Earlier this year, I attended the Rambler Rumble, a weekend collegiate softball tournament held in the Dome in Rosemont. The Western Illinois University Leathernecks were one of the eight teams in the tourney.
The Leathernecks had a tough weekend, going 1-4. It put them in a bit of a whole to start the season. Still, there is plenty of time to rebound and improve on their 2019 season, when they went 20-20. Playing in the Summit League, the Leathernecks are joined by North Dakota State, South Dakota, South Dakota State, North Dakota, Fort Wayne and Nebraska Omaha. The Leathernecks have been up and down a bit over the last 15 years, but are close to .500 over that period. The high point was 2009 and 2010, when the team went 34-19 and 34-18 respectively.
The coach then was Holly Van Vlymen. In 2017, Holly moved into the role of Assistant Athletic Director - Academics and Student-Athlete Development in 2017. Under Coach Holly, the team was 238-287-2, but 128-92 in conference play.
Last season, junior outfielder Jasmine Lara led the team with a .308 batting average. On the mound, senior Emily Ira went 13-7 and was tops on the team in most pitching categories.
The Leathernecks play in Macomb. That's about a three hour drive from Chicago. I won't be attending any games, but I will be following #TeamPurple from afar.
Go to GoLeathernecks.com for more info on Team Purple. Also, check here for more coverage of NCAA softball.
Holly Killion-Van Vlymen and me in Rosemont, IL-February 2020.
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