Effingham Daily News, Effingham, IL

January 16, 2014

Booher inducted to St. Elmo Wall of Fame

Alex McNamee
Effingham Daily News

ST. ELMO — He spent most of his youth and high school years chasing fellow St. Elmo baseball record breaker Logan Mahon, but Colton Booher’s pursuit ended Friday.

The 2008 graduate caught Mahon at the Wall (of Fame). He was inducted into the St. Elmo Wall of Fame before the Eagles varsity boys basketball game against Stew-Stras last week, one year after his former teammate received the honor.

The order it happened was familiar to Booher, who said he always wanted to “one up” Mahon, the St. Elmo alum who holds baseball records for wins, strikeouts and ERA.

Mahon was the Eagles’ No. 1 starter in 2007 when Booher, the No. 2 starter, was a junior. Mahon graduated, went to Kaskaskia College — eventually Southeast Missouri — and Booher became the star. Not that he wasn’t one already.

Accolades poured in during Booher’s senior year: National Trail Conference and Egyptian Illini Conference most valuable player, Vandalia Leader Union baseball player of the year, WKRV Radio baseball player of the year, and all of that was just for his spring sport.

He was the NTC and EIC most valuable player, Illinois Basketball Coaches Association fourth team all-state and Daily News co-player of the year for his performance on the hardwood.

Standing at center court on Friday, Booher smiled as the public address announcer listed the many other distinctions attached to his career, including all of his school records.

“It was kind of strange to hear them all read at once,” Booher said. “Even filling out college applications, I filled out some of my accomplishments but don’t even remember there being that many.”

All of Booher’s school records came on the offensive side of the baseball diamond, unlike Mahon. Both were pitchers, but Booher finished his career with the best batting average (.412), most hits (221), runs scored (177), home runs (43), and RBIs (163), among other individual season records.

“(Mahon) is a heck of a guy to chase because he has every other record that they didn’t say about me,” Booher said. “It was nice having a guy like that to look up to and try to play harder than every time we stepped on the field or court.”

Booher averaged 17.2 points and 11.2 rebounds per game during his senior basketball season, finishing his high school career with the second most points in program history (1,591). He was the only player in NTC history to be on the NTC All-Tournament team for all four seasons.

He played baseball and basketball at Olney Central College, before specializing in basketball at a school in Nashville, Tenn. He graduated from Southern Illinois-Carbondale.

Looking back, he said he would have liked to play baseball longer than he did; however, he said nothing matched the basketball environment.

“Basketball had more of the wow factor whenever you get in here and everybody is yelling,” Booher said. “It has that feeling you can’t get on a baseball field with 10 or 12 fans out there watching you.”

There was always a familiar name on the Wall, whether it was his uncle, Mike, a 1972 all-state basketball player, or Mahon more recently.

Mahon beat him there, but the former one-two punch hangs on a wall in history, now, on level pegging.

Alex McNamee can be reached at 217-347-7151, ext. 123, or alex.mcnamee@effinghamdailynews.com.