Panther Sports Talk, April 30th, 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. On today’s program, we’re talking softball,
baseball, and a little spring football. We’ll kick it off with EIU Women’s Softball
Coach Angie Nicholson. And Coach, last week, five games, all nail
biters, all decided by one run. And out of the five, when we talked about
them, the three that you needed to win are the three that you did win.
>>Angie Nicholson: Yeah, we completely planned that.
We wanted to keep the crowd there and make it a little exciting for senior weekend.
>>Rich Moser: Now, the way the series went last week, you
guys played two against Butler, one run losses, then you came back and won all three against
Austin Peay. Three, like we talked about, mattered in terms
of conference play. I guess, what was the message to the team
going into the Austin Peay series after ending the 11 game winning streak against Butler?
>>Angie Nicholson: It’s the same message every week.
We’ve just got to play our game, and we’ve got to, like, we’ve preached all year about
leaving your mark, trying to leave your mark and win.
And you know, what do we want Eastern softball to be known for.
And so, that was, we had a long talk after the Butler series about what do we want to
be known for, what do we want to leave our mark, you know, what do we want everyone to
say about us. And you know, we’re just trying to get them
to understand, you know, we’ve got to go in, and we’ve got to take care of our business.
So, that’s what we’re trying to do.>>Rich Moser:
Now, you talked about the two games against Butler.
You came in there, you were riding an 11 game win streak.
Give the young lady credit that went out for them and pitched a great game.
You guys had a great effort there, as well. Unfortunately, sometimes when, really one
hit ended up being the difference in the game, a ball that just got over the head of the
outfielder, and they were able to score. And that ended up being the difference in
that one-run game.>>Angie Nicholson:
Yeah, you know, Steph Maday, who has been pitching so good, you know, coming on strong
here lately, and she pitched a great game. And she gives up that one hit, which was off
of our fielder’s glove. And you know, our fielder tried to make a
nice play on it, and then, you know, so they had a runner on third with no outs, and all
they did was, you know, go to the second baseman with a ground ball and score her.
And you know, we need to be better than that offensively.
We have got to be better offensively, we’ve got to put up the runs.
That should not happen for Maday and, you know, our defense, that one hit.
We’re better than that.>>Rich Moser:
Now, I was going to ask you a question about that.
It was unusual for me. Now, I don’t watch every softball game, and
I know your’e out there. But I don’t recall seeing a lot of left-handed
softball pitchers. That seems to be a rarity.
In baseball, that seems to be, you seem to see it more.
I mean, as a coach, is that something? I’m assuming you don’t have one on your staff
that throws left-handed batting practice, and is that an adjustment that the team maybe
struggled with there?>>Angie Nicholson:
No, you know, I don’t think so. I don’t think it’s…
You know, we’re going to face Chambers from SIU-E, and she’s a lefty.
Is it different? I mean, yeah, the ball would break a different
way, but you know, no. At the end of the day, we just didn’t hit
her. We just didn’t make adjustments, and we didn’t
hit. But you know, you don’t come across lefties
too often, but it’s, you know, when you come across them, it’s not that much different.
>>Rich Moser: Now, you guys came back in the weekend series
that we talked about, and actually, you ended up wining all three games.
And the two you won on Saturday both kind of had to win coming from behind, in the fact
that won it in the last inning.>>Angie Nicholson:
Yeah. Yeah, I mean, I just, I don’t know.
This team has done that a lot. You know, they’re hanging in games, we’re
hanging in games, and we like to come on at the end.
You know, from middle to end of the game, we like to come on.
It takes us a while to get adjusted, and all of a sudden, we come out of nowhere, and we
do what we need to do. I don’t like that as a coach.
I know my pitchers don’t like that. But the good thing is we are confident that
we’ll do that. So, I do know that they feel good about themselves
going into, you know, the sixth or seventh inning.
And they’re okay with being down, which is a good feeling.
