Welcome to the softball page for the Bloomington/Normal wiki. Here you will find information involving college softball programs in the community, as well as information about the local softball organization. If you are in need of finding out more information about these organizations, please visit the links provided.
The Redbirds are an NCAA Division I team. The softball Redbird team at Illinois State has been around since 1965. At ISU, this was a time when women's athletic sports were coming up to speed with men's intercollegiate programs. Since the beginning, there have been over 1,000 wins, made eight Women's College World Series appearances, won 12 conference championships, and won five conference tournament titles. http://catalog.e-digitaleditions.com/issue/54699
The head coach is Melinda Fischer, and this is her 27th season. Since being a coach, she has led the Redbirds to many victories. Her overall record as a coach is 885-593-4. Fischer has the most athletic wins as a coach since the history of Illinois State athletics, the "winningest coach is Missouri Valley Conference softball history," and she was selected as the head coach for the MVC All-Centennial Softball Team.
Tina Kramos is the Assistant Coach and has her 12th season with the Redbirds. Kramos coaches the Redbird hitters and outfielders. Kramos's knowledge was especially put to use in 2011 when the team hit a smashing 70 home runs. Shannon Nicholson is also the Assistant Coach, and she has her fourth season with the Redbirds. Nicholson was a successful pitcher, and she continues her passion by being the pitching coach. http://catalog.e-digitaleditions.com/issue/54699
In 2011, the overall record was 36-19, Home: 12-2, Away: 10-12, Neutral: 14-5, Valley: 21-5. In Conference only, Valley: 21-5, Home: 12-2, Away: 9-3. http://grfx.cstv.com/photos/schools/ilsu/sports/w-softbl/auto_pdf/2011-12/quick_facts/quick_facts.pdf
Illinois State went into the 2012 postseason felt confident after winning eight of their last ten games heading into the postseason where they faced off against Drake in the first round and won 3-0. Nexwas for the conference championship and they beat Southern Illinois in a blow out 13-3 to take the title and move on to regionals where they started off shaky losing to Missouri 6-0. The Redbirds never gave up though because they came out their next two games and won a thriller 1-0 game in 9 innings against Massachusetts and blanked DePaul 3-0. Illinois state's next challenge was to beat Missouri who they already lost to the first game twice to move on and it seemed to much for the Redbirds as they fell to the Tigers in a heartbreaker 2-1 to end the season.
Illinois Wesleyan's first year of softball was in 1977 and since then they have won eight Division III national championships. Their nickname is the Titans and is located in Bloomington/Normal. Illinois Wesleyan is a division III school and have won back to back national championships two times and then won four in a row from years 2000-2003. http://www.iwusports.com/sports/2009/1/30/SB_0130093625.aspx?path=softball
The head coach is steve king and he just finished his fith season as the head coach at IWU. His overall record as the coach is 160-56 with an overall winning percentage of .74 and won three national championships. Coach King is assisted by Lyle Day who has been assistant coach since 2003, Graham Arnold who has been with IWU since 2008, and Tiffany Prager who is in her first season with the titans. http://www.iwusports.com/coaches.aspx?path=softball&
In 2011, the titans overall record was 21-15 with a winning percentage of .583 and in 2012 an overall record of 39-8 with a winning percentage of .722. http://www.iwusports.com/sports/2009/1/30/SB_0130093625.aspx?path=softball
Illinois Wesleyan University had high hopes going into the 2012 postseason with hoping to reach and take home the national championship. They made a good run in the tournament going through St. Norbert in the first game 4-1 and taking their second game against Wisc.-EAU Claire in a close one 2-1. Their third game is where they ran into trouble against Linfield where they got shutout and lost 3-0, but the Titans fought back to beat Carthage in an elimination game 2-1. After beating Carthage they found themselves up against Linfield again and once again they got defeated 6-2 to end thier season.
