Pioneers Baseball Program to Host 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament [November 11, 2014]
The Prairie State College baseball team will host the first annual “Gobbler Cup 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament” on Friday, November 21 in the Prairie Center.
There will be a $50.00 entry fee for all teams. Squads must have a minimum of three players with a maximum of five.
Entry fees from the tournament will be used to offset travel costs and expenses for the PSC baseball program.
Team captains can pick up their team registration form in the PSC Athletic Department Office or by contacting PSC head baseball coach, Mark Hernandez at email@example.com.
All completed forms must be received by 3 p.m. on Tuesday, November 18.
Prizes will be awarded to the first-place team and the team with the best costumes.
PSC Baseball Program to Hold Summer Exposure Camp for Unsigned High School Players [July 24, 2014]
The Prairie State College baseball program will hold a one-day Summer Exposure Camp on the baseball field at the Pioneer Athletic Park (197th Place and Halsted Street, Chicago Heights, IL ) on August 3, 2014. All 2015 high school seniors, unsigned high school graduates and reverse college transfers are encouraged to attend.
The camp will run from 12 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. A one-hour registration period will be held from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. There will be a $25.00 charge for all camp participants.
Participants will be put through the paces of a professional-style workout with an opportunity to “showcase” their ability to the Prairie State College baseball staff.
For additional information, please contact Prairie State College head baseball coach Mark Hernandez (630-877-4460) or Prairie State College Coordinator of Sports Information Chris Kuchta (708-709-3950).
Reiher Makes History, Becomes First PSC Baseball Player to be Selected in MLB Draft [June 7, 2014]
File Photo By Charles Beard Jr.
Every collegiate baseball player dreams of the day when his phone will ring and on the other side will be the scouting director of a major league team.
That day came for Prairie State College freshman catcher Kevin Reiher (Eisenhower H.S.) Saturday afternoon as a lifetime’s worth of hard work came to fruition in an instant.
The 5-foot-10, 190-pound Reiher was selected by the Atlanta Braves in the 24th round of the 2014 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft.
Reiher was the 733rd pick of the draft and is the first PSC player ever to be selected.
A rifle-armed backstop who helped lead the Pioneers to a second consecutive NJCAA Region IV Sectional title this season, Reiher threw out 23 of 26 would-be base stealers in 2014. He also made just four errors in 178 total chances (.978 fielding percentage).
File Photo By Charles Beard Jr.
Reiher wasn’t just a defensive force either.
Hitting in the cleanup spot for the bulk of the 2014 campaign, Reiher batted .351 with four home runs and 28 RBIs.
Reiher’s most significant offensive day of the slate came in the Pioneers’ 12-6 sectional-clinching triumph over Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference counterpart Elgin on May 11. Reiher went 2-for-5 that day with 5 RBIs, including a go-ahead three-run homer to dead center field.
For the season, Reiher posted 11 multiple-hit contests.
He also registered a multiple home run contest against league foe McHenry (April 12), when he lifted a pair of long solo home runs in a 4-for-4, three run performance.
If he chooses to sign with Atlanta, Reiher will most likely begin his professional career at the “rookie ball” level with the Danville (Va.) Braves of the Appalachian League.
Reiher was both an NJCAA All-Region IV and All-Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference selection in 2014.
Plethora of Pioneers Find Their Way onto All-Region IV and All-Skyway Teams [June 4, 2014]
Contrary to popular belief, the college baseball season doesn’t begin with the first contest on a respective team’s schedule.
It actually happens months before that when temperatures outside read below zero and baseball practices are held indoors during pre-dawn sessions.
Needless to say, incredible amounts of hard work, discipline and dedication go into making it through a full season of college baseball.
That said, the Prairie State College Athletic Department was pleased to recently learn that several PSC baseball players received some high recognition for their commitment to their sport.
Four Pioneers claimed spots on the NJCAA All-Region IV Team while seven PSC players locked up slots on the All-Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference Team.
The Pioneers, who closed out the 2014 season at 28-17 and with an NJCAA Sectional title firmly in hand, saw sophomore shortstop Bobby Sheppard (Oak Forest H.S.) selected to both the all-region and all-conference first teams.
Sheppard, now a two-time all-region and all-conference performer, was the 2013 Skyway Conference Most Valuable Player. The 6-foot, 180-pound shortstop batted .353 during the regular season and .395 in league action during the 2014 campaign.