But I’d rather us score a lot earlier, and not have to worry about that.
>>Rich Moser: Now, one of the players who’s been playing
well for you guys, we talked a little about her last week, is Jennette Isaac.
She seems to have kind of solidified herself in the lead-off spot, was leading the team
going into the week, in terms of batting average. And I guess that’s what you want her to do,
even if she’s not, maybe, scoring a lot of runs or doing, driving in a lot of runs with
your people at the bottom of the line-up. The fact that she’s able to take a lot of
pitches and put the ball in play probably sets the tone for the rest of the game.
>>Angie Nicholson: Yeah, she’s done a nice job of learning her
role, you know, with not hitting at all last year, and then coming in and, you know, coming
into that lead spot. She is doing her job.
She is taking the pitches, she’s having good at bats, she’s finding a way to get on, whether
it’s hitting, bunting, slapping. She’s kind of doing a little bit of everything,
keeping the defense on their toes. And you know, setting that table and getting
a runner on, that’s huge, you know. We just need everyone else to do their jobs
behind her.>>Rich Moser:
Now, you guys head into a big regular season ending series at SIU-Edwardsville.
Your first time playing them, the teams didn’t really play each other last year, because
that series got rained out. I guess you’ve talked to enough other coaches
throughout the course of the season. What are you going to expect from them this
weekend?>>Angie Nicholson:
We were actually able to see them at Jackson State.
When we went down and played early in the season, I think it was March or February,
they were in the same tournament. We didn’t play them, but we were in the same
tournament. So, they actually played before us, so we
were able to watch them twice. And you know, just reading from what they’ve
done in the past and watching them play, and seeing them this year, they’re a good, strong,
fundamental team. They’ve got a great pitcher.
They do a lot of the little things right. And you know, it’s going to be a battle.
It’s going to be a battle, and you know, that’s the way we want to end.
We want to battle with somebody.>>Rich Moser:
Now, the other thing that’s still alive this weekend is based on how the outcome of your
games at SIU-Edwardsville and the Jacksonville State series, there is an opportunity for
you guys to host. Are the girls aware of that?
I know as a coach, you are, because coaches like to look at those numbers.
But is the team aware of maybe what’s in front of them, and what they have to do to be at
home for the OVC tournament?>>Angie Nicholson:
Oh yeah. They’re very well aware, because it’s also
finals week for us. We’re trying to figure out, you know, if we
need to schedule our finals sooner, or what we’re going to be doing.
So, we’ve talked about all the different scenarios and what exactly needs to be done.
Of course they want to host; they want to stay home.
You know, they like to sleep in their own beds, and all those good things, and not be
on the road. But you know, I mean they’ve got to take care
of business, and then we’ve got to let the softball gods take care of the other end.
>>Rich Moser: Alrighty.
Well, best of luck this weekend, Coach. They’ll be over at SIU-Edwardsville this weekend.
It’ll be on Saturday, one o’clock double header, Sunday a single game, against SIU-Edwardsville.
If the Panthers win all three, then they’re in a good position to try to host the OVC
tournament, which would be the following weekend. And we would talk about that next week.
And no matter what, next week we’re going to talk about the OVC tournament.
You guys are already in there for yet another year, so congratulations.
And I know the goals are still greater than that, but getting in is usually the first
step in the process. Be right back with this week in EIU Athletics.
>>Rameen Karbassioon: Panther fans, here’s what’s going on in Panther
Athletics. Baseball now 14-28-1 overall, and 12-1 in
OVC play, after they went 2-1-1 this past week.
After losing at Illinois 3-2 last Tuesday, they won two out of three games against OVC
rival Belmont at Coaches Stadium. Game three of the series was tied in the 10th
inning when it was called due to weather related issues.
And prior to the airing of this show on Tuesday, the Panthers were at St. Louis for a night
game. Check out eiupanthers.com for the results
and stats of that game. Softball now 37-13 overall, and 17-4 in OVC
play. As the Panthers went 3-2 this past week.
