TriCounty Named co-Tri County Female Athlete of the Year, Melissa Cassidy played a key role in leading the Illinois Central College softball team to the National Junior College championship.
Named the Most Valuable Player of the tournament, played in Hutchinson, Kansas, the former Washington High School athlete used her right arm with tremendous skill.
Game by game this is her story:
1. Shut out Central Alabama with one hit, fanning 10.
2. Blanked defending national Division I champion Central Arizona on 4 hits and fanned 9.
3. Lost to Ricks College of Idaho 2-1 with both runs unearned while giving 4 hits and fanning 7.
4. Pitched relief against Gulf Coast of Florida and turned a 3-0 deficit into a 4-3 win.
5. In the championship game she blanked Ricks 5-0, giving 4 hits and striking out 7.
She was also named to the NJCAA region XXIV all-tourney team and to the USA National Junior College All-Star team that played in the Canada Cup.
She gave up no runs in 20 innings in the Regional tourney and only one earned run in 30 innings in the National tournament. For the season she was 13-4 with 169 strikeouts in 118 innings. She allowed just 17 earned runs and 65 hits.
"She saved her best games for the tournament trail," lauded coach Lorene Ramsey. "Anyone can pitch with the bases empty. Melissa has the courage to pitch her best softball with runners in scoring position."
Named co-Tri County Female Athlete of the Year, Melissa Cassidy played a key role in leading the Illinois Central College softball team to the National Junior College championship.
Hockey was a sport local fans could watch only if they went to Chicago or St. Louis until BardezBanian founded the Peoria Stars in 1959.
The two were with the Pekin Stars until 1970, when they formed the Peoria Blades, on the outdoor rink at Logan, in 1971. The Logan "bubble" went up the next year and the Blades, through membership in the Continental League, gave Peoria a solid taste of hockey.
BardezBanian played with the Blades for a few years, then became president while Olson always served as the team's general manager.
And the two gave hockey a boost whenever they could. BardezBanian coached the Bradley University club team for many years and both were instrumental in starting and maintaining youth hockey in Pekin and Peoria.
Both are now retired, Olson from Caterpillar's Mossville plant and BardezBanian from a management position with the City of Peoria.