Effingham Daily News, Effingham, IL


July 12, 2013

Hecht headed to Illinois State Chooses college over New York Mets

Surrounded by professional baseball players and fellow Mets draftees, Ben Hecht was certainly feeling the temptation of the professional lifestyle calling his name.

Hecht, the St. Anthony graduate, traveled to Port St. Lucie, Fla. last month after being selected in the 31st round of the MLB Rule 4 draft in early June to work out with the team that drafted him. Despite the allure, Hecht decided to honor his commitment to Illinois State University and will be heading to college to play baseball instead of entering the minior leagues. The deadline to sign with New York was today, and now he will not be draft eligible until 2016."Seeing that makes you want to be a part of it just like anyone else. When I saw some of the outfielders and infielders, it made me want to sign that contract more, to have the top defense at the highest level," Hecht said. "Hopefully, I'll see them in three years."The St. Anthony righty certainly had the pedigree after the last two seasons, when he was named the Class 1A Player of the Year as a junior, finishing that season with a 10-0 record and a 0.75 ERA. His senior season was a bit tougher, finishing with a 4-1 record while striking out 97 batters in 51.2 innings. He was named to the Class 2A IHSBCA All-State team. Hecht impressed the Mets' scouts greatly on May 1, when he struck out 17 Neoga Indians on his way to a no-hitter.While going to college or the pros each had their merits, Hecht went with what felt comfortable. "I felt much safer going to college, learning there, getting in better shape," Hecht said. "There's nothing wrong with waiting a little longer, and reassuring yourself you won't get injured. Build up more of a repertoire of pitches, get my velocity up."Still, during his time in Port St. Lucie, there was enough there to give him pause on the decision to become a Redbird. "It was different," he said. "There's a challenge down there that's undescribable. It's something you want to be a part of."Hecht reports to Illinois State in mid-August, where he will play in the infield and pitch for the Redbirds. Playing the field and pitching was a key point in his selection of Illinois State earlier this year. The Mets and Hecht remained in communication for the month since the draft, with them trying to sell him on signing a professional contract. "They told me the fastest way to get to the MLB is to start your career out of high school, which I don't doubt," he said. "I'm still thinking about what could have been."Hecht will be playing ball around the area after his summer league with the St. Louis Pirates ended. He said he'll play a bit for the St. Anthony travel team and hopefully for the Effingham Post 120 American Legion team as their season wraps up shortly. "I don't want to be greedy, I have to wait my turn," he said."As much as I want to be down there right now, I think I made the right decision. "I hope I did."

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  • Mike McDonald.jpg Effingham football coach Mike McDonald to retire at year's end

    The idea of retirement has been on Effingham football coach Mike McDonald's mind for a while.
    But he's finally acting on it, as McDonald announced that he plans to retire as the head coach of the Flaming Hearts at the end of the 2014 season.

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • MammoserLeft.jpg Switching it up; Newton's Mammoser trying his hands at switch pitching

    American Legion fans around the central Illinois area have started to hear of Newton’s Brock Mammoser.
    The pole vaulter, point guard and quarterback also finds time for the baseball field, and while he routinely sat in the middle of the order for Post 20 played shortstop and first base with flair, there’s one thing everyone came back to.
    He’s a switch pitcher. Mammoser took to the mound left and right for Newton, literally, pitching games with both his left and his right arm.
    It all started with a half-hearted suggestion a few years back.

    August 1, 2014 2 Photos

  • czachorskimug.jpg Czachorski: Extra innings intrigue unmatched

    Obscenely long baseball games are my kryptonite. Once I get sucked in, it’s impossible for me to stop watching until it’s over. It doesn’t matter if it’s the Cubs, the Cardinals, the Astros or the Mariners — if it’s on TV and it’s going into the twelfth inning or later, you can bet I’m finding a way to tune in.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • 7-29NewtonOrientmain.JPG Newton's season ends in 14-4 loss

     Newton Post 20 almost pulled another comeback off against the Orient Miners, cutting a 5-1 deficit to 5-4 midway through Monday night’s game.
    But Newton’s Junior Legion Fifth Division tournament run came to an end, as Orient rattled off nine runs in the sixth inning and clinched a spot in the state tournament with a 14-4 win.

    July 29, 2014 2 Photos

  • 7-28NewtonSundaygame2.JPG Comeback win keeps Post 20 alive in 10-7 win

    Newton Post 120 didn’t let a 4-1 deficit get to them against Highland Post 439, using a patient approach in the face of an elimination game.
    Three bases-loaded walks in the bottom of the third tied the game at 4-4, and with the bases loaded down 5-4 in the fourth, Tim Weber broke the game open with a two-run double and an error.
    By the time the dust settled, Newton led 10-5 heading to the sixth inning and would hold on to a 10-7 win to keep its season alive.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • 7-28NewtonSundaygame1.JPG Salem deals Newton first divisional loss

    Mitch Bierman started off Newton Post 20’s game against Salem Post 128 with a bang Sunday afternoon, hitting a leadoff triple and scoring on the next batter.
    Post 20’s offense didn’t follow his lead from there, as Newton had just three more hits and no runs, and falling in a Junior Legion Fifth Division winner’s bracket game to Salem 12-1 in seven innings.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • 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

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