Sophomore outfielder Carter Bialka (Lincoln-Way North H.S.), along with sophomore pitcher John Swisher (Peotone H.S.) and freshman pitcher Conner Ryan (Lockport H.S.) were all tabbed to the second team.
In addition to Sheppard, Swisher, sophomore outfielder Dan Ohde (Brother Rice H.S.) and freshman outfielder Nico Kelly (Homewood-Flossmoor) all earned spots on the All-Skyway First-Team .
Freshman catcher Kevin Reiher (Eisenhower H.S.) along with Ryan and Bialka, were all selected to the league’s second team.
ELGIN, Ill. --- Last season, then Prairie State College freshman pitcher Joe Prete (Stagg H.S.) put on quite a show of endurance, working the final 13.2 innings of the NJCAA Region IV McHenry Sectional.
Sunday afternoon at the Elgin Sectional, Prete added to his legendary status, capping off a tremendous weekend of baseball and helping hoist PSC to a second consecutive sectional championship.
The Pioneers (28-16) locked up the sectional crown courtesy of a convincing 12-6 triumph over host Elgin.
The win marked the second time in as many days that PSC had knocked off the Spartans in the double-elimination tournament. Prairie State played the minimum three games on the weekend.
The Pioneers opened post-season play with a 14-6 victory over Carl Sandburg on Saturday, before outlasting Elgin 5-4 in a 10-inning contest later that day.
In the clincher, Prete worked eight workmanlike innings, surrendering six runs on 12 hits while walking two and striking out five.
Prete’s most impressive frame came in the fifth when he loaded the bases before preceding to strike out the side, effectively taking the wind out of the Spartans’ collective sail.
Prete took the mound in the ninth and allowed a run on three hits before giving way to freshman hurler Conner Ryan (Lockport H.S.), who retired all three hitters he faced via a pair of punchouts and game-ending lineout to sophomore second baseman Mark Kane (Andrew H.S.).
PSC fell behind 3-0 following a controversial first-inning three-run home run.
The Pioneers answered right back in the home half of the frame, tallying three times, thanks in part to a two-run double off the bat of freshman designated hitter Cody Vogler (Lincoln-Way North H.S.).
PSC took a 7-5 lead in the second when freshman catcher Kevin Reiher (Eisenhower H.S.) barreled up a 3-2 fastball and hammered it over the center field fence for a three-run homer of his own. Reiher’s round-tripper was his fourth of the campaign.
PSC plated a trio of runs in the sixth, thanks to a two-run double off the bat of Reiher and two more in the seventh, following a two-run double by sophomore shortstop Bobby Sheppard (Oak Forest H.S.).
For the game, Reiher went 2-for-5 with 5 RBIs and run while freshman third baseman Derek Denovellis (Greeley West H.S., Colo.) 3-for-4 with an RBI, run and double.
The Pioneers will now take on Madison in opening round action at the Region IV Finals Friday at Boomers’ Stadium (home of the Schaumburg Boomers) beginning at noon.
It’s always helpful to head into the postseason with some momentum.
The Prairie State College baseball team can most-certainly attest to that.
The Pioneers (25-6) closed out the 2014 regular season with a 7-6 walk-off triumph over NJCAA Region IV foe Harper in Chicago Heights.
PSC won the game courtesy of a Hawks’ seventh-inning wild pitch that scored freshman third baseman Derek Denovellis (Greeley West H.S., Colo.) from third, who came barreling down the line the moment the ball hit the dirt and skipped away.
Denovellis went 1-for-4 with two RBIs on the afternoon.
Sophomore right fielder Carter Bialka (Lincoln-Way North H.S.) set the pace for the lineup, going 3-for-3 with a run and walk.
Sophomore shortstop Bobby Sheppard (Oak Forest H.S.), (2-for-3, RBI, run) and freshman second baseman Chris Halley (Marian Catholic H.S.), (2-for-2, RBI, run) both made strong contributions.
In a contest in which PSC head coach Bill Storrs Jr. flip-flopped defensive positions throughout while using five pitchers, it was ultimately sophomore Mark Kane (Andrew H.S.) who ended up picking up his first collegiate victory.
Kane, ordinarily an infielder, took the ball in the visitor’s half of the seventh and retired the final batter of the frame as PSC trailed 6-5. He faced two hitters.
