TriCounty Illinois Central softball coach Lorene Ramsey, who has molded dozens of outstanding players in her long Cougar career, may have never had a player like Kim Hartzler of Washington.
An outstanding pitcher who finished last season with a 17-2 record and an ERA of 0.85 Hartzler also was the team's leading hitter with .477 average, a flock of extra base hits and 62 RBls.
"I've had some very versatile pitchers in the past, but I've never had a pitcher that hit almost .500," praised Ramsey.
Hartzler always had her bat in the lineup, playing third when not pitching. And she was no slouch there, either. "She's played third base for us in All-American fashion defensively," points out Ramsey.
"In my years involved with ICC softball, I have never seen one person be such an impact player offensively, pitching and defensively," says batting coach Rudy Rudolph.
"She can hit for singles or for power," points out Ramsey. "She's a tremendous RBI player."
Hartzler, who is now attending Eastern Illinois University, was selected along with teammate Brigit Cornish for the United States Junior College All-Star team that played in the Canada Cup tournament last season. She played every inning of all nine games.
In 1995 she also was named to the First Team All Regional; first team all regional tournament; Most Valuable Player NCAA regional tournament; first team National Softball Coaches Association All-American; first team National Junior College Athletic Association All-American.
Her .478 batting average at ICC last season was the highest average of any regular player in the 27-year history of the ICC softball program.
Illinois Central softball coach Lorene Ramsey, who has molded dozens of outstanding players in her long Cougar career, may have never had a player like Kim Hartzler of Washington.
Howard Maple was one of the most amazing athletes ever to come out of Peoria. A football, basketball and baseball standout at Central High School, he went on to become a brilliant quarterback at Oregon State in the late 1920s and later played in both the National Football League and in major league baseball with the Washington Senators.