Likas | Future remains bright for SJ-O's Dowling

ST. JOSEPH — A pair of 40-yard runs. Eight ground balls. Twenty swings of the bat.

Bailey Dowling has faced plenty of softball-related challenges. Even as just a junior at St. Joseph-Ogden High School.

It's part of the territory if one wants to be a reigning Gatorade Player of the Year and two-time News-Gazette All-Area softball Player of the Year.

Dowling lands on Team USA

Bailey Dowling’s softball success has already reached across the area and state.

Now, the St. Joseph-Ogden junior and Alabama commit is part of Team USA.

Prep pulse: Dec. 24, 2018

Overshadowed by recent news of IHSA football going to a district scheduling format was a report just a short time earlier that affects many other high school sports.

Last Monday, the IHSA released enrollment classifications for fall sports during the 2019-2020 and 2020-21 school years. This is the first piece of the IHSA's new two-year classification format.

Signing Day 2018-19: Locals heading to college

Photos from local high school athletes during the 2018-19 school year signing with their various colleges to continue athletic careers. Submit your photo at

Prep pulse: October 22, 2018

On Sept. 1, Madi Eberle became a very popular person.

In an official sense, anyway. That was the date college softball teams could contact her, in accordance with an NCAA recruitment rule.

"I had so many phone calls," the Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley junior said. "I never thought it'd be like that."

Centennial announces 2019 Athletics Hall of Fame class

CHAMPAIGN -- Eleven individuals will be inducted into the Centennial High School Athletics Hall of Fame next year, Unit 4 Schools announced Monday.

This is the second group selected to the Chargers' hall. It indclues a variety of athletes, with one alumnus from 1970 and another from 2010.

Prep pulse: Oct. 1, 2018

Larry Sparks provided one guarantee for the St. Joseph-Ogden administration when applying for its open softball job.

"I wasn't going to be around for 39 years," the 51-year-old said.

Prep pulse: August 27, 2018

Among the many pieces we dedicate to area high school sports is our Athlete of the Week feature, which began last Wednesday with Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley boys' golfer Connor Birky and Tuscola girls' golfer Claire Ring.

Prep pulse: Aug. 6, 2018

A trio of reigning News-Gazette All-Area softball athletes had a pretty good time in Huntington Beach, Calif., last week.

No, they weren't on vacation. The three local stars — St. Joseph-Ogden junior Hannah Dukeman, Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley junior Madi Eberle and Argenta-Oreana senior Camilyn Newbanks — suited up for the Premier Fastpitch Paulson 2001 squad, based out of Mattoon.

Bacys has Danville's seal of approval

DANVILLE — For the last 11 years, B.J. Luke sat at the top tier of Danville High School sports.

That changed last week when Luke retired from his role as athletic director. It didn't take him long to espouse the new man in charge.

"He'll do a nice job for us," Luke said. "And he dresses better than I do."