Prairie State’s seventh-inning rally made a winner of the 6-foot-4 Kane, who will continue his playing career at Jamestown College (North Dakota) next season.
The Pioneers’ come-from-behind effort picked up a full head of steam in the seventh, courtesy of freshman left fielder Mike Owen’s leadoff triple to right-center.
Denovellis’ sharp single to left-center plated Owens to knot the score.
Denovellis got himself into scoring position courtesy of another wild pitch.
The Pioneers will now take on Carl Sandburg in the best-of-three Elgin Sectional, beginning Saturday in Elgin (9 a.m.).
When an athlete faces their former teammates for the first time, the event typically goes one of two ways: The athlete either becomes “over-pumped,” resulting in a poor performance, or they simply aren’t fazed and dominate the opponent.
Fortunately for the Prairie State College baseball team, freshman left-hander Brenden Luiff’s mentality fell under the later Saturday afternoon.
PSC head coach Bill Storrs Jr. gave Luiff (Homewood-Flossmoor H.S.), who played at Kishwaukee last year, the ball against his former teammates and he didn’t disappoint.
The 5-foot-8, 169-pound Luiff (2-0) worked 8.1 sterling innings. He allowed just a run on six scattered hits while walking five and striking out four.
Luiff’s effort dropped his ERA from 7.11 to 3.68.
He retired eight consecutive hitters over the course of the seventh through ninth frames.
As with any strong pitching performance, Luiff received a strong defensive effort behind him, mainly from freshman catcher Kevin Reiher (Eisenhower H.S.).
The 5-foot-9, 199-pound Reiher, who possesses an arm as strong as any backstop in the NJCAA, gunned down two more would-be base-stealers Saturday. He has now thrown out 13 runners on the campaign.
PSC (22-16) pounded out 13 hits in the contest.
Leading the offensive charge was freshman center fielder Nico Kelly (Homewood-Flossmoor H.S.). Kelly went 3-for-5 with three RBIs and a double.
Sophomore first baseman Greg Wymer (Lincoln-Way Central H.S.) went 3-for-3 with a pair of two-baggers and an RBI.
Freshman left fielder Mike Owens (Oak Forest H.S.) also clubbed a double enroute to a 2-for-2 effort.
Reiher also went 2-for-3 with a run and a double.
Kelly staked PSC to a 1-0 advantage in the first when he plated sophomore right fielder Carter Bialka (Lincoln-Way North H.S.) with a double.
The Pioneers constructed a trio of tallies in the fourth, fifth and eighth innings.
PSC will now take on Sauk Valley in a doubleheader Sunday in Chicago Heights (1 p.m.).
PSC freshman third baseman
Derek Denovellis went 3-for-4
in Wednesday's triumph over
No matter what the sport, whenever Prairie State College and South Suburban lock horns in an athletic event, the two school’s natural, geographic rivalry makes for some of the best local college sports entertainment around.
The contests between the Pioneers and the Bulldogs on the baseball diamond have been no different.
Wednesday afternoon in Chicago Heights, it was Prairie State’s turn to claim area hardball bragging rights for 2014.
Paced by a 12-hit attack, the Pioneers downed the Bulldogs 13-6.
With the triumph, Prairie State moves to 20-15 on the campaign.
The Pioneers picked up four multiple-hit efforts on the afternoon as freshman third baseman Derek Denovellis (Greeley West H.S., CO) produced a 3-for-4 outing with a run and RBI.
Denovellis is currently hitting .392 on the season.
Sophomore shortstop Bobby Sheppard (Oak Forest H.S.) and freshman center fielder Nico Kelly (Homewood-Flossmoor H.S.) each delivered 2-for-5 showings with Kelly driving in a run and tallying a pair.
The 5-foot-7 Kelly, normally a corner outfielder, has seamlessly made the transition to the center outfield post in place of sophomore Dan Ohde (Brother Rice H.S.), who will be sidelined for the remainder of the season following a torn labrum.
At the time of his injury, Ohde was hitting .465 (good for fifth on the national charts) with three home runs and 26 RBI.
The Pioneers turned in strong efforts from the mound as well as freshman starter Cody Vogler (Lincoln-Way Central H.S.) worked six strong frames, surrendering three runs on just three hits while striking out nine.
Sophomore left-hander John Swisher (Peotone H.S.) also threw well, going three innings while allowing just two earned runs on four hits. He fanned three.
