TriCounty National championships for Illinois Central College and long-time coach Lorene Ramsey go hand-in-hand.
And this was especially so in 1998 when she won not one but two national titles: the National Junior College softball crown in Hutchinson, Kansas and the National Junior College Division II basketball title in Hagerstown, Md.
The double victory march earned her the honor of being named the Tri-County Female Coach of the Year for the second consecutive year and fifth time overall adding to previous awards in 1993, 1992 and 1979.
She won her first national JC softball title in 1982 and followed up with Division II basketball crowns in 1992 and 1993. She was named national JC Coach of the Year in 1992 and 1993.
Ramsey felt her basketball team hit its peak in the national tournament. "We put together our three best back-to-back games in the national tournament, and we got contributions from a lot of people. Sometimes they contributed in a way that amazed me."
In the softball national tourney, ICC had to win five games after a loss put it into the loser's bracket, but it then won the tourney with ease with back-to-back shutouts of Ricks College.
Ramsey was voted into the Women's Softball Hall of Fame last May. Kathy Leitke, president of the Women's Softball Coaches Association, lauded Ramsey: "There's no doubt in my mind that Lorene Ramsey is as solid as a rock. She is the foundation of JCAA women's softball."
Following the season, Ramsey retired as softball coach with a career mark of 840-309. She will continue as ICC's basketball coach.
National championships for Illinois Central College and long-time coach Lorene Ramsey go hand-in-hand.
A two-sport star (baseball and basketball) at both Limestone High School and Illinois Central College, Thome went on to a legendary baseball career as one of the top sluggers in Major League Baseball history. A 13th-round selection by the Cleveland Indians in 1989, Thome made his MLB debut in 1991. After a 22-year career with Indians, Philadelphia Phillies, Chicago White Sox, Los Angeles Dodgers, Minnesota Twins and Baltimore Orioles, Thome ranks seventh in Major League history with 612 home runs and 24th with 1,699 runs batted in, while boasting a .276 career batting average. He was a five-time All-Star and received Most Valuable Player votes in nine different seasons. Thome helped Cleveland to World Series appearances in both 1995 and 1997 and he hit 17 career postseason home runs. Thome led the American League in slugging in 2002 (.677) and the National League with 47 home runs in 2003 and he received a 1996 Silver Slugger Award. Thome also was the 2006 Americal League Comeback Player of the Year. Recognized for his integrity, sportsmanship and community involvement, Thome received the Marvin Miller Man of the Year Award in 2001 and 2004, as well as the 2002 Roberto Clemente Award and the 2004 Lou Gehrig Memorial Award. The Cleveland organization dedicated a statue of Thome outside Progressive Field following his official retirement in 2014.