They lost a double header over at Williams Field last Wednesday in non-conference play
against Butler, and then swept the series this past weekend against OVC rival Austin
Peay. Track with two meets this week.
Both the men and women won last Tuesday in the Tuesday Tweener over at O’Brien Field
against Indiana State. And then, this past weekend select Panther
athletes were at the Drake Relays in Des Moines, Iowa.
The Panthers claimed one first place victory, as Peter Gergahty won the pole vault event.
Women’s golf completed their season as they placed ninth at the OVC golf championships.
Elyse Banovic placed 33rd overall for the Panthers.
And men’s golf also completed their season, as they placed seventh overall at the OVC
golf championships. Oscar Borda and James Jansen tied for 22nd
place. And Panther football had their annual spring
game at O’Brien Field. The blue team was victorious, 31-0.
Now, here’s what to watch for this week. On Friday, track begins a two-day run at the
OVC outdoor track championships in Edwardsville, Illinois.
Competition starts at nine in the morning. Baseball begins a three-game series against
OVC rival Eastern Kentucky, with game one of the series slated to start at four o’clock.
On Saturday, track wraps up competition at the OVC outdoor championships, with competition
starting at nine in the morning. Softball’s also in Edwardsville, Illinois,
as they take on OVC West rival SIU-Edwardsville. Panthers and Cougars will play a double header,
with game one slated to start at one o’clock. Baseball with game two of their three-game
series at Eastern Kentucky. That game is slated to start at two o’clock.
On Sunday, both softball and baseball wrap up their respective three-game series.
Softball at SIU-Edwardsville at one o’clock, and baseball at Eastern Kentucky also at one
o’clock. And next Wednesday, May 7, softball begins
play at the OVC softball championships, location and times to be determined.
For Panther Sports Talk, I’m Rameen Karbassioon.>>Rich Moser:
Welcome back to Panther Sports Talk. We’re now joined by EIU Baseball Coach Jimmy
Schmitz. And Coach, last week we talked about, how
we talked about the schedule’s going to come back to you, in terms of using coach speak
and sports speak. The first of those four weekends, in terms
of the teams you’re going to play, are at the bottom of the standings.
This past weekend, you guys were able to get that first series against Belmont, and continue
to stay right in the OVC tournament race.>>Jim Schmitz:
Yeah, it was a big weekend. I mean, two wins, obviously the tie yesterday,
just happened. The weather wasn’t allowing us to get that
game in, but you know, right now, you know, we’re tied with Belmont, we’re in the tournament.
So, we’ve got that, we’ve got EKU this weekend, then Moorhead, and then Martin.
Two people, EKU and Moorhead are right above us a game and a half, so you go in there and
you win two, and you know, you find yourself in a position to, that last weekend, have
a chance to really play for something. So, real happy with how we played offensively.
I think we really started scoring the way I thought we would.
So, starting to really come into play.>>Rich Moser:
Now, I was out there for part of the series over the course of the weekend.
It looked like you guys were able to put the offense together.
And you put it together in one or two big innings which, in baseball, it can be the
difference in how the final outcome of the game goes.
And you guys were able to do that twice out there, out of the two games that you won on
Saturday.>>Jim Schmitz:
We really did. They have two left-handed pitchers that statistics,
and walks, and strikes are phenomenal. We said hey, we’re going to, you know, have
to be patient with it, and I think I said on Friday five of the ten runs we scored were
walks or hit by pitches. So, the guys are starting to understand what
we’re trying to do. We’re not going to power people.
We have to get on base in different ways. And so, it was exciting to see that come together.
You know, yesterday was just, you know, the weather was a really difficult day with the
wind blowing and the rain. But you know, being able to score 17 runs
in two games against a really, really good pitching team gives our offense a lot of confidence
right now.>>Rich Moser:
You guys were able to do that through all parts of the line-up.