Heartland Community College
Heartland Hawk softball is relatively new because the program started five years ago. Heartland's nickname is the Hawks and plays their home games at the Corn Crib. Even with the short existance heartland has won a national championship in 2008 and have reached the nationals in every year except 2012.
The coaching staff at Heartland is lead by head coach John Bassett who is with Heartland for his second year. The assistant coaches are Megan Rich who is also in her second year at Heartland and Steve Leverton who is in his first year with the Hawks. http://www.heartland.edu/athletics/softball/
In 2011, Heartlands overall record was 37-19 with a winning percentage of .660 and in 2012 they combined for an outstanding record of 57-19 with a winning percentage of .791. http://njcaa.org/colleges_college_stats.cfm?sid=48&divid=0&slid=14&seasonselect=576&collegeid=1777&report_id=3949&requesttimeout=15
The Heartland Community College softball team's sights at a national championship ended a lot earlier than they have hoped. The girls had to play Danville area community college for their first game which they won because of a great performance on the mound by Beth Wilson who pitched a one hit shutout with seven strike outs and four walks. The offense for the Hawks came in the third inning when Danielle Burge hit a Home Run and later on in the game Talia Verardo hit an RBI single. They won the first game of the postseason 2-0. The next game the Hawks faced a very tough opponent in Illinois Central College who came into the postseason playing really good. The Hawks played the Cougars tough the whole game but failed to get any runs in the 4-0 loss to knock them out of the playoffs and a chance at a national championship.
Bloomington-Normal Girls Softball Association, more commonly known as BNGSA was formed in 1978. There are two different divisions within this organization, in-town and travel. The numerous amount of volunteers and sponsorships from local businesses have contributed to the success of BNGSA over the years and have provided girls of all ages the ability to play the sport they love.
The goal of the In-Town division is to allow girls to develop their softball skills in a recreational setting. There are five different age groups and the age of the player is determined by their age on December 31st. If in need of a challenge, girls are more than welcomed to play up an age group, however, under no circumstances will anyone be allowed to play below their age group. For 6-8 year olds there is instructional coach pitch. This gives young girls the chance to learn and develop their skills starting with the basics. After that, the age groups are 10 & under, 12 & under, 15 & under, and 19 & under. Registration begins in October and ends in March. The season typically begins in April and goes through July.
The goal of the travel division is to field the most competitive teams by giving opportunities to all girls who show travel softball skills. In the beginning of August, girls from Bloomington-Normal and the surrounding areas are invited to try out for the travel program. Each age division fields at least two teams but usually more teams are created due to the overwhelming amount of talent present. The age groups are 10 & under, 12 & under, 14 & under, 16 & under, and 18 & under. Travel softball is a big commitment because most teams play games year around in tournaments all a crossed Illinois and even in some out of state tournaments.
Each year, BNGSA awards four $800 scholarships to four BNGSA athletes. Since these scholarships are competitive, each applicant must fit the criteria for eligibility (to view criteria, click here www.bngsa.org/bngsascholarship.html). They also must submit an application and write a 250 word essay. The scholarships will be awarded at the Board of Directors meeting, which occurs in May.
For more information about BNGSA please visit www.bngsa.org
Heartland Community College Softball. N.p., n.d. Web. 6 July 2012. <http://www.heartland.edu/athletics/softball/>.
Illinois State University Softball. N.p., n.d. Web. 6 July 2012. <http://www.goredbirds.com/sports/w-softbl/sched/ilsu-w-softbl-sched.html>.
Illinois State University Softball. N.p., n.d. Web. 6 July 2012. <http://grfx.cstv.com/photos/schools/ilsu/sports/w-softbl/auto_pdf/2011-12/quick_facts/quick_facts.pdf>.
Illinois Wesleyan University Softball. N.p., n.d. Web. 6 July 2012. <http://www.iwusports.com/sports/2009/1/30/SB_0130093625.aspx?path=softball>.
Bloomington-Normal Girls Softball Association. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 September 2015. <www.bngsa.org>.