Kane’s two-run, fifth-inning double capped a five-run frame which blew the game open.
The Pioneers will take the field next on Thursday when they travel to Freeport for a doubleheader with Highland.
Carter Bialka drove in three runs in
Saturday's Game 2 win over McHenry
With winds howling out at close to 30 miles per hour Saturday afternoon, both the Prairie State College baseball team and Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference foe McHenry, knew full well that any baseball hit in the air had home run potential.
The Pioneers took advantage of the prevailing winds to the tune of four round-trippers in splitting the Skyway doubleheader with the Scots.
The Pioneers (13-9, 7-3) dropped the opener 15-14 before going on to claim a 10-5 triumph in the nightcap.
Prairie State was paced in Game 1 by freshman catcher Kevin Reiher (Eisenhower H.S.) and his 4-for-4, 2-RBI showing. PSC’s rifle-armed backstop also deposited a pair of long balls, his first two of the campaign.
Reiher wasn’t the only Pioneer to record multiple hits in the opener as sophomore left fielder Carter Bialka (Lincoln-Way North H.S.), (2-for-4, 2 runs, RBI, stolen base), sophomore center fielder Dan Ohde (Brother Rice H.S.), (2-for-4, 3 RBI, run), freshman third baseman Greg Wymer (Lincoln-Way Central H.S.), (2-for-4, 3 RBI, double) and freshman right fielder Nico Kelly (Homewood-Flossmoor H.S.), (2-for-3, 2 runs, walk, stolen base) all turned in strong efforts.
PSC could have locked down both ends of the twinbill, but a seven-run seventh frame erased a 14-8 advantage.
Freshman Connor Ryan (Lockport H.S.) took the ball in Game 2 and went the distance, surrendering five runs on eight hits while walking one and striking out six.
Ohde and sophomore shortstop Bobby Sheppard (Oak Forest H.S.) both blasted long home runs in the nightcap to lead a 13-hit parade for the Pioneers.
Ohde recorded a 3-for-4 showing with 2 RBI in Game 2 and is currently leading the Pioneers with a .447 batting average.
Sheppard (2-for-3, 3 RBI, run), Bialka (2-for-4, 2 RBI, run, triple), freshman first baseman Cody Vogler (Lincoln-Way Central H.S.), (2-for-3, 2 runs) and freshman designated hitter Chris Halley (Marian Catholic H.S.), (2-for-4, 3 RBI, run, triple) all had big outings in the nightcap.
PSC will be in action next on Tuesday when they travel to Palos Hills for a doubleheader against Skyway rival Moraine Valley (2:30 p.m.).
On the heels of three disheartening losses, the Prairie State College baseball team was primed and ready to get itself back into the win column against Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference foe Waubonsee Tuesday afternoon.
And that’s exactly what happened.
The Pioneers came out strong in both ends of the league twin bill, knocking off the Chiefs 12-2 in five innings before clipping the visitors 2-1 in the nightcap.
With the two triumphs, the Pioneers now move to 11-7 overall and 6-2 in conference action.
Several Pioneers turned in multiple-hit effort in the opener, led by sophomore shortstop Bobby Sheppard’s 3-for-3, four-run, RBI showing.
Sophomore center fielder Dan Ohde (Brother Rice H.S.), (2-for-3, 2 runs, RBI) and freshman third baseman Greg Wymer (Lincoln-Way Central H.S.0, (2-for-2, 3 RBIs, 2 runs) both turned in outstanding outings in Game 1.
Sophomore Joe Prete (Stagg H.S.) took the ball in the opener and went the distance, running his season mark to a perfect 3-0. The 6-foot-1, 190-pound Prete allowed just one earned run on four hits.
Sophomore John Swisher (Peotone H.S.) made his first start since no-hitting Morton on April 1. Swisher improved to 2-1 following a six-inning, one-run, six-hit, three-strikeout effort.
River Grove, Ill. --- Prairie State College sophomore first baseman Mark Kane (Andrew H.S.) turned in a day that would make any hitter jealous Sunday afternoon but unfortunately, it just wasn’t enough as the Pioneers fell to NJCAA Region IV rival Triton 17-14 in an all-out slugfest.
Kane produced a stellar 5-for-6 showing with a career-high eight RBIs.