You had different guys contributing throughout the course of the weekend.
And we’ve talked about that over the last couple weekends, and we’ve singled out a guy
here and a guy there, but it seems that you’re starting to get that on more of a regular
basis, not just during a weekend, but during an individual game.
>>Jim Schmitz: Yeah, I think it’s, you know, I think I mentioned
it last week, I think we played with the line-up a little too much.
You know, we got Cam Berra now batting behind Valach, and he’s really knocking in guys.
So, we’re trying to protect our RBI guys. And you know, Valach is healthy, he’s protecting
Demetre. So, for a while there, we didn’t have that.
And so, we really have a line-up, I feel seven, really, deep that allows us to, you better
pitch to this guy, or the guy behind him is going to knock him in.
And then, like I said, guys are going after what that pitcher gives them, not trying to
do too much. And so, again, all those things are coming
together. And like I said, we feel real good.
>>Rich Moser: Now, when you go into a series, you guys are
able, because you were able to get those big innings and be ahead, probably able to conserve
a little bit of your bullpen on Friday and Saturday.
How did that then, in turn, factor into the game Sunday, where you guys really played
this start/stop push. And a lot of times, like people see on TV
in some of the major league games, where you play for three or four innings, then this
guy comes out because it’s a five minute rain delay, and you’re not going to put him back
in. So, I guess you really had to have a good,
deep bullpen to be competitive yesterday.>>Jim Schmitz:
We did, and that was the nice part about Saturday, that we were able to score runs and not go
into that. Joe Greenfield pitched and had about an hour
or so delay. We just felt you can’t put a guy back out
there for injury-wise. Jaden Widdersheim came in, Ben Kennedy, Jake
Haberer. So, you know, we’re feeling better about the
bullpen. Troy Barton was just outstanding.
On Saturday, we kind of maybe extended him a little too much, because we really wanted,
obviously, to win game two. But again, same way as the bullpen, I think
the rotation in the line-up; everyone’s starting to know what the rules are.
And when you do that, you know, again, you don’t have to do too much.
Just come do your job, and someone else will pick you up.
>>Rich Moser: Now, the other thing that was over the course
of the weekend that was a big thing is on Saturday, prior to the game they kind of had
the 20 years you’ve been here at Eastern. A collection of former players came back,
in accordance with the current team. And I know you also had friends and family
here. I guess, kind of take us through that experience.
20 years comes down to, really celebrated in about 15 minutes before a game.
So, I guess, it must have been nice to see some of those guys back.
>>Jim Schmitz: It, you know, again, it was really a fun day
for me. I just got choked up a little bit, because
you know, 20 years is 20 years. And I got a lot of texts, I got a lot of emails,
phone calls from players who could not be here, with prior engagements.
You know, for me, you know, Eastern’s been really good to me.
And just the chance to have those guys come back and say thank you, or they had a good
time. So, it was really nice.
And obviously, we played well. They complimented the team afterward, so the
guys kind of know how we like to play baseball here, and our guys went out and did it again.
So, it was really a nice day. Excited for the guys that did come back, and
appreciated what Eastern kind of did for me then.
>>Rich Moser: Now, looking forward to this big series this
weekend against Eastern Kentucky. I guess, how have you guys, already got a
scouting report on the Colonels, or is this something you’ll still develop over the course
of the week?>>Jim Schmitz:
Well, I mean they’re very similar to the last couple teams we’ve been playing: SEMO and
Belmont really run a little bit. So, you know, the offense that they generate
comes from can they get on base, and can they steal base with just the normal hitting.
So, it’s kind of weird. The last couple weeks it will go the other
way. Moorhead and Tennessee Martin are kind of
station to station. So, you know, we’ve been, John Devito’s been
catching. At the Illinois game, he threw three out of
five guys out. So, he’s done an outstanding job back there
trying to shut down the running game. So, you know, it’s OVC play, it’s the end
of the year. You’re either fighting to get in the tournament
or fighting to get into the two slot. There’s really no difference this year than
it has been in the last five years. So, you know, we just told the team it can
be a lot of fun if you look at it that way, and just try to knock EKU out by going out
there and winning two.>>Rich Moser:
Alright, Coach. Best of luck over there this weekend.
