Panther Sports Talk, May 7th, 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 Panther Sports Talk, right here on WEIU.
I’m your host, Rich Moser. We’re going to go outdoors this week, and
unfortunately as the softball season and baseball seasons end, allergy seasons come out.
So, I apologize if I don’t have much of a voice, but we’re going to kick it off with
EIU Baseball Coach Jimmy Schmitz. And Coach, we’ve been talking about this the
last couple weeks. Week in, week out, it kind of seems like it’s
almost repetition now. The schedule is now coming back to you guys,
and the last two weekends you guys have taken advantage of that and gotten the two series
wins, and are slowly inching up the conference standings to make a run at trying to make
the OVC conference baseball tournament.>>Jim Schmitz:
Yeah, I mean I’m so proud of the guys right now.
You know, we knew what we had to do a couple weeks ago, two out of three against Belmont.
Went to EKU, started off, just played phenomenal baseball for two games.
So, you know, winning a series just obviously makes you in a better position.
So, right now, you know, we’re in a lot of confidence offensively, we’re scoring a lot
of runs, a couple pitchers really did well this weekend that we didn’t think we would
have at the end of the year. So, you know, Christian Slazinik pitched a
little bit; he’s been out for about six weeks. So, you know, the guys, like I said, they
know what they have to do. We’re not making it any bigger that what it
is. So, winning two out of three is real important.
>>Rich Moser: Now, the offense has really come alive as
the weather has warmed up. I’ll use that as one of the reasons.
I think the other reason is the fact that you guys have kind of solidified your line-up,
and part of that came with Brant Valach coming back, and you knew you could put him in either
the four or the five hole. But it allowed you then to really slot in
the other guys to, as you’ve said, protect everybody in the order one to nine.
>>Jim Schmitz: Yeah, Brant being gone for those five weeks,
middle of the line-up we didn’t have a guy to protect Demetre.
So, Demetre’s getting some pitches to hit RBI-wise.
But I think more than that is a couple seniors, Tyler Schweigert and Cam Berra have, sometimes
seniors, to be honest with you, it’s their last hurrah, and they don’t see anything out
there, so they don’t play well. These two guys are just playing the best baseball
they’ve ever played since they’ve been here. So, you know, we have about seven guys in
the line-up that are really knocking runs in, so we have, you know, we have that kind
of offense that it’s not relying on one or two.
So, I’m really proud of those guys.>>Rich Moser:
Now, you guys will head into finals week this week.
I know from a coach’s standpoint, it allows you to get out on the road and do a little
bit of early recruiting as high schools are kind of wrapping up their seasons and junior
college, so you guys can kind of see those kids in the thick of competition.
What does it do to you from a practice standpoint, that now you have to juggle your schedule
and your practices around the kids trying to wrap up their academic work?
>>Jim Schmitz: Well, we just give them two days off, you
know, Monday and Tuesday. We’ve tried to work around it.
Their energy was zero. And then I’d get mad, and then it would be
a bad practice. So, we just give them the next two days off,
come back on Wednesday for a light practice, and then get after it on Thursday.
You know, we’ve been lifting early in the morning.
It’s been a hard spring, so we’re just trying to get them refreshed and ready to roll.
>>Rich Moser: Now, you guys will play Morehead State this
weekend. That’s a team that offense, this is a team
that scores a lot of runs. You guys are really end up going toe to toe
with each other, in terms of, it’s going to come down to maybe who’s guy is a little bit
better on the bump.>>Jim Schmitz:
Yeah. Well, it definitely is.
I mean, you look at their stats, they play in a small park, so it’s kind of hard to follow
that. They’re not a running team.
You know, our field plays totally different. Everywhere we go, the wind’s blowing out.
And here, the south wind comes and, you know, you need like eight Ricky Henderson’s.
So, I really mean this. A couple guys pitched really well.
The guys that didn’t, we expect them to do better.
So, we just feel like we’re getting the seven arms now that if we put them in, they’re going
to give us a chance. And you know, the biggest thing, you know,
there’s a lot of pressure when your’e trying to get into a tournament.
We haven’t really talked about it, and the guys kind of said we responded really well
the last two weekends. So, I think they’re just really trying to
make this fun and see what we can do, like we did in 2012.
