Rossow: Illini long on praise for Shorty

Shorty Eichelberger got off easy last weekend. All she had to do was hold a shovel and smile for the cameras.

But the next time Illinois salutes the Champaign woman for her family's seven-figure gift to build the university's snazzy softball complex – probably at next season's home opener – the ceremony will require much more.

Time well spent

She was hired last June as a softball coach, whose charge was to start a program at the University of Illinois and build into one that could be competitive in the traditionally-tough Big Ten.

Terri Sullivan has yet to use a day of vacation time. And don't look for her to take a break any time soon.

Triple the fun for UI''s Jones

   MUNCIE, Ind.  Coach Terri Sullivan had a smile and a warm greeting for Illini left fielder Jean Jones as she slid into third base with a triple.

   "Been there. Done that," Jones said.

UI softball squad includes former area stars

   URBANA  There are six pitchers, one of whom is a left-hander.

   There are four catchers, none of whom are left-handed.

   There are 12 infielders and 14 outfielders, some of whom are left-handed.

UI softball lands Pluta

   The University of Illinois'' softball recruiting class is growing. The fourth and latest high school senior to commit orally to the Illini is first baseman Bridget Pluta of South Bend (Ind.) St. Joseph, a school of 760 students.

UI softball nabs recruit

   The Illinois softball program got its first prep recruiting commitment this morning, when Buffalo Grove senior shortstop Lindsey Hamma made an oral promise to play for coach Terri Sullivan''s first Illini class.

Energetic new softball coach ready to lift off

   CHAMPAIGN  Forget about trying to contact Terri Sullivan next week. Illinois'' first softball coach will be far too busy to handle many phone calls. Unless you happen to be a recently graduated high school softball player.

   "We''ll be in Colorado on Tuesday and the whole summer we''ll be running around from tournament to tournament, just spreading the word about Illinois," said Sullivan, announced Wednesday as the leader of the UI''s newest program. "You can''t win without good recruits. That''s the prime agenda."

UI plays catch-up on softball scene

When Ron Guenther set out several years to add two women''s sports programs to his University of Illinois athletic menu, the athletic director did some numbers crunching.

Working up a budget to accommodate two more teams was, of course, part of this process. But Guenther also poured over some other figures that would figure prominently in his selection of sports.