We’ll talk to you next week about the final two weekends of the series, and kind of what
Eastern needs to do to get into the OVC tournament. Reminder: that will be over at Eastern Kentucky
this weekend, on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Softball will have a big series at SIU-Edwardsville,
and also track is over there for the conference championships.
When we come back, we’re going to have a few minutes with EIU Football Coach Kim Dameron,
and talk about how spring football practice went.
We’ll be right back, here on Panther Sports Talk on WEIU.
>>Mike Bradd: Garoppolo back, pump fake, in trouble, rolling
to the right. Jimmy looking into the end zone, rolling out
to the right. Throws over to the middle!
Touchdown!>>Rameen Karbassioon:
On the season finale of Panther Sports Talk, it’s the conclusion to a record breaking career
at Eastern Illinois for quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo.
From the Panthers making another post-season appearance to winning the Walter Payton award,
as well as the all star games, workouts, and NFL draft, it’s Jimmy Garoppolo’s journey
to pro football. It’s the season finale of Panther Sports Talk,
Wednesday, May 14 at 6:30, on WEIU.>>Rich Moser:
And welcome back to Panther Sports Talk. I’m now joined by EIU first year Head Coach
Kim Dameron. We’ll see him a lot more in the fall when
football season rolls around. But Coach, as the way seasons go for football,
coaching staffs typically come in, I guess, in January, in the winter, and get their first
taste of experience on campus and get a look at the guys during spring football.
And you guys just wrapped up with that with a spring game on Saturday.
>>Kim Dameron: Absolutely.
We had a great day Saturday. Beautiful weather, as always in Charleston,
and we had a great day. Had some fans out.
The kids competed hard, and I was really pleased with the way the whole day went.
>>Rich Moser: Now, the way this has went for you this year,
you guys actually got hired a little bit later than, I guess some staffs get hired.
I mean, maybe throughout your long career, this was all along the way, but it always
seems to be right in the middle of recruiting season.
So, you guys hit the ground running, and I think pretty happy with what you guys turned
up for your first recruiting class.>>Kim Dameron:
Absolutely. In three weeks, I thought we really put together
a heck of a class. A lot of the signees were here on Saturday.
It was good to get to see them again also, as well as we had a couple of recruits in
on Saturday also. So, yeah, recruiting has been a major emphasis.
It’s never too far from your mind, because that is the lifeblood of what we do.
And so, we’ve been very fortunate that some of the kids that we were able to sign this
past class, we really feel like are going to be able to come in and possibly help us,
maybe even as freshmen.>>Rich Moser:
Now, your mantra as a coach has been as a defensive coordinator, and a defensive side
of the ball almost your entire career. A new role for you as head coach.
I guess you can actually cheer for the offense. I’ve heard you even say that.
And you want both sides to do well. I guess, how did you evaluate both sides?
I don’t know how much you’ve looked at the film already from Saturday.
>>Kim Dameron: Yeah, well it’s difficult because, like you
said, I’m used to wanting to go out there and have a, you know, 0-0 tie, but I can’t
be that way now. But it was fun.
I had a ball, you know, all spring, starting. And being able to get back on the offensive
side a little bit. I haven’t really been able to do that since
I was a very, very young coach. But I was pleased with the way they competed.
I was, I liked the fact that, and we did, you know, the blue team was basically our
ones, against everybody else. And I felt like that they showed why they’re
the ones. And so, you know, we’re excited about where
we are. We feel like we’re on schedule, and we feel
like, you know, going into the fall that we’re right where we need to be.