We played really, really well at the end. And so, I’m really happy with what the seniors
are doing.>>Rich Moser:
And you guys actually have your team set up, and we talked about this, if you guys are
able to get into the conference tournament, you have one of the deeper pitching staffs,
in terms of how it would set up for a conference tournament.
Unfortunately, you still have to kind of get there.
But I guess talk about now how the next two weeks go.
Do you set yourselves up with an opportunity to get in?
At UT Martin, you’ll play down there to wrap up the season.
I guess, do you start looking at innings pitched for guys, thinking that in case we get into
the conference tournament, or is it all out to make sure you even get there?
>>Jim Schmitz: No, it’s just all out.
I mean, I’ve really never been one to plan that far ahead.
It’d be great to have that kind of situation. A lot of the bigger schools know they’re in
the regional, know they’re moving on, so they do that a little bit.
We, you know, even in the tournament I’ve never pitched backwards.
I mean, you’ve got to win that tournament. But for us, you know like I said, we haven’t
even talked much about the tournament, other than winning two out of three.
And that seems to be working, so we’ll stay with that.
>>Rich Moser: Now, the other thing is, because this is our
last show that we’ll do, is that you guys will lose a few guys.
You talked about a few of them: Tyler Schweigert, Cam Berra, in terms of seniors.
Opportunity also because guys have had good years, that are Demetre Taylor gets snapped
up in the draft. I mean, are you looking?
You know what you need to replace from a senior standpoint, but when you’re out recruiting
right now, are you assuming that a guy like Demetre is going to get drafted, and maybe
a young pitcher’s going to get drafted, and kind of have a guy slotted in to be able to
offer a scholarship? That happened, and unfortunately that doesn’t
happen for a few more weeks of the draft.>>Jim Schmitz:
Yeah, I mean at the beginning of the year we felt Matt Borens was definitely going to
go, so we kind of had penciled in who we think’s going to come and replace him.
Demetre, Caleb Howell and Brant Valach are all really the question marks.
Every time a scout comes to see Matt Borens, they see that 6’5″ monster of a guy in left
field. And I try to lie to them and tell them he’s
only a freshman, but they figure it out. So, Caleb Howell is, I don’t know, like fifth
in the nation in hitting. Scouts are all over him right now.
So, you know, I used to worry about that, but you’re just excited about guys that are
getting better, developing, and we’ll figure it out if they get a chance.
And everyone wants that chance to play at the next level.
>>Rich Moser: Alright Coach, well best of luck as you guys
wrap up the string. And remember, this weekend it’ll be against
Morehead State, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday out here at Coaches Stadium.
And then, you guys will be at UT Martin next weekend.
And then hopefully, the OVC conference tournament after that.
We’ll be right back with this week in EIU Athletics.
>>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. Panther fans, here’s what’s going on in Panther
Athletics. Baseball now 16-30-1 overall, and 10-13-1
in OVC play, as they went 2-2 this past week. They lost at St. Louis 11-2, and then went
on to defeat OVC rival Eastern Kentucky in two out of three games, winning game one 10-6
and game two 15-3. Softball now 37-16 overall, and 17-7 in OVC
play. The Panthers were swept at SIU-Edwardsville
this past week, 2-0, 3-0, and 2-1. The Panthers entered the OVC softball tournament
as the number three seed. Track competed at the OVC outdoor track championships
held at Edwardsville, Illinois. And the Panthers posted five first place finishes,
two of them by hurdler Danny Trevor. The men placed second overall, and the women
placed third overall. Now, here’s what to watch for this week.
On Wednesday, prior to the airing of this show, softball in Jacksonville, Alabama for
the OVC softball championships. They took on UT Martin at 10 o’clock in the
morning. For the results and stats of that game, check
out eiupanthers.com. On Thursday, softball, day two of the OVC
softball championships in Jacksonville, Alabama. The Panthers will play at 10 in the morning
if they lost on Wednesday to UT Martin, or they’ll play at 12:30 if they won their game
against UT Martin on Wednesday. On Friday, track hosts the EIU Last Chance
Meet at O’Brien Field at 10 o’clock in the morning.
