COLUMN: Winning year for UI baseball

By David Just

Favorite story:

Probably the Illinois-Indiana basketball game in Bloomington, Ind. Sure, it was an Illini loss, but it was entertaining seeing Hoosier fans get riled up for Kelvin Sampson. Those must have been the only 17,456 people that didn’t know what he was up to.

Best game I covered:

Hands down, it was the near no-hitter by five Illini pitchers against Saint Louis University. After going eight strong, the first pitch of the ninth was an ever-deadly groundball with eyes.

Most challenging story:

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I’m not sure what defines a challenging story, but I do know that stories are hard to write when nobody really wants to talk to you, and that’s what it was like after the baseball team was swept by Michigan and then lost to Eastern Illinois.

Play of the year:

There’s been a few, but Joe Bonadonna hitting safely nine straight times is definitely in the highlight reel.

Best quote:

After blowing a lead to Purdue, Bruce Weber threw a tantrum in the locker room. His first comments to the press:

“I wasn’t very happy. I mean, I tried not to blow up, but I did probably a little bit.”

Best interview:

Not sure who my best interview was, but if I had the chance, the one interview I’d like to do at this point is Brian Carlwell. He’s got quite a story to share.

Most telling off-the-court moment:

Please see the Bruce Weber comments in “Best quote.” The tantrum pretty much summed up the season.

Story line for ’08-’09:

The baseball team has a plethora of young talent that can hit and pitch well, and it’s only a matter of time before they’re taking home a Big Ten title.