PSC’s 6-foot-4 first baseman proved to be an extra base hit machine, ripping a two-run second-inning double and a long three-run homer to left in the fifth. He also added a two-run seventh-inning safety.
Kane is now hitting .362 on the campaign.
Prairie State fell to 9-7 on the season following the setback.
Kane wasn’t the only Pioneer to produce a strong day as freshman third baseman Greg Wymer (Lincoln-Way Central H.S.), (3-for-5, 2 runs, RBI), sophomore center fielder Dan Ohde (Brother Rice H.S.), (2-for-5, 2 RBI, run), freshman designated hitter Nico Kelly (Homewood-Flossmoor H.S.), (2-for-5, 2 runs, RBI) and freshman left fielder Mike Owens (Oak Forest H.S.), (2-for-5, 2 runs) all produced strong days.
The Pioneers will now take on Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference foe Waubonsee on Tuesday at home.
Swisher Fires PSC's First No-Hitter Since 2010 As Pioneers Roll Past Morton [April 1, 2014]
When Prairie State College sophomore pitcher John Swisher (Peotone H.S.) carved his way through the first three Morton hitters, courtesy of a lazy fly ball and two strikeouts, Tuesday afternoon, there was a feeling that something special might be in the air.
The 5-foot-8, 150-pound Swisher tossed the first no-hitter for a Prairie State hurler since former PSC and Bradley University standout Nick Gross recorded a gem of his own against Sauk Valley in 2010. Swisher downed the Panthers 13-0 in five innings in the second game of PSC’s double header sweep.
The left-handed Swisher sat down 15 of the 17 hitters he faced, allowing no runs on no hits while walking two and striking out six.
“John did an excellent job today throwing strikes with all of his pitches,” PSC head coach Bill Storrs Jr. said. “He’s always had a lot of talent, but now he’s starting to show the kind of grit, confidence and competitiveness that are going to allow him to continue to have a tremendous amount of success.”
The win leveled Swisher’s season mark at 1-1.
The hard-throwing southpaw seated the first eight hitters he faced, fanning four of them.
PSC also claimed Game 1 behind another sterling effort from sophomore ace Joe Prete (Stagg H.S.) in a 14-4, five-inning triumph.
With the wins, the Pioneers have now won five straight, while owning an overall mark of 9-4 and conference record of 4-0.
Prete moved to 2-0 with his outing, working all five frames while allowing four runs on seven hits while recording four punchouts.
The Pioneers took a 4-0 lead in the first inning of the opener, thanks in part to an RBI triple off the bat of sophomore shortstop Bobby Sheppard (Oak Forest H.S.). The 6-foot, 180-pound Sheppard went 2-for-3 with a pair of runs and four RBI.
Sophomore center fielder Dan Ohde (Brother Rice H.S.) continued his torrid hitting, going 2-for-4 with a pair of runs and two RBI.
In his last five games, Ohde is hitting .562 (9-for-16) with 6 RBIs and three doubles. Ohde is currently the team’s second-leading hitter at .405. That mark is also currently good for 61st on the national list.
PSC freshman catcher Derek Denovellis (Greeley West H.S., Colo.), who was inactive Tuesday, is currently sixth on the national charts in hitting (.474).
After Morton rallied to knot Game 1 at 4, the Pioneers responded with a four-run third of their own, highlighted by an Ohde RBI single.
PSC plated another six tallies in the fifth to seal the win.
The Pioneers grabbed a 3-0 lead in the first inning of Game 2, thanks to an RBI double off the bat of freshman right fielder Niko Kelly. Kelly went 2-for-4 with a trio of RBIs.
Freshman third baseman Greg Wymer (Lincoln-Way Central H.S.) went 2-for-3 with four RBIs.
Freshman designated hitter Mike Owens (Oak Forest H.S.) turned in a 2-for-2 showing with three runs.
PSC Knocks Off Triton For First Time In Storrs’ Era [March 30, 2014]
River Grove, Ill. --- The 2014 Prairie State College baseball team made some history Sunday afternoon. For the first time since former PSC head coach Bill Storrs Sr. and current Pioneers’ skipper, Bill Storrs Jr., have been at the help of Prairie State’s program, the Pioneers knocked off perennial NJCAA Region IV force Triton 9-6 in 10 innings. With the win, PSC was able to wash away the bitter feelings of Friday’s disheartening 8-6 loss to region power Kankakee. The Pioneers are now 5-4 on the campaign.