Softball at the OVC softball championships in Jacksonville, Alabama, if they’ve advanced
past Wednesday’s and Thursday’s competition. For game times and opponents, check out eiupanthers.com.
And baseball begins a three-game series over at Coaches Stadium with Morehead State.
Game one of the series starts at three o’clock. On Saturday, softball at the OVC softball
championships in Alabama. If the Panthers have advanced to Saturday’s
games, they’ll play at either 10 a.m. or 12:30. For updates on the Panther softball team throughout
the OVC tournament, check out eiupanthers.com. Baseball with game two of their three-game
series over at Coaches Stadium against Morehead State.
That game is slated to start at one o’clock. And on Sunday, baseball wraps up their three-game
series at Coaches Stadium against Moorhead State at one o’clock.
And next Tuesday, May 13, baseball with another game at Coaches Stadium as they host Butler
at three o’clock. For Panther Sports Talk, I’m Rameen Karbassioon.
>>Rameen Karbassioon: WEIU is your home for Eastern Illinois Panther
sports. Panther football.
>>Mike Bradd: Here comes the blitz.
Jimmy’s going to throw it deep down the middle. Lora’s out there, got it!
And he’s on his way! Garoppolo burns the blitz!
Touchdown, Eastern Illinois!>>Rameen Karbassioon:
Panther basketball.>>Mike Bradd:
Going all the way. Laying it up.
No, another dunk! Piotrowski again, back to back rebound dunks.
>>Rameen Karbassioon: Panther greats.
[Music Plays] WEIU is your home for Panther sports.
>>Rich Moser: And welcome back to Panther Sports Talk.
We’re now joined by EIU Softball Coach Angie Nicholson.
And Coach, you guys will head to the conference tournament here.
Your first go-round, but I’m sure as an experienced coach, you guys have been through these before
when you were in the Horizon League. So, new season, it starts over.
And I guess that’s the message to the girls starting today is that, you know, no matter
the 37 wins you had up to this point, you’re 0-0 going into it now.
>>Angie Nicholson: Yeah, yeah.
I mean, I’ve seen it, I’ve seen the last place, the last seed, you know, win tournaments.
You know, I’ve seen the first seed. So, it doesn’t matter.
It is a whole new ball game, and we’ve always talked from the beginning, it’s not how you
start the season, it’s how you finish. And hopefully we finish strong.
>>Rich Moser: Now, you guys went into this past weekend
against a good SIU-Edwardsville team, opportunity to be able to host the tournament.
That didn’t work out for you guys. So, I guess, how do you, I guess the hard
part for you guys now is getting the girls to really put that behind them.
They had something in front of them and weren’t able to accomplish that as a goal.
And so, I guess, putting, making sure that’s not a hangover effect going into the tournament.
>>Angie Nicholson: Yeah, I mean especially yesterday was another
tough loss, you know, losing in the seventh on airs, you know.
So, that was tough. And I feel like we fought better on Sunday
than we did on Saturday. And so, you wanted to finish strong.
So yeah, it was disappointing. But again, you know, they know because we’ve
talked about it. We’ve talked about it doesn’t matter.
It matters what you do in the tournament. So, I think they get that, they understand
that, and we know what we need to do in order to win.
>>Rich Moser: Now, you guys will open up the tournament
on Wednesday. You’ll play UT Martin, a team that you beat
here at home in three close games. I guess, do you have a good feel for where
they are, or do you think that maybe some things have changed?
I know some things have probably changed with your team since you’ve played them about a
month ago.>>Angie Nicholson:
Yeah, yeah. No, we know what we need to do bottom line.
And we know what we need to do every game. It’s not just UT Martin.
But we know we’ve got to put up the runs. The bottom line, that’s been the story of
our year; we’ve got to put up the runs, so.>>Rich Moser:
And then, you guys, the other thing, we talked to Coach Schmitz about this in the first segment,
it’s a little bit different. They’re still in their regular season.
He’s able to give his guys a couple days off to get ready for finals.
A lot different scenario for you in the fact that you’re going to get on a bus on Tuesday,
so girls really trying to cram in their academics here with it being finals week on campus.
