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.
Larry Leitner was among the state's elite officials for more than 40 years, officiating high school, college and professional sporting events from 1960 through 2003 and he remains involved in sports by serving on the board of directors for the Pekin Insurance Holiday Tournament, as well as evaluating current officials and moderating IHSA rules clinics.
Among his officiating highlights, Leitner worked more IHSA basketball and football tournament games than any official in the state's history, earning 27 consecutive boys basketball regional assignments. He also worked the IHSA boys basketball state finals in 1973, 1974 and 1976, including the 1976 championship game, and three IHSA football finals, including the first-ever 2A state championship game in 1974. A charter member of the Gateway Conference officiating crew in 1988, Leitner was part of the crew that officiated the 1990 and 1993 NCAA Division I-AA quarterfinals and he served as an associate official for the Big Ten Conference from 1984-88.
Leitner also was called upon to officiate two IESA state championship games, the 1990 National Catholic Basketball finals, three Shriner All-Star football games and the 1980 IBCA All-Star Classic, while also working for two seasons in the Midwest Professional Football League.
Leitner is a member of the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association, Peoria Officials and Bloomington/Normal Officials Halls of Fame.