Prairie State picked up a workmanlike mound effort from freshman right-hander Bo Venezio (Lincoln-Way North H.S.). The 5-foot-8, 184-pound Venezio came away from his efforts with a no-decision after hurling seven innings in which he surrendered only one run on just three hits. He also walked only two.
Venezio left Sunday’s tilt with a 5-1 lead.
At the plate, sophomore center fielder Dan Ohde (Brother Rice H.S.) turned in the most productive outing, going 4-for-5 with an RBI, two runs and three doubles.
Sophomore shortstop Bobby Sheppard (Oak Forest H.S.) went 2-for-4 with an RBI and run while twice being plunked by a pitch.
Sophomore left fielder Carter Bialka (Lincoln-Way North H.S.) was also productive, registering a 2-for-5 day with two runs and an RBI. Freshman catcher Derek Denovellis (Greeley West H.S., Colo.) went 2-for-5 with an RBI and run. The 6-foot-1, 187-pound Denovellis is currently PSC’s leading hitter with a .483 batting average.
After the Trojans roared back to tie the contest at 6-all in the eighth, PSC pushed across a trio of tallies in the tenth thanks in part to an RBI single off the bat of freshman second baseman Chris Halley (Marian Catholic H.S.).
The Pioneers will now face Oakton in their Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference opener tomorrow (3 p.m.) in DesPlaines.
Kankakee, Ill. --- A win over NJCAA Region IV powerhouse Kankakee would have been quite the feather in the collective cap of the Prairie State College baseball team Friday afternoon.
Unfortunately, that just wasn’t in the cards as PSC dropped a heart-wrenching 8-6 decision to the Cavaliers on their home field.
With the setback, PSC fell to 4-4 on the young campaign.
What made the loss exceptionally painful was the fact that the Pioneers held a 6-4 lead into the eighth inning of Friday’s contest. That lead eventually slipped away during a four-run eighth frame, which essentially sealed the game for the Cavaliers.
As disappointing as the defeat was, there still were several strong PSC performances.
At the plate, four Pioneers recorded multiple-hit efforts as sophomore shortstop Bobby Sheppard (Oak Forest H.S.) went 2-for-5 with a double and a stolen base while freshman catcher Derek Denovellis (Greeley West H.S., Colo.) handed in a 2-for-4 showing with a pair of runs.
Sophomore center fielder Dan Ohde (Brother Rice H.S.) and freshman second baseman Chris Halley (Marian Catholic H.S.) both contributed identical 2-for-4 efforts with a run. Halley also drove in a tally.
PSC took a 3-1 lead in the second, courtesy of an RBI groundout off the bat of sophomore first baseman Mark Kane (Andrew H.S.), (1-4, RBI, run).
DeNovellis and freshman right fielder Nico Kelly (Homewood-Flossmoor H.S.) both tallied third-inning runs, thanks in part to some miscues on the Kankakee infield.
Kane crossed the plate in the sixth following a sacrifice fly off the bat of Kelly, making it a 6-4 contest.
The Pioneers weren’t able to get out of a bases-loaded, eighth-inning jam as Kankakee plated a quartet of runs to take the contest.
Prairie State will see action next on Sunday as travel to River Grove for a nine-inning contest against the Titans.
Winter Haven, Fla. --- The Prairie State College baseball team dropped a tough 5-3 decision to the North Central College JV Saturday afternoon at the RussMatt Central Florida Invitational.
PSC (1-2) collected seven hits in the contest.
No PSC player recorded multiple hits.
Prairie State’s RBIs were recorded by sophomore designated hitter Carter Bialka (Lincoln-Way North H.S.), freshman right fielder Nico Kelly (Homewood-Flossmoor H.S.) and sophomore third baseman Mark Kane (Andrew H.S.).
Winter Haven, Fla. --- Thanks in part to a 10-hit attack in Game 1 of its doubleheader with Muscatine (Iowa), the Prairie State College baseball team opened both its season and spring trip with a split at the RussMatt Central Florida Invitational.
The Pioneers (1-1) claimed the opener by a 5-4 count before dropping the nightcap 4-0.
The Pioneers pounded out 10 hits in Game 1 before mustering just three in the second contest.
Freshman Connor Ryan (Lockport H.S.) picked up the win in the opener, allowing only one hit in two innings while striking out five.
