Effingham Daily News, Effingham, IL

Sports

May 24, 2013

Hecht taking dual talents to Normal

The coaches kept calling. Offering promises of how St. Anthony pitcher Ben Hecht could lead their team to the promised land. Of how Hecht would be in the starting rotation from day one, and how his 90-mph fastball would only improve under their tutelage.In spite of all the assurances of pitching fame and tantalizing exposure to pro scouts, one coach, and one school, honored a second promise to the 2012 Class 1A Player of the Year that made all the difference.Illinois State and coach Mark Kingston, who had followed Hecht closely throughout his high school career, reassured the star recruit that he wouldn't be limited to the mound. With the Redbirds, he could play in the infield as well and utilize his natural athletic ability to offer the team more than a rifle of a right arm."They're going to let me be a two-way guy," Hecht said. "A lot of schools talked about offering me as a two-way guy, but in crunch time, they backed off. For whatever reason, they veered off, they took away the two-way deal for me. That's fine, I respect that."

What Hecht respected most, however, was Illinois State's commitment to honor its promise. While other schools may have shied away from letting Hecht play somewhere off the hill for fear of injury, Illinois State saw the benefits. With their two-way promise still intact, Hecht decided to commit to the program this past week."Illinois State was one of those schools I've liked the whole time, and they came back in the loop," Hecht said. "I talked to Coach Kingston, the coaches are great, the players are great. Just the environment, they won the (regular season) Missouri Valley Conference title this year, they're going in a unbelievable direction."While he doesn't know exactly what direction he will take when he's not pitching, Hecht is just happy to have finally made the decision."That's actually something I don't know," he said when asked about his infield spot. "It's looking like second or third baseman. Shortstop, I can kind of agree, that my feet aren't quick enough for the next level. But they said I could step in and be the second or third baseman, they have great expectations."As they should. Hecht was 10-0 as a starting pitcher as a junior, and was undefeated again this season on the mound until a 4-0 setback against Teutopolis on April 25. When he wasn't pitching, Hecht was dazzling with his defensive prowess and creative baserunning, traits St. Anthony coach Kenny Miller said are few and far between."As far as baseball savvy goes, there's almost nobody better," Miller said. "He will beat you to the punch. He's going to push the envelope, he stole home several times. He's just a step ahead of everybody on the field with his thinking."Though he undoubtedly has plenty of talents in the batter's box, the professional scouts are still swarming to get a look at that right arm.

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  • DSC_0725.JPG Newton Post 20 bests Belleville Post 58 in opener 6-1
    After a 9-3 loss to Breese Post 252 Gray Monday night, Newton Post 20 coach John Grunloh predicted the five-day break until the Junior Legion Fifth Division tournament would be good for his players, especially his pitchers. 
    Mitch Jansen proved his coach right, spinning a gem in Newton's opener Saturday afternoon as Post 20 made short work of Belleville Post 58 6-1. 

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • daughertyfootball.jpg Hearts to prep with Mattoon 7-on-7

    Two weeks ago, Effingham was supposed to start shaking off the rust with a 7-on-7 football tournament in Mattoon. Naturally, it rained and was canceled.
    So Saturday, the Flaming Hearts will head up to Mattoon and play their first 7-on-7 event of the season, taking part in an 10- team field with Mattoon, Rochester, Robinson, Marshall, Cahokia and Pleasant Plains from Illinois, with Terre Haute North and Northview coming from Indiana. Rochester is bringing two squads.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Mammoser3.jpg Newton Post 20 plays Belleville Saturday

    With the District 23 tournament behind them, Newton Post 20 now knows its fate for the Fifth Division Junior Legion tournament this weekend in Bethalto.
    Newton will play Belleville Post 58 at 2:45 p.m. Saturday afternoon in Bethalto, in the third game of six on the day.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Bateman.jpg Effingham's season comes to a close with 11-1 loss to Salem

    A 1-0 lead for Effingham Post 120 rapidly evaporated, and the post’s Junior Legion season came to an end with a 11-1 loss in five innings to Salem Post 128 Tuesday night.
    The game was for the final spot of District 23 in the divisional tournament, with Newton Post 20 and Breese Post 252 Gray punching their tickets by winning their district divisions.

    July 23, 2014 2 Photos

  • Bierman.jpg Newton Post 20 falls short against Breese Gray 9-3

    While the District 23 title ultimately exceeded Newton Post 20’s grasp, their season will continue in Bethalto.
    Newton took on Breese Post 252 Gray for the Junior Legion District 23 title as the two division winners, but Breese’s bats proved too much for Newton in an 9-3 loss for Post 20.
    “The innings where they put some runs on us, we gave them some extra outs,” said Newton coach John Grunloh. “You’ve got to make the plays when you play better teams.”

    July 22, 2014 2 Photos

  • Barnes3.jpg Barnes' one-hitter boosts Post 120; Effingham beats Dieterich 1-0

    Ryan Barnes hasn’t seen a lot of time with Effingham Post 120’s junior legion team this season, but he showed up in a big way Monday night in a 1-0 win over Dieterich Post 628.
    The win kept Effingham’s season alive one more day in the Junior Legion District 23 tournament, as the post will face Salem Post 128 at 5:30 p.m. today for the district’s final spot in the divisional round. Salem Post 128 downed Mt. Vernon Post 141 1-0 in the West Division loser’s bracket, setting up the final with Effingham today.

    July 22, 2014 2 Photos

  • Mammoser2.jpg Newton Post 20 tops Effingham Post 120 7-5 late

    Most of the games at the Junior Legion District 23 tournament have seen pitching take control, but the pitchers in Sunday night's Effingham Post 120/Newton Post 20 game faced an uphill battle.
    While Brock Mammoser started the game for Post 20 on the hill and struggled, he came through with the biggest hit in the game, putting Newton up for good in a 7-5 win over Effingham.

    July 21, 2014 2 Photos

  • Campton.jpg Dieterich Post 628 eliminates Teutopolis Post 924 3-2

    Errors proved to be Teutpolis Post 924's undoing against Dieterich Post 628, as Dieterich's sixth-inning rally in an 3-2 win were boosted by three Teutopolis errors
    To lead off the sixth, Trenton Poe reached on an error by Brock Bueker, and came around to score on an infield single by Ryan Radloff with a throwing error on Bueker. Poe was already on third when the ball went in the Teutopolis dugout, awarding Poe home to tie the game.
    Bryce McClain followed with an RBI single to score Radloff and put Post 628 up for good. Dieterich scored again on a Briar Schmidt groundout where first baseman Brant Bueker tried to get an inning-ending out at second, but the throw was wild and brought home McClain.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Teutopolis, Deters down Altamont Post 512 2-0

    TEUTOPOLIS — Lucas Deters didn't get a ton of run support from his Teutopolis Post 924 teammates, but he didn't need much in a complete-game shutout, and Teutopolis ended Altamont Post 512's season with a 2-0 win Sunday afternoon.
    Deters' efforts at the Junior Legion District 23 tournament kept Teutopolis alive in the loser's bracket to face Dieterich Post 628 immediately following the win.

    July 21, 2014

  • Poe.jpg Two-out rally pushes Dieterich to win; Post 628 beats Vandalia Post 95 4-3

    Down one with two outs and Vandalia Post 95 ace Zach Schaal coming in in relief, Dieterich Post 628 had a tough task to keep its season alive.
    But down 3-2, Cole Hartke and Charlie Thoele laced back-to-back singles to score Briar Schmidt and Flach, respectively, to take a 4-3 lead.
    Clayton Campton held the lead in the seventh, striking out two and getting Post 95 in order to keep Dieterich's season alive.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

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