By Steve Robinson | July 17, 2020 - 6:13 am
Posted in Category: Normal Cornbelters, The Normalite

It would be a safe bet to say that we were all thrown a curve ball courtesy of the pandemic we are currently in the midst of. Among the biggest casualties from it was our various means of escape from what we find ourselves facing when we watch the news: The ability to turn on another station to check out a ball game – any ball game, be it basketball, baseball, even arena football (if it is still around).

We were further deprived of sports when local high school softball and baseball teams had their seasons nixed as a result of the circumstances we are facing. And when May came around, if you were like me, potentially losing the ability to spend some summer nights watching the Normal CornBelters at The Corn Crib looked to be in jeopardy.

But the CornBelters were also throwing fans a curve of their own when they parted ways with the Prospect League after just one season which showcased strictly college players using a shortened season. We were just getting acquainted when team management tossed another curve by creating its own league and used players mainly from the immediate area and vicinity founding the Kernels Collegiate League, or KCL. In the years I have written about sports, I have seen teams exit from one league to the next before and this was one of the quickest.

And normally, during the summer, thanks to the ol’ editor, Mr. Pyne, I got to spend my summer covering games and interviewing local players. I had been looking forward to it starting in May and keeping me busy all summer.

But the pandemic abbreviated KCL’s schedule. So, to make up for that, using the rosters provided by the league, and with their thanks, I will list all of the local players from each team and the high school and college attended. Players who attend or attended local schools will be listed first.

There are only four teams in this league, and primarily being identified by their mascots, no communities mentioned. KCL teams are the CornBelters, Bobcats, Gems, and Hoots. I am presenting the teams in the order they are seen in current KCL standings.

CornBelters: Peyton Dillingham, outfielder, Normal Community West High School, Morehead State University; McCade Brown, pitcher, Normal West, Indiana University; Parker Mathieson, outfielder, University High, Parkland College; Nick Sharp, catcher, Bloomington High School, Odessa (TX) Community College; and Jack Gilmore, pitcher, Bloomington Central Catholic, Heartland Community College.

Gems: Brandon Roth, outfielder, Normal West, Black Hawk College; Billy Mote, infielder, U-High, Southeastern University (Fla.); Jacob Mote, infielder, U-High, Marshall Univ.; Jackson Bronke, pitcher, NCHS, ISU; Garrett Swingler, pitcher, Normal West, IWU; Drew Ziebarth, pitcher, U-High, University of Central Missouri; and Reid Rector, infielder, BHS, Rend Lake College.

Hoots: Austin Collinson, infielder, Normal West, Carl Sandburg College; Brendan Short, pitcher, NCHS, Central College (Iowa); Brendan Tupper, outfielder, U-High, Parkland College; Mason Burns, pitcher, NCHS, ISU; Will Dowell, pitcher, NCHS, Iowa Lakes Community College; C. J. Lewis, pitcher, Normal West, Parkland College; Nathan Hardman, pitcher, U-High, Lincoln Land Community College; Evan Hutson, infielder, Normal West, IWU; Alex Zogg, infielder, Normal West, Millikin Univ.; Sam Heaton, infielder, BCC, John Carroll University; and Jonathan Naour, pitcher, BCC, IWU.

Bobcats: Alec McGinnis, infielder, Normal West, Augustana College; Tyler Thierry, Normal Community High School, Heartland Community College; Nick Gilhaus, infielder, NCHS, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee; Jake McCaw, infielder, NCHS, Illinois State University; Jake Marti, outfielder, Normal West, University of Michigan; J. D. Theile, pitcher, NCHS, Eureka College; Christian Badorek, pitcher, NCHS, Millikin University; Will Kafer, outfielder, Normal West, Illinois Wesleyan University; Griffin McClusky, pitcher, NCHS, Valparaiso University; Jacob Gilmore, pitcher, BCC, ISU; Jake Jacek, pitcher, NCHS, Cisco Community College; and Jimmy Butler, infielder, Tri-Valley High School, IWU.

We can all hope to see these players in action before KCL ends its season on Sunday, Aug. 9. Here is hoping these young men will be able to make the best of their KCL season before starting what we all hope are their very successful college careers.

This entry was posted on Friday, July 17th, 2020 at 6:13 am and is filed under Normal Cornbelters, The Normalite. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Responses are currently closed, but you can trackback from your own site.

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