The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

Sports

May 30, 2013

Oakwood's Casey Fletcher is heading for home

DANVILLE — All it took was one phone call for Casey Fletcher to commit to the University of Illinois.

The former Oakwood standout and current outfielder with the Danville Dans always hoped he would get the chance to follow his dad’s footstep.

Fletcher is the son of former Illinois star Darrin Fletcher, who played in 13 Major League seasons.

“I’ve always had my heart set on Illinois. I was just waiting for the one call where they said they wanted me,’’ said Casey Fletcher, who played these past two springs at Kankakee Community College. “My ultimate goal was to go to junior college and then to Illinois.

“With the strong tradition that my family has at Illinois, I wanted to carry it on.’’

But isn’t he worried that following in his father’s footsteps could be a burden?

“Dad did what he did, and I’m going to do what I can do,’’ he said. “I not going to try to top anything that he did at Illinois — some of his records are ridiculous.

“I’m my own type of player.’’

And that’s how Casey has always done it, including this past year when he drove in 69 RBIs for the Cavaliers. It was the second highest RBI total in NJCAA Division II baseball.

“I did some good things offensively this year,’’ Fletcher said. “I felt like coming in as a sophomore I was a little more ready for the year and I kind of knew what to expect.’’

He is taking that same approach to this summer.

A year ago, Fletcher batted .272 with 1 home run and 24 RBIs in 42 games with the Dans. His efforts earned him an all-star game selection, not too bad for a player that only made the roster originally as a temporary player.

“It’s definitely a little different feeling this year,’’ he said. “A year ago, I felt a lot of pressure to try and find a spot so that I could be full-time.’’

And the things that he learned last summer helped him when he got back to Kankakee.

“Facing some really good pitching during the summer, gets you ready for your college season,’’ he said.

Not only does he know that he will spend the full summer with the Dans, but Fletcher also knows where he will be this fall.

“My primary focus this summer is to get ready for the University of Illinois in the fall,’’ he said. “It’s building for next year. I have to get ready. I have to get my cuts.

“And, I have to get my body ready. My body has to be ready to play Big Ten baseball.’’

Fletcher, who is about 6-foot and 165-pounds, knows the demands of major college baseball will take its toll.

“I was undersized coming out of high school,’’ he said. “I knew I was destined to play at the junior-college level. I wanted to get my 100-plus at-bats a year.

“If I would have gone to a four-year university, I would not have been playing right off the bat.’’

While Fletcher has only gained about 5-10 pounds in his two seasons at Kankakee, he does notice a big difference in his strength.

“I’m a lot stronger than I was in high school,’’ he said. “Tyler Knight (a former Oakwood athlete) had me on a strict regime at Kankakee. He got me to the gym every day.’’

And he hopes that added strength will pay dividends this summer with the Dans.

“I looking forward to a good year and we hope to win a few more games,’’ he said.

Fletcher is a preferred walk-on at Illinois, turning down scholarship offers from Morehead State an St. Leo.

“I knew I was going to find a good place to play, it was just a matter of where,’’ he said. “But, in the back of my mind, I was always waiting on Illinois.

“I think it’s exciting for me and my family — especially having my dad being able to come to the games.’’

Fletcher, who is always a fan favorite at Danville Stadium, hopes the same is true at Illinois Field.

“Hopefully, a lot of people in the area will come out to see me play at Illinois,’’ he said.

And now, he has to find a role.

“I’m going to fight for a starting outfield position,’’ he said. “But, if that doesn’t work, I will do whatever the coaches need me to do to help the team to be successful.’’

That’s exactly the type of player the University of Illinois knows it will be getting in Casey Fletcher.

1
Text Only
Sports
  • SPT - CN0730 - Dans baseball photo 1 Dans continue to struggle DANVILLE — The Danville