>>Angie Nicholson: Yeah, it’s been tough, you know, these past
few days. They’ve been trying to get all their finals
in, just in preparation if we didn’t host. They’ve been trying to get them in, they were
trying to get them in at the end of last week. They started taking the this morning, and
they’ll be taking them all day today, and we’re going to try and get a little bit of
practice in and hop on the bus really early tomorrow morning.
And they’ll be taking finals, you know, tomorrow morning, on the road.
Yeah, it is, it’s a lot; it’s a lot for these girls.
>>Rich Moser: Now, the other thing that shapes up, and it’s
a little bit different in softball than it is in baseball is you guys really have two
frontline starters to go out there. I guess, have you, do you think a little bit
about how you’re going to go approach, is it a day by day with each one of the girls,
or will they both see action in any game to try to stay alive in the tournament?
>>Angie Nicholson: Yeah, yeah.
The great thing is I have two very good pitchers. So yeah, we’re going to, I know what I want
to go with, and we’re ready. The other one’s going to be right there ready
to go if she gets in trouble, if we need to mix it up.
So, yeah. I mean, we’ve pretty much, we’ve got a game
plan. We also know which one was more effective
against who. So yeah, we’re ready to roll.
And I’m very thankful to have both of them.>>Rich Moser:
Now, you guys will go down to the conference tournament.
We’re hoping that that works out well, and you’ll be able to put the team in its first
regional. But you guys will lose a lot from this year’s
team. I guess you and your coaching staff, have
you guys kind of already started to really think about what’s going to happen after this?
A little bit different than from a baseball standpoint, where you could lose guys from
the draft. You guys kind of already know that if these
girls are seniors, hey’ve used all four years, and all along I guess this whole year you’ve
been recruiting to fill those spots. But also, probably fill what’s going to be
in the junior class coming up next year.>>Angie Nicholson:
Yeah, our recruiting’s done for a while. We’ve done a good job of filling in that.
It was tough coming in, obviously, losing the nine and having to hurry up and fill that
nine. So, that was tough.
But since then, in the last probably six months we’ve been able to pick up quite a bit of
kids. So, recruiting trail’s going really well.
>>Rich Moser: Okay, Coach.
Well, best of luck down there. Hopefully, next week everybody will see be
seeing your guys’ name called to go to the first regional and be in Eastern history.
The OVC softball tournament will be down in Jacksonville State.
They start in on Wednesday against UT Martin. It’s a double elimination tournament.
Hopefully, Coach is in the winner’s bracket the whole time and getting through.
And the championship game would be on Saturday. We’re going to wrap up this edition of Panther
Sports Talk with a feature on the two senior pitchers that Coach already talked about a
little bit: Hanna Mennenga and Stephanie Maday. Thanks for watching, everybody, Panther Sports
Talk, right here on WEIU.>>Brad Kupiec:
EIU softball is almost finished with another successful season, and this year’s eight member
senior class has been spearheaded by two senior pitchers, Stephanie Maday and Hanna Mennenga.
>>Stephanie Maday: It’s been nice, you know, that we’ve talked
about before how we, like, complement each other.
So, I think it’s good for us because we know that the other person is there to come in,
and it saves our arms too, and we’re not having to pitch every single game.
>>Hanna Mennenga: Right, I think coming in my sophomore year,
like new, Steph’s the one that kind of came into me and was talking to me a whole bunch.
And like, like we complement each other well, like Steph said.
She’s a drop ball pitcher, I’m a rise ball pitcher.
So, if we have to come in after each other, we make a good tandem.
>>Stephanie Maday: Pretty much every inning we say something
to each other if we’re in the dugout. I mean, we’re rooting for each other the whole
time while the other one is pitching.>>Hanna Mennenga:
Yeah, I think that me and Steph kind of stand at the end of the dugout and kind of do our
own thing together. So, we have a few superstitions that maybe
we hold on to, but yeah, I think we’re pretty much there for each other in the dugout all
the time.>>Stephanie Maday:
I think that our senior class, we’ve been to the tournament three times now, and we
know what it’s like, we’ve felt the pressure. And I think that just going into the tournament
and not thinking like, oh my gosh, we have to win this, and putting all that pressure
on ourselves. I think going into it and just playing relaxed
and playing like we know how will be the key to winning it.
