
>>Reynae Hutchinson: It’s definitely, first of all, taken a toll
on my body. I can definitely tell on these cold mornings,
waking up and getting out of bed, I hear a little pop, little creak here and there.
But I can’t, I don’t think I can say enough how many friends I’ve made, how much the coaches
that I’ve played for and the players that I’ve played with, how much an impact they’ve
made on my life. And I think that’s, I mean, there’s a few
other life lessons, but I think that’s the biggest thing, just the friendships that I’ve
made and the things that I’ve learned playing two sports has taught me a lot.
>>Angie Nicholson: I came in the fall, and I’d heard about Reynae,
and I heard about this kid who plays two sports. And you know, watched her, obviously, play
volleyball, and was amazed at just how athletic she was on the volleyball court.
And you know, they told me, you know, she was a good leader and things like that.
Kept asking about her softball skills, and they, ah, yeah, yeah, she’s alright, she’s
alright. And so, i’m thinking, okay.
And they’re like, don’t get your hopes up; she’s not going to be everything you’re thinking
or you’re wanting. And I will tell you what.
I think she is everything that I have wanted. And you know, she has really, in my eyes,
been amazing to work with. From the day she stepped, you know, in January
into our practice, she has been so coachable, probably the most coachable kid that I’ve
ever come across. She can make an adjustment like that; she
knows her body very well. And so, I think she has not even tapped into
her full potential, and that’s what’s been amazing.
And I think she’s shocking a lot of people because they didn’t even know Reynae was this
good.>>Reynae Hutchinson:
So far, it’s definitely a lot more than what I expected.
I think the biggest change that I’ve noticed from the last three years is I’m able to show
off how athletic I am a lot more. When Coach Schuette was here, I had a pinch
runner when I would get on base. And so, seven stolen bases for me in the first,
what, 25, 27 games; I don’t know that I had seven stolen bases at all last year.
So, no, I think I’m definitely more confident in myself, and I think the team can speak
for when they say that they are confident in themselves, as well as the other players
around them, just because of the changes that we’ve made.
>>Angie Nicholson: You know, she could go anywhere, to be honest
with you, from three to six. She does a lot of things well.
You know, she hits for power, she sees the ball well, she can do a bunt run, she can
do a squeeze, she can, you know, lay down the sacrifice bunt, she can do a hit and run.
And that’s what you need from three to five. You know, you need that; you need the person
that’s going to do whatever you ask them to do, and she can do that.
And then, on top of that, the speed that, you know, nobody told me she had has been
amazing, because I love speed. So, I just love having her.
I mean, it’s been amazing for her to be in that spot, and to be able to do anything I
ask her to do.>>Brad Kupiec:
With Hutchinson’s success in both volleyball and softball throughout her collegiate career,
she says when she’s done at EIU she wants to be remembered as much for her contributions
off the field as for those she’s made on it.>>Reynae Hutchinson:
I just hope that people remember me personally as a good leader, as a good role model.
I mean, it will be nice if they can remember as to how well that I played and stuff like
that, but I’m not here just to play softball or just to play volleyball; I’m here to get
an education, and learn and grow as a person. So, I hope that’s how they can remember me.
>>Angie Nicholson: She totally leads by example.
I mean, everything she does. As a player, you cannot question anything,
because she’s doing what she’s asking you to do.
So, you can’t say, well, you don’t do it. Everything is by example.
She is a great kid, in and out of the classroom, she works her tail off, and she just does
everything; she’s a perfect role model in every single way.
And you know, everything about it’s positive. Nothing’s negative.
And when you look at her, it just puts a smile on your face, and you want to do everything
she’s asking you to do.>>Reynae Hutchinson:
I cannot explain how fast it has gone. You know, I got here as a freshman, and talking
to the seniors on the volleyball team, they’re all, oh, it goes by so fast.
It’s just like that, like it went by like lightning.
And I as a freshman, I’m like, eh, it’s four years.
Not a big deal. Four years is four years.
But I, when volleyball season ended, I was like, that was four years.
And so, I think at the end of softball season, I’m going to be even more shocked, because
that’s another four years of softball that’s gone by.
And I just can’t, honestly, I can’t believe how fast it went.
It was four years, but it doesn’t seem like four years.
>>Brad Kupiec: Reporting for Panther Sports Talk, I’m Brad
Kupiec.>>Rameen Karbassioon:
Production for Panther Sports Talk is brought to you in part by:
Johnson’s Automotive Service is a proud supporter of Panther Sports on WEIU.
Johnson’s is a complete car facility for all your automotive repair and maintenance needs.
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[music plays]

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