It seems like he has been around forever.
But, it has only been four years.
Vandalia grad Eric Hobbie is hoping the final stretch of his basketball career will end with a National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics National Championship.
While Hobbie's chosen school, McKendree University, has had its ups and downs this season, the Bearcats will head to the American Midwest Conference Tournament riding the wave of a seven-game winning streak. Every single win of the seven was in AMC play, boosting their league mark from a respectable 5-2 to 12-2. They won the overall conference title and will head to the tournament with an 18-11 mark.
In the final two games of the regular season, Hobbie scored in double figures. In the 94-66 triumph over Williams Baptist College, Hobbie finished with 26 points, hitting 9-of-16 from the field and 3-of-4 from the free-throw line. Of the field goals, five were from behind the 3-point arc. The starter, who played 27 minutes, also had four rebounds, four assists and two steals.
He finished with 17 points against Park University, playing 38 of the game's 40 minutes. McKendree needed every single athlete that evening as it topped Park, 69-68. Hobbie hit 5-of-10 from the field and 4-of-4 from the stripe. The former Vandal all-stater, who struck from beyond the arc three times, also had seven rebounds, three assists and three blocked shots.
McKendree will open the AMC Tournament by hosting Missouri Baptist University at 7 p.m. on Thursday.
A great hurling performance does not always equal a victory. Thus far, that would describe the pitching life of South Central grad and Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville hurler Spencer Patton. Patton is 0-1 with an earned run average of 2.00. In SIUE's 14-4 loss to University of Central Arkansas, Patton worked five innings, allowing only one hit. He fanned eight and walked one. He did not get a decision.
He took the loss against Oral Roberts University. In the 6-3 game, Patton worked four innings, allowing two earned runs on three hits. He struck out four and walked three. The SIUE Cougars are 1-5 on the young season.
Illinois College's Issac Grapperhaus emerged off the bench and scored 12 points, but it was not enough to power the IC Blue Boys past Grinnell College in the first round of the Midwest Conference Tournament. Grapperhaus, who hit 6-of-9 from the field, also had three rebounds in his 12 minutes of play. With the 93-91 loss, IC finished 16-8 overall and 12-6 in the MWC.
Southeast Missouri State University's Logan Mahon, a St. Elmo grad, worked 3 2/3 innings against Ball State University. In the 6-2 SEMO loss, Mahon, who did not get a decision, allowed three hits, fanned two batters and walked one. SEMO is 5-2.
Vandalia grad Laura Hobbie scored two points and pulled down five rebounds as her college team, Greenville College, lost a 70-53 decision to Westminster College in the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Tournament. Greenville finished the year with a 13-12 overall record. They were 7-9 in the SLIAC.
Names, names, names. We are looking for athletes to write about during the upcoming months. If anyone has a name to add, please e-mail me (Dan62801@aol.com). I will need the name of the athlete, the former high school, the college/university they are attending and of course the sport they are playing. Please put "Vandalia Leader Union" in the subject line.
There are only two rules to be included in this column. The athlete must be a graduate of one of the high schools or be a resident of one of the towns normally covered by The Leader-Union. Secondly, they must be an intercollegiate athlete, meaning their chosen school competes against other schools.