At the plate, sophomore left fielder Carter Bialka (Lincoln-Way North H.S.) went 3-for-4 with a trio of stolen bases.
In all, three Pioneers collected multiple-hit afternoons as sophomore shortstop Bobby Sheppard (Oak Forest H.S.), (2-for-3, RBI, run, walk) and freshman designated hitter Derek Denovellis (Greeley West H.S., CO), (2-for-4, RBI, run).
The trio of Bialka, Denovellis and Sheppard were the lone Pioneers to record safeties in the nightcap.
PSC’s Sheppard Signs with Buffalo [December 6, 2013]
The Prairie State College Athletic Department was pleased to recently learn that standout infielder Bobby Sheppard (Oak Forest H.S.) will be continuing his collegiate baseball career with the University at Buffalo (NY), beginning in the fall of 2014.
Sheppard, an All-NJCAA Region IV selection last year, his first at Prairie State, was also tabbed as the 2013 Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference Player of the Year after helping lead the Pioneers to their first-ever conference baseball championship.
PSC’s 6-foot, 180-pound shortstop hit .383 with two home runs and 45 RBIs in 49 games last season. He also displayed his strong foot speed, successfully stealing 17 bases in 19 attempts on the campaign.
Sheppard hit .360 in Skyway Conference contests.
For PSC head coach Bill Storrs Jr., Sheppard represents the fourth player of his two-season tenure who will move on to play at the NCAA Division I level. Former Pioneers Joe Ucho (Central Michigan University), Jimmy Topps (University at Buffalo) and John Rafferty (Murray State University) all currently play at NCAA Division I institutions.
“The impact that Bobby has had on our program goes far beyond statistics,” Storrs Jr. said. “His leadership, attitude, effort and dedication have helped immensely. We are incredibly proud of Bobby on earning an opportunity to follow Jimmy Topps as a member of one of the best baseball programs in America at Buffalo.”
Sheppard has also turned in exemplary work in the classroom as well, evidenced by his 3.5 cumulative grade point average.
Buffalo, a member of the Mid America Conference (MAC) compiled a 33-24 record in 2013 and finished in second place in the league’s Eastern Division, just one game behind division champion Kent State.
2014-2015 Baseball Letters of Intent Signees
The following student-athletes have signed NJCAA letters of intent to continue their academic and baseball careers at Prairie State College beginning in the Fall 2014 semester:
- Devin Bafia (Valparaiso H.S., Ind.)
- Andrew Smith (Valparaiso H.S., Ind.)
- James O'Donnell (St. Joseph H.S.)
- Terrell Steward (Harlan H.S.)
- Daniel Oseguera (Bishop Noll Institute, Ind.)
- Derek Hall (Hartford Union H.S., Wis.)
- Anthony Cherry (Gary Westside H.S., Ind.)
- Malcolm Jordan (Gary Westside H.S., Ind.)
- Adam Kaczmarek (Oswego East H.S.)
- Byron Jones (Gary Westside H.S.)
- Byron Munoz (Marian Catholic H.S.)
- Eric Luther (Bloom Trail H.S.)
- Connor Pinto (Lincoln-Way East H.S.)
- Brian Richard (Oak Forest H.S.)
- Nicholas Bruns (Lincoln-Way East H.S.)
- Shane Mills (Richards H.S.)
- Daniel Kipp (St. Rita H.S.)
- Jeremy Kueltzo (Carl Sandburg H.S.)
- Daniel Santiago (Carl Sandburg H.S.)
Pioneers at the Next Level
These former Prairie State College baseball players are currently attending four-year institutions.
- Bobby Sheppard - University of Buffalo
- Mark Kane - Jamestown College, North Dakota
- Dan Ohde - Jamestown College, North Dakota
- Jeremy Hernandez – Calumet College of St. Joseph
- Josh Johnson – University of Illinois Springfield
- Peter Krygsheld – Trinity Christian College
- Jim Miller – Ashford University, Iowa
- Pat Nelson – Jamestown College, North Dakota
- Keith Plocharczyk – University of Illinois Springfield
- John Rafferty – Murray State University
- Ryan Rasmas – McMurry University, Texas
- Joe Sadowski – Clarke University, Iowa
- Brendan Spongberg – Purdue University North Central
- Jimmy Topps – University of Buffalo
- Joe Ucho – Central Michigan University
- Sam Cook – Friends University, Kansas