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The daily pitch from Sports Editor Matt Daniels: June 11, 2024

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Sports Editor Matt Daniels with a look at what’s going on around the area:

Pancho Moore/The News-Gazette

Tuscola junior Lia Patterson clears the final hurdle before sprinting to the finish line in the 100-meter hurdles during the Class 1A prelims on May 16 at the IHSA girls’ track and field state meet at O’Brien Field in Charleston.

Three reasons we love sports today

1. The first of The News-Gazette’s six high school spring sports All-Area teams will run this Thursday, with girls’ track and field kicking off the honorees. Next up: girls’ soccer on Saturday.

2. Offensive lineman Melvin Priestly hasn’t played a snap yet with the Illinois football team, but the East St. Louis native and Grambling transfer will throw out the first pitch on Wednesday night before the Pirates and Cardinals play at Busch Stadium in St. Louis.

3. Wednesday night is part of Illini Night at Busch Stadium. Priestly, defensive lineman Alex Bray, linebacker Jojo Hayden and offensive lineman Brandon Henderson signing autographs in the Budweiser Terrace at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday.

Drew Dickinson Virginia

Former Illini Drew Dickinson is in his fifth season as the Virginia pitching coach.

Numbers game: 14

Runs allowed by the Virginia baseball pitching staff in the NCAA tournament. A staff overseen by former Illini Drew Dickinson. Now in his fifth season as the Cavaliers’ pitching coach, the 2001 Big Ten Pitcher of the Year for the Illini will get to see how his pitchers handle the spotlight of the College World Series when it begins on Saturday in Omaha, Neb. The Cavaliers (46-15) have not lost any of their first five postseason games.

Thomas Detry headshot

Former Illini Thomas Detry will tee off at the U.S. Open starting Thursday in Pinehurst, N.C.

Crowd control

Three events I’m paying attention to

1. The U.S. Open. Former Illini Thomas Detry will try to play as well in his second major this season as he did when he tied for fourth at the PGA Championship last month. First-round action in Pinehurst, N.C., gets going on Thursday.

2. John E. Hayes Best of the Midwest Invitational. The Danville Post 210 Senior Legion baseball team opens play in the 14-team tournament on Thursday, with teams from five different states converging on Terre Haute, Ind.

3. Connecticut Sun at Chicago Sky. Angel Reese, Kamilla Cardoso and the rest of the Sky (4-6) host one of the WNBA’s best teams at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Wintrust Arena in Chicago.

Courtney Louret family

Courtney Louret with her husband, Zach, along with the couple’s daughter Brecke and son Kade.

Coach’s corner

Three questions with Centennial girls’ swimming coach Courtney Louret, who won Coach of the Year honors in 2017 and 2018 from The News-Gazette:

1. My favorite sports team is … the Chicago Bulls.

2. Three coaches I’d like to have dinner with are … Phil Jackson, Geno Auriemma and Bob Bowman.

3. My biggest pet peeve is … when I have to repeat myself more than once to my athletes.

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