>>Hanna Mennenga: Yeah, I just think we need to have the right
mindset going into the tournament, coming in with plenty of energy.
I think that, I mean, you’re always competing with someone who has the same position as
you, but with Steph, I feel like since we complement each other so well that it’s not
so much of a competition between us. It’s just like we want both of each other
to do well. So, like I mean, coming in my sophomore year
when Steph was, you know, the number one, if that’s what you want to say.
And then like, my freshman year at Heartland, I was like the number one.
So, it’s like something I wasn’t really used to.
So then, I don’t know what happened my junior year, and I just, I don’t know what happened
really, but I think that this year that we’ve both been pitching the same amount of innings,
and it’s been nice on both of us I think.>>Stephanie Maday:
Yeah, I think so too. It’s not like one of us is pitching more than
the other, and I think that helps both of us out.
>>Hanna Mennenga: Like I said, we complement each other really
well, and Steph has an awesome drop ball. And I mean, like, I kind of wish I had an
awesome drop ball, and she probably wishes she has an awesome rise ball.
But I mean, even like, not the pitching stuff, like in the dugout, like, we’re there for
each other in the dugout. If she’s down, if I’m down, we’ve got each
other’s back, so.>>Stephanie Maday:
We kind of know what to say to each other when, like, we’re not doing well, to pick
each other up.>>Hanna Mennenga:
We know when to leave each other alone, we know when to talk to each other, so.
It’s a little different this year from last year, because Coach Schuette was a pitcher,
so she was our pitching coach. So, it’s different having Coach Nicholson
because I think she kind of expects us to kind of just know what we’re doing, and I
mean, we know what we’re doing, so.>>Stephanie Maday:
Yeah, I think with Coach Nicholson, too, I think that we’re more prepared workout-wise,
I guess. Our workouts were a lot harder this year,
and I know that our legs were definitely ready for the season.
[laughter]>>Brad Kupiec:
Mennenga and Maday both say they’re eager to help the team over the hump in the post-season.
>>Stephanie Maday: I think it would be awesome if we could be
the team to make it to the regionals.>>Hanna Mennenga:
Especially having eight seniors, it would just be nice to finish our senior year, yeah,
with winning the tournament.>>Stephanie Maday:
I don’t really think there’s any pressure. I mean, I’ve been looking at this season like
it’s my last season, so I’m just going out there and doing the best I can.
And I mean, I’m not putting pressure on myself. I think that happened to me before, and I’m
trying not to do that again.>>Hanna Mennenga:
Yeah, I’m the same. I’m not going to try to put any pressure on
myself. As long as we go out and do what we know how
to do, we should be able to win games. I mean, I think our team phrase this year
that Coach has said since the beginning is to leave our mark.
And for us to win the tournament or possibly host the conference tournament again, I really
think that we just need to try and get as far as we can to leave our mark this year.
>>Stephanie Maday: Yeah, I agree
>>Hanna Mennenga: Especially with eight seniors.
>>Stephanie Maday: Yeah, I don’t know.
I think, like, our class coming in, we were the first class to, like, make it or win conference.
And i think that it would just be awesome to be that class that helps them get to the
regional too. I think that this was a really good fit for
me, and I think it’s one of the best decisions that I’ve ever made.
>>Hanna Mennenga: I agree.
Coming into, getting recruited, and like being able to come on a visit and see all these
girls, it really showed me, like a family environment, and that’s exactly what I felt
whenever I came here.>>Brad Kupiec:
And as far as plans after the season…>>Hanna Mennenga:
Well, either look for a job or take some time off.
I don’t know, really.>>Stephanie Maday:
I’m student teaching in Mattoon in the fall, so I’m not technically done with school.
And I don’t know, coaching maybe.>>Hanna Mennenga:
Grad school’s maybe an option, but coaching softball and giving pitching lessons is also
something that I’m looking forward to doing this summer, so.
>>Brad Kupiec: Reporting for Panther Sports Talk, I’m Brad
Kupiec.>>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.
>>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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