In 2017, the Illinois State baseball team won 16 games. That was Central Catholic product John Rave’s first year with the Redbirds. Flash forward two years, ISU has 30 wins heading into the last week of the season thanks to a lot of hard work.
“Just seeing all the hard work pay off for myself, as long with all of my teammates. It starts when you first get on campus, and its just been a grind from there,” said the ISU junior Rave. “So to see that kind of paying off for me and all the guys, is just tremendous.”
The Redbirds have a special opportunity this year: they will host the Missouri Valley Conference tournament on their home field. They know it’s a big advantage and something they’ve been looking forward to all year.
“Theres been buzz, even back in the fall about the tournament being at our place and every one is pumped about that,” said ISU head coach Steve Holm. “Obviously when you are at home, you have the advantage.”
ISU is playing great baseball going into the postseason. If they can win the Valley tournament, they will head to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2010.
“Having our fans behind us, and all the people that have been coming out the rest of the year, its awesome,” said ISU redshirt sophomore Jack Butler. “Its going to be big time for us.”
“Being able to host the tournament at Duffy Bass, its going to be a great feeling. Hopefully we are at the top of the list as far as seeding, if not, we are going to compete,” said Rave. “Every team in this conference can win it, so its going to be a lot of fun and we cant wait for it.”