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    Dusty Bensko
    33 Dusty Bensko

    Pleasant Plains, Ill.

    High School:
    Pleasant Plains

    Height / Weight:
    6-4 / 210





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    2004 Junior:
    Appeared in 33 games and started 28 • Finished the season on a six-game hitting streak • Hit .351 (13-for-37 over his last 10 appearances) • Homered in back-to-back games against Mississippi State and South Florida • Also contributed on the mound, starting Big Ten games against Michigan, Indiana and Iowa and earning saves out of the bullpen against Winthrop and Blackburn • Against Winthrop, threw three scoreless innings to ensure team's only win of its three-game series • Long outings of the year came in starts against Indiana and Iowa (five innings each).

    2003 Sophomore: Finished third on the team with a .326 batting average • Started 41 of the 46 games he played, mostly at third base and DH • Tied for second on the team in home runs with five along with finishing fourth on the team with 29 RBI • Had one four-hit, two three-hit and seven two-hit games • Carried Illinois past Ohio State by providing the game-winning single in game one and the game-winning home run in game two of the brief three-game series • Gave Illinois the winning hit in game three of the Minnesota series • In that same week, provided the winning home run in game one against IPFW and the game-winning single in game two against the Mastodons • Hit .375 in the Minnesota and Northwestern series, as well as hitting .444 against Michigan State • Played for the Peninsula Oilers of the Alaska Baseball League over the summer.

    2002 Freshman: True freshman saw action at both second base and designated hitter, starting 14 games at second and three at DH • Had three multiple-hit games, two two-hit games and one three-hit game • Longest hitting streak was five games • Hit a team-leading .500 over four starts the opening weekend of Big Ten play at Indiana • Hit a double to drive in a run in the series finale against Indiana • Won a game for Illinois with a ninth inning double against Wright State on the Spring Trip • Collected his first collegiate hit against Northeastern on the Spring Trip • Scored twice and finished the game 2-for-4 • Went 3-for-6 with one run scored and four runs driven in against Dartmouth on the Spring Trip • Won CICL Player of the Week honors two consecutive weeks in June while playing for the Springfield Rifles.

    Earned eight varsity letters at Pleasant Plains: four each in baseball and basketball • Earned all-state honors in baseball his sophomore, junior and senior seasons • Also first-team all-state in basketball as a junior and senior after receiving honorable mention all-state honors as a sophomore • All-conference in baseball all four years and three years in basketball • Earned MVP honors at both the state basketball and baseball tournaments his junior season as Pleasant Plains took home titles in each sport • Dual MVP honors earned him mention in the Chicago Tribune's Top 25 Sports Events of the Year for 1999-2000 • Member of USA Today's 2000 All-USA team and named one of the top 25 players in the state in 2000 by the Chicago Sun-Times • As a senior was named the first-team all-state shortstop by the Chicago Tribune and was the Springfield State Journal-Register Male Athlete of the Year • Participated in the IHSA Hitting Derby at the state tournament as both a sophomore and junior • Finished third in Mr. Basketball voting in Illinois in 2001 • Holds all-time scoring record in basketball at Pleasant Plains with 2,488 career points • Won Lt. Governor's 2000 Youth Excellence Award and was nominated for both the 2000 Wendy's Heisman Award and McDonald's All-America basketball team.

    Born March 6, 1983 • Parents are Raymond and Diane Bensko • Majoring in sports management • Great uncle, Ronald Graham, played football at Illinois in 1922 • Lists biggest thrill in sports as winning state in two different sports (baseball, basketball) his junior year, marking the first time that's been accomplished in IHSA history • National Honor Society member earned numerous academic awards including the Lincoln Library Literary Award, Jacksonville Rotary Club Scholar-Athlete Award, Who's Who Among American High School Students mention and high honor roll honors • Favorite athlete is Alex Rodriguez because he does his job everyday • Lists his parents as the biggest influence on his athletic career because "they always pushed me to do my best."

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