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.
As a man devoted to sports, Mick Donahue contributed an essential (and sometimes underappreciated) service to organized sports in Peoria for decades. His passion for athletics began as a youth as a participant in the Salvation Army Junior League Tournament and Proctor Center Basketball League. At Peoria Manual High School in the early 50’s, he played on the baseball team. After graduating from Manual, he was a player/manager on the LeTourneau-Westinghouse team in the old Industrial League, which was one of the nation’s top amateur sports organizations at the time.
Mick spent much of his life coaching, organizing and officiating youth sports in the area, especially baseball, softball, basketball and volleyball. He volunteered as a coach from 1957-72 for the St. Boniface Mustangs. Additionally he coached numerous Little League and Pony League teams.
Over the next several decades, he volunteered thousands of hours organizing and administering officials for various league play in the community. Beginning in 1972, he supervised adult softball and basketball leagues for the Peoria Park District. He also scheduled officials/umpires for the area’s catholic grade schools as well as many basketball, baseball, and softball games for the Peoria Public Schools. In his over 30 years with the Peoria Park District, Mick trained, assigned, and supervised officials for adult softball games for leagues at Peoria Stadium and Sterling school. He organized a force of volunteer basketball officials for the Prairie State Games.
Even after his passing in 2011, his legacy in sports continued to have a positive impact for a charitable cause. As a tribute and acknowledgement of his decades of dedication to local softball leagues, a Mick Donahue Memorial Tournament was held in August of 2013, on the park district diamonds near Peoria Stadium. Many teams participated and many others, including umpires, volunteered their services. Proceeds from the successful event were donated to the PKD (Polycystic Kidney Disease) Foundation, a disease being fought by his granddaughter. Concurrent with the tournament, a park bench was dedicated near the large diamond near Peoria Stadium. The small plaque affixed to the bench, reads, “In Memory of Mick Donahue for his dedication to softball and the Peoria Park District.”