01/29/15 - The 2015 Heartland Hawks softball team has been ranked as the number 16 NJCAA D-II team in the country. The Hawks went 35-21 last year under first year head coach Steve Leverton, finished the season ranked 14th nationally, and won their fourth straight Mid-West Athletic Conference championship. Returning this season is first-team All-American and Region 24 Player of the Year Alexis Tarver, who was ninth in the country last year with 16 home runs, and tied for 16th in the nation with 67 runs batted in. Tarver also swept the M-WAC Player and Freshman of the Year awards last season. Another player to watch for the Hawks is outfielder Kelsey Bessler who was named M-WAC Honorable Mention last year.
For more information on this year's NJCAA rankings, please visit http://www.njcaa.org/sports_polls.cfm?category=Polls&sid=48&divid=2&slid=14.
Congrats to Alexis for this outstanding recognition! Also congratulations to Ashli King and Breanna Wonderly for being named to the All-Region team! Tarver led the Hawks with a .477 batting average, 16 home runs, which was also tied for ninth in all of NJCAA Division-II, and 67 RBIs, which was tied for 16th in the nation. She was also second on the team in both hits (82) and runs scored (52). King finished second on the squad in RBIs (47) and home runs (9), while also ending third in batting average (.407). Wonderly led the Hawks pitching staff with 17 wins and 18 complete games, a 1.74 ERA and 115 strikeouts.
By virtue of Heartland's sweep of Lincoln Land on Saturday, they have finished in a three-way tie for the M-WAC title with Parkland and Lincoln Land. The three teams will be tri-champions as each ended the M-WAC season with an identical 22-6 record.
FINAL 2014 M-WAC SOFTBALL STANDINGS
|Lewis and Clark||11-15|
The Heartland Community College softball team moves into the 2014 season with a sense of excitement surrounding the program. With the Hawks adding 14 freshmen to the returning 7 sophomores, Heartland will again have to prove that they reload, not rebuild!
Heartland players will test themselves early and often during the fall portion of their schedule. The Lady Hawks will play the all ten competition dates against NCAA Division I opponents. "We played competitively against most of the big schools last year," says head coach John Bassett, who enters his fourth season with a combined 144-48 record while at the helm of the softball program. "This year, we will be leaning on sophomore talent and leadership to help push a very talented freshmen class towards reaching their potential."
Heartland plays the likes of Illinois State, Notre Dame, Missouri, Illinois, DePaul and Northwestern – no small task for a group of 17–18 year-olds as they match up against lineups consisting of teams battle-tested against the best collegiate softball players in the country, many of whom are in their 20s.
Maddie Martindale leads a young pitching corps. Martindale posted an 11-2 record last season. She will be joined by sophomores Beka Ferguson, Lindsay Williams, Ashli King, Canella Ontiveros, Laney Thacker, and Katie Dickey.
Ferguson returns after earning MWAC Conference Freshmen of the Year honors as well as All-Region team honors. She will anchor a defense that turned 65 double plays last season. Ferguson batted .431 last season with an outstanding OPS of 1.055. She drove in 59 while swiping 29 bags, all while only striking out 6 times in 236 plate appearances.
Ashli King, Lindsay Williams, and Laney Thacker will be looked upon to continue to provide top notch defense behind the plate as well as help guide a young pitching staff through their first collegiate season.
Katie Dickey and Canella Ontiveros will be looked upon to continue to play an excellent outfield, as well as provide some speed for the offense.
Heartland Community College head softball coach John Bassett has accepted a coaching position at Indiana University—Purdue University Fort Wayne. Three-year assistant coach Steve Leverton will assume the head coaching duties for the Hawks, effective immediately.
Bassett, who began coaching at Heartland in 2010, posted a 144-48 overall record. He helped the Hawks captured three M-WAC conference championships, securing the best record in Region 24 each of his three seasons. He has coached five All-Americans, 10 All-Region players and 19 All-Conference players.
"John contributed substantially to our success over the past three years, and we certainly wish him the best in this new chapter of his career," said Nate Metzger, athletics director for the College.
"We're excited to have Steve step up and take the reins of this nationally recognized program," Metzger continued. "This move will provide some continuity and familiarity for our current team, and help us evaluate the potential benefits for a longer-term appointment—if, of course, it makes sense for both Coach Leverton and for Heartland softball."
04/24/2013 - Heartland Softball moves to number 5 the NJCAA Softball Polls
03/19/2013 - Christina Beam earned NJCAA Player of the week honors.
01/20/2013 - See news story on former Hawk, Burge Binges on Homework and Homers
01/24/2013 - Heartland Softball is ranked in the top 10 in the NJCAA Softball Polls
12/4/2012 - Heartland sophomore, Beth Wilson, has committed to continue her softball career at Kansas University next season. Kansas Softball Adds Dominant Pitcher
10/16/2012 - The Columbia Daily Tribune has a story on Heartland Hawk Hayden Filson
*All Hawk softball home games will be played on campus at The Corn Crib, unless otherwise stated on the schedule page. The stadium is east of Heartland's main campus, Corn Crib, 1000 West Raab Road, Normal, IL.