Three Illini compete on National Titlists


Aug. 18, 2004

Two University of Illinois softball players were among those who made history in Marietta, Ga, during the weekend of Aug. 13-15. Sophomore Kisten Martin and freshman Shanna Diller were members of the Southern Force squad (coached by Gerry Glasco) that won the ASA 18 and under Gold Nationals. That is the top division of ASA softball in the country. Junior Jackelyn Diekemper helped the Peoria Outlaws to the Under 23 Naitonal title and was named a second team All-American. Southern Force, comprised of mostly players from the Southern Illinois area, became just the second non-California team and first east of the Mississippi River ever to claim the title. Southern Force completed the week 7-0 with victories over the Chattanooga (TN) Yankettes, 7-1; American (CA) Athletes, 1-0; the Shamrocks (Va.), 2-0; Blast Gold (TX), 3-2; Corona (Calif.) Angels, 2-1; and Impact Gold(TX), 1-0. Southern Force defeated the California Cruisers, 3-2 in ten innings for the title. This summer the Southern Force won four tournaments - the Orland Park (Ill.) Sparks Invitational, the ASA Sector 2 Junior Tournament, the NSA Qualifier in Peoria, and the Show-Me Classic in St. Louis. Martin, a powerful left-hander from Vienna, Ill., started 15 games for Illinois this season with 10 hits, two doubles, and six RBI. Diller will join the Illini this fall after a stellar career for Normal Community. The all-state performer drove in the game-winning run in the championship game for the Force with a bases-loaded single in the bottom of the tenth. Diekemper recorded in the victory in a 6-3 victory over the California Crush in the winner's bracket championship. The Crush came back through the loser's bracket to face the Outlaws one more time with the Outlaws coming out on top 4-0 to claim the championship.