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Sportswriters #134: Will Smith re-signs with the Peoria Rivermen

Hockey pro Will Smith suffered a gruesome injury during a game between the Peoria Rivermen and the Pensacola Ice Flyers last March in Pensacola. Smith's ankle was sliced open by a skate, leaving a four-inch gash that spewed blood all over the ice as emergency personnel sprang into action. Smith has since recovered fully and has re-signed with the Rivermen for the 2018-19 season.


Sportswriters #133: Chatting with Hall of Famer Jim Thome

Listen to Peoria native Jim Thome talk about the first time he hit a ball over the fence; his days in the West Peoria Little League; why he wore No. 25; the joy of competition and much more about his road to the Baseball Hall of Fame, which will induct him on July 29 in Cooperstown, N.Y.


Sportswriters #132: Bobby Parker and Jeremy Crouch of Always A Brave

General manager Bobby Parker and new head coach Jeremy Crouch of the Bradley alumni team Always A Brave join the Journal Star's Dave Reynolds to chat about The Basketball Tournament. The team, a group of former Bradley basketball players including several from the 2006 NCAA Sweet Sixteen, have reunited for a third TBT. They take on the Primetime Players in the Midwest Regional on Saturday morning in Columbus, Ohio.


Sportswriters #131: Prep football standouts J.J. Guedet and Josiah Miamen

High school football practices officially begin in one month on August 6, but Washington's J.J. Guedet and Dunlap's Josiah Miamen sit down with preps writer Aaron Ferguson to discuss the Washington-Dunlap rivalry, the recruiting process and what they're looking forward to in their senior years.


Sportswriters #130: Peoria Chiefs manager Chris Swauger

Journal Star beat writer Dave Eminian sits down with Peoria Chiefs manager Chris Swauger to talk about the Midwest League team's run to a playoff spot in the first half, the manager's take on how players developed, and what he expects from the team in the second half of the season.


Sportswriters #129: Bradley basketball legend Roger Phegley

Former Bradley basketball player and NBA player Roger Phegley talks with the Journal Star's Dave Reynolds about his stellar career and how the game has changed since he played in the late 1970s and early 1980s.


Sportswriters #128: Steamboat Classic Hall of Fame inductees Leo Vandervlugt and Martha Reese

It's not just the world's fastest four-mile road course or the toughest 15K track that make the Steamboat Classic a special event. It's the Peoria hospitality and longtime super volunteers. Today we talk great memories and history with Martha Reese and Leo Vandervlugt, who will be inducted into the Steamboat Classic Hall of Fame for their decades of contributions.


Sportswriters #127: Peoria Rivermen Hall of Fame inductee Butch Kaebel

Pekin native Butch Kaebel, who played 258 games for the Peoria Rivermen between 1991 and 1998, will be inducted into the Peoria Rivermen Hall of Fame.


Sportswriters #126: Morton Potters baseball is ready for state

The Morton Potters are fresh off a 16-8 Elite Eight win over Stillman Valley to become the third Mid-Illini team in five years to reach the IHSA Class 3A State Finals. Senior pitchers Logan Peterson and Vinni Massaglia and head coach Jesse Crawford join sportswriter Aaron Ferguson to discuss their postseason run, the trials and tribulations, strength of schedule and much more.


Sportswriters #125: The buzz on big-time junior golf

The D.A. Points Junior Open golf tournament is coming to Pekin Country Club in July, bringing in some of the nation's best young players. We wanted to know more, so we're talking with Ryan Flanagan, Midwest director for the American Junior Golf Association, and Scott Phegley, a former AJGA participant who is serving as the marketing coordinator for the tournament.


Sportswriters #124: Pro golfer D.A. Points gives back

Pekin native D.A. Points joins us to talk about the AJGA D.A. Points Junior Open that he has landed for the Pekin Country Club in July. And we also get him going about his friendship with the comedian Bill Murray and highs and lows of playing on the Tour.


Sportswriters #123: Legendary Peoria basketball coach Chuck Buescher

One of the Peoria area's most storied basketball coaches, Chuck Buescher spent 25 years coaching basketball at Peoria Central High School and garnered two consecutive state titles in 2003 and 2004. After retiring from Peoria High, he spent two years as an assistant basketball coach at his alma mater Bradley University under head coach Jim Les. Coach Buescher shares some his memories, and his thoughts on basketball, past and present, with Journal Star sports writer Dave Reynolds.


Sportswriters #122: Basketball and Daily Fantasy Sports with Detroit Pistons beat writer Rod Beard

Daily Fantasy Sports has had a quick rise and is a popular form of fantasy sports. It can be free, but often includes buy-ins for tournaments to try and win money and prizes. Rod Beard of the Detroit News is one of the pioneers of incorporating daily fantasy sports in his line of work, covering the Detroit Pistons. He explains his experience of daily fantasy sports, the community and what he's learned about it. With the NBA Conference Finals in full swing, Beard offers his take on the...


Sportswriters #121: Former Bradley SID Joe Dalfonso

Joe Dalfonso joins the Journal Star's Dave Reynolds to chat about his time as the sports information director for Bradley University and his work as a press conference moderator fo the Missouri Valley Conference and then NCAA.


Sportswriters #119: Baseball coach Jerry Rashid

Longtime high school baseball coach Jerry Rashid joins sports writer Aaron Ferguson on the latest edition of the Sportswriters podcast to discuss the transition from high school to college, hardships of recruiting at the Division-III level, his time in high school baseball and what he's heard from Cleveland Indians pitcher Zach McAllister.


Sportswriters #118: Bradley baseball coach Elvis Dominguez

Dave Reynolds hosts Bradley baseball coach Elvis Dominguez and they discuss the team's good start to the season, their home opener and related topics pertaining to the sport.


Sportswriters #117: Playing in Peoria — or not?

So, the IHSA boys state basketball tournament returns to Peoria for another weekend, this one with the Class 3A and 4A championships representing the big schools. We bring in Michael O'Brien of the Chicago Sun-Times, since six of the eight teams are from Chicagoland, to break down what to watch. And then we venture into the problems plaguing tournament attendance. After 23 years in Peoria, is it time for the tournament to move elsewhere? Why? Why not? And if so, where?


Sportswriters #116: Original March Madness

We're at Carver Arena for the first weekend of the Illinois boys state basketball championships -- trademarked as "America's Original March Madness." We talk with the IHSA's Matt Troha about a major change to student cheer sections, and we try to pick who's going to win the Class 1A and 2A titles by the time it's over Saturday night.


Sportswriters #115: Arch Madness and the Commish

With the Missouri Valley Conference men's basketball tournament tipping off Thursday, we talk with MVC commissioner Doug Elgin about the Arch Madness event, the state of the league, Loyola's chances for an NCAA at-large bid, the Valley's stance on the CBI and CIT postseason tourneys, potential expansion and more.