During his basketball career, McKendree University senior Eric Hobbie made everyone sit up and take notice of him.
There are a lot of players who have accomplished that particular feat, but not many can claim that they have garnered attention on the national scene since their freshman year. The former Vandalia superstar can make that claim.
While his college career is officially in the books, Hobbie will be getting more awards in the upcoming months.
But, one of the biggest, National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics Division I All-American, has already been awarded to the senior. He was selected to the second team. As a junior, he earned first-team accolades, and he was an honorable-mention selection as a freshman and sophomore.
What is more telling about Hobbie's senior year was what he did not do. The senior missed 12 games over a two-month span, but was still able to earn second- team honors.
"I was stunned that I was named All-American," Hobbie said. "I did not think I had much of a chance of earning it after I missed those games."
Even though he missed the 12 contests, Hobbie finished with 413 points in the 22 games that he did play. In addition to his 18.8 points per game, he also finished with 171 rebounds, an average of 7.8 per game. Hobbie also had 49 assists, 30 blocks and 15 steals this year. He hit 132-of-332 field goals and 84-of-97 free throws. Almost half of his field goals, 65, were from beyond the arc.
"Eric has had a tremendous career at McKendree," said head coach Harry Statham. "Even though he missed those 12 games earlier in the year, he was able to finish his career on a high note. His hours of rehab allowed him to compete at a high level. I have so much respect for his dedicated effort to lead our team back from a disappointing start to finish as American Midwest Conference champions for the fourth consecutive year."
Hobbie and the Bearcats finished the season at the NAIA Division I Nationals, as they have the past five seasons.
They won their opening-round game, a 75-62 decision, over Southern Nazarene University. Hobbie scored 23 points in the victory, hitting 6-of-16 from the field and 10-of-11 from charity stripe. He struck once from beyond the arc. He also had four rebounds in his 37 minutes of play in the contest which was held in Municipal Auditorium in Kansas City, Missouri.
The next day, McKendree's season came to an end in the second round, as they lost a 77-59 decision to Georgetown College. Hobbie bucketed 20 points in his final game as a Bearcat, hitting six field goals (four treys) and four free throws. He grabbed eight rebounds and had two steals. McKendree finished the year with a 21-13 overall record.
"It was a great win for us," Hobbie said. "We were without one of our key players (former Wesclin player Sean Rakers).
"We ended the season very strong. The final game of the year against Georgetown College was a little disappointing, but we did what we could on that night."
A one-run advantage has been all that Spencer Patton has needed the past two weeks. The Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville hurler won his last two decisions by slim one-run margins, beating Arkansas State University (2-1) and Valparaiso University (1-0). In the most recent victory over Arkansas State, Patton worked six innings, allowing no earned runs on five hits. He fanned 12 batters and walked two.
The South Central graduate posted an even more impressive stat line against Valparaiso two weeks ago. In nine innings of work, Patton once again allowed no earned runs on five hits. He also struck out 12 Valpo batters. Patton is 3-2 overall, while SIUE is 6-15.
Mulberry Grove graduate Rachel Brewer has posted multiple hits for Greenville College in three of the last four games. Her best effort of the three was in GC's 4-3 loss to University of Minnesota-Crookston. She was 2-for-3 with a two-run homer.
In the GC Panthers' first win of the year, an 11-2 victory over Fisher College, Brewer was 2-for-5 with a solo homer. In a more recent win over Robert Morris University-Springfield, Brewer was 2-for-5 and drove home two. The Lady Panthers are 3-10.
St. Elmo grad Logan Mahon, a Southeast Missouri State University senior, earned his first save of the year as SEMO defeated Morehead State University, 3-2. Mahon did not allow a single hit or earned run. He struck out one hitter. Mahon suffered the loss in SEMO's 6-5 loss to Wright State University. Mahon, who worked 1 1/3 innings, allowed one earned run on two hits. He fanned two batters and walked one. SEMO is 12-11 overall and 1-1 in the Ohio Valley Conference.
Former South Central basketball player Isaac Grapperhaus recently finished his season at Illinois College. Grapperhaus, who played in all 24 games, made 11 starts and averaged 20.1 minutes per game. Grapperhaus finished the year with 238 points and 78 rebounds, respective averages of 9.9 points and 3.3 rebounds per game. He also blocked 16 shots, had 16 steals and doled out 12 assists. Grapperhaus, a 6-foot-5 sophomore center, hit 93-of-166 field goals and 35-of-50 free throws. He hit 17-of-34 field goals from beyond the arc. IC was 16-8 overall and 12-6 in the Midwest Conference.
Dallas Gray, a Vandalia grad, opened the spring portion of his golf season with a third-place finish at the Millikin University Spring Opener, which was held at Hickory Point Golf Course in Forsyth. The Blackburn College sophomore shot a 77 in both rounds to finish with a 154. Blackburn finished second with a 641. Millikin University won with a 617.
More recently, Gray took 11th with a 155 at the University of Illinois-Springfield Invitational, which was held at Pekin County Club. Gray shot a 77 in the second and final rounds. As a team, Blackburn finished eighth with a 644. Rockhurst University posted the winning stroke count of 611.
Vandalia grad Jessica Earnest and the rest of the Vanderbilt University bowling team will find out this week if they will advance to the bowling nationals. In their final regular season outing of the year, the Music City Classic in Smyrna, Tenn., Vanderbilt finished fourth. Nebraska finished first, while Fairleigh Dickinson University and the University of Central Missouri took second and third, respectively. Earnest finished the regular season with a 202.5 average through the first 48 games. She has bowled higher than 200 a total of 29 times this year.
MacMurray College's Shelby Woodward, a Mulberry Grove graduate, was 1-for-4 and scored a run, but it was not enough to power the Lady Highlanders by crosstown rival Illinois College, which won, 10-4. In the other contest between the two, a 7-4 MacMurray loss, Woodward was 1-for-3. MacMurray is 2-9 through their first 11 games.
Ryan Geselle, a South Central grad and Millikin University freshman, got his first taste of college varsity baseball recently. Gesell, a pitcher, took the loss in Millikin's 7-3 loss to Nicols College. In his four innings on the hill, Geselle allowed three earned runs on four hits. He walked three and fanned one. Geselle is 0-1, and Millikin is 4-8.
Greenville College sprinter Paige Dodson, a Vandalia grad, helped the Panthers' 1,600-meter relay team take fourth at the Washington University Mini Meet. Dodson and three other GC sprinters finished the race in 4 minutes, 15.38 seconds. Team scores were not kept.