BROADLANDS — Heritage’s Stephanie Sanderson, an All-Area second-team selection as a junior outfielder, will play softball at Kankakee Community College. Sanderson batted .535 (61 for 114) for a 28-4 team. She also stole 33 bases and was fourth in the area in runs (57).
She will sign her letter of intent Thursday.
Danville standout picks EIU
DANVILLE — Senior Chase Thurston, an All-Area second-team baseball infielder as a junior last spring at Danville, committed to Eastern Illinois, where he will be a preferred walk-on.
Thurston also pitched for the Vikings, a 22-15 team that reached the Class 3A super-sectional. He was 7-3 and had 60 strikeouts. Thurston batted .375 (36 for 96) and drove in 17 runs.
The lead EIU recruiters were two former Danville athletes, UI graduate Jason Anderson and Purdue product Ben Wolgamot. They are assistants on the Panthers’ staff.
Thurston is the second Danville baseball player to commit to a Division I program. Catcher Chuckie Robinson, the reigning Area Player of the Year, announced his intentions to enroll at Southern Mississippi.
M-S teammates make choices
MAHOMET — Senior Alie Tarrant signed a letter of intent to play softball at Butler next school year. Coach Scott Hall, whose school participates in the Atlantic 10 Conference, said Tarrant “has the potential to help us right away.”
A pitcher and infielder for M-S, Tarrant is projected as a position player at Butler, which also signed Kacey Starwalt, from Mattoon, who has won 67 games in her first three years with the Green Wave.
Tarrant, an All-Area second-teamer last year, won 13 games and struck out 174 batters last spring for the 21-16 Bulldogs. She batted .422 (46 for 109) and had three home runs and 47 RBI.
Two other M-S softball players will continue their careers in college. Ally Thornton, an infielder and catcher, committed to Danville Area Community College. Outfielder Vanessa Heinold will attend Olney Central College. Heinold, an All-Area honorable mention choice as a junior, batted .390 (41 for 105) and stole 33 bases. She had 16 RBI.
Several other M-S softball seniors still are considering their options.
Hoopeston creates Hall
HOOPESTON — Twenty-six former athletes and six teams were in the inaugural Hall of Fame class at Hoopeston Area High School. The inductions were in November.
Inducted in the athlete category were Ohio State men’s basketball coach Thad Matta and Scott Eells, who went on to play basketball at Indiana and was on the Hoosiers’ unbeaten 1976 team.
Other former athletes recognized were Harland Cade (football), Jill Doty Misner (track and field), David Grant (wrestling), Harry Gudeman (basketball), Mike Hatfield (track and field), Greg Matta (basketball), Bob Merritt (football), Tony Montez (wrestling), Herb Neathery (football), Robyn Read (volleyball), Herb Reed (football), Kevin Root (basketball) and Jeff Stipp (cross-country).
Former coaches, friends and administrators who were enshrined included Wayne Bandy, Glenn Brasel, Ed Byrd, Beth Carpenter, Randy Feller, Dick Hobbs, James Hopkins, Jim Matta, Jim Richards, Quentin Ryder and Eileen Vines.
The teams honored in the first Hall of Fame class were 1974 girls’ bowling, 1979 boys’ cross-country, 1985 and 1986 boys’ basketball, 1987 girls’ track and field and 1989 volleyball.
Kirby doing big college things
ST. LOUIS — Former Area Player of the Year Mandy Kirby, from Urbana, has started all 16 games for Missouri Baptist’s 6-10 women’s basketball team. She is averaging 10.2 points while playing an average of 29.7 minutes per game. The 5-foot-5 Kirby leads the team in assists (64), is second in rebounding (71) and leads in free throws attempted (55). She is shooting 61.8 percent from the line.
Of her 59 field goals, 11 have been three-pointers.
One of her teammates is senior Lauren Taylor, a former Sullivan and Parkland College standout. Taylor is averaging 10.9 points and 2.8 rebounds while playing an average of 26.0 minutes per game.
Kirby had a team-high 13 points Saturday as the team won its third game in a row, 73-53 in Springfield against Benedictine.
Overstreet excelling at IWU
BLOOMINGTON — Sophomore Dylan Overstreet, a 6-3 guard from Paxton-Buckley-Loda, is one of two Illinois Wesleyan athletes who have started every game for the 12-3 Titans’ men’s basketball team. Overstreet, the 2011 Area Player of the Year, is averaging 8.6 points and 2.7 rebounds per game. He has a team-high 18 three-pointers and also leads IWU in assists (61). He was the team’s top scorer in two of its wins. From the free throw line, Overstreet has hit 68.9 percent of his attempts (31 of 45).