>>Rich Moser: Now, a lot of times when coaching staffs come
in, there seems to be a lot of turnover in terms of a lot of guys just graduated or weren’t
very good, so the staff was dismissed and a new staff’s coming in.
I know people talk about the, Jimmy Garoppolo and Erik Lora left, and there’s no doubt it’s
going to be hard to replace them. But the cupboard is not exactly empty.
And I think the message to get to people is you return seven pretty good starters on both
sides of the ball.>>Kim Dameron:
Absolutely. We’re very fortunate.
One of the things that I said when I first came here, and came for the interview, was
that I was excited about the opportunity to come in here and take over a program that
wasn’t broken. Because, I’ve been through those in other
instances, where you go in and it’s just completely broken, and the reason you’re there is because
it is. That wasn’t the case here.
Obviously, you know, you’d love to have Jimmy and Erik back.
It was good to have them back on Saturday; I just wish they had been playing.
No, but we do. We’ve got some players coming back that have
played a lot of football at this level and have won a lot of games.
And so, you know, we’ve got to plug some holes, obviously we’ve got to play well at quarterback.
We’ve got to get somebody, and you know, right now it’s Andrew Manley.
And so, we’re excited about, you know, the possibilities for next fall just because of
the leadership and the experience we do have with seven returning starters on both sides
of the ball.>>Rich Moser:
Now, you talk about Andrew Manley’s kind of won the job.
You’re only going to have him for one year, if indeed he is the guy.
When you put in a playbook, I guess from the offensive side of the standpoint, are there
parts that are designed for him, or will he just adapt what’s going to be the system for
a couple years under you as the head coach?>>Kim Dameron:
Well, the answer to that question is yes, both.
Some of the things that we do, obviously, will be designed around what he does best
or, you know, really we have packages for, you know, the quarterbacks, whoever the backup
would be. Because, his catalogue of plays might be a
little different than the starter. But they all have to be able to fall within
this system that is in place. And so, that’s the great thing about Coach
Stevens’ system, is we’re flexible enough that we can be fast paced, all throw, or also
we’re flexible enough that we can slow it down if we need to, we can run the football,
we can run it with the quarterback, we can run it with tailbacks, we can run it with
wide receivers. So, I mean, we feel like right now we have
the type of system that we need for all, for all types of games and all types of components.
And we just need to find out what, you know, if Andrew’s the guy going forward, when we
get into game planning for that first game, we’ll be doing the things that he does best.
>>Rich Moser: Now, you mentioned that, and we’ll wrap up
here with the last question, first game you play a Big 10 member, Minnesota.
Still about four months away before that. What is the task, I guess, for the coaching
staff, and then for the players, in order to be prepared to run out there in Minneapolis
in about four months?>>Kim Dameron:
Well, the number one thing we have to do is evaluate our players.
Right now, we’re going through some player evaluation meetings this week.
We’re sitting down with each one of them and letting them know what we see, what they think,
where we see them in the fall. We want them to know going into the summer
this is where you are right now. We need to have a great summer.
We need to have guys that, you know, we’re going to be some that are in school and be
here for summer conditioning and all that stuff.
We need to have a great summer as a football team, and we need go into fall camp, stay
healthy, and continue to get better, and integrate some of these freshmen here with what we’re
doing. And then, and we’ve got to keep on top of
all that. So, there’s not really any time to just kind
of chill and not do anything. We’re going to be pretty busy.
But I really feel like this football team will be ready to go when we go into Minneapolis.
>>Rich Moser: Alright, Coach.
Good luck, and I know you guys are going to have a very busy season.
We’ll be back, we’ll be talking a lot more football in the fall with Coach Dameron, he’ll
be here in the fall every week as we go through the season.
The opener is August 28 against Minnesota, but a lot of time between now and then.
Coach, congratulations on a good spring game. We’re going to wrap up this edition of Panther
Sports Talk, right here on WEIU.[Football and Music Sounds]
>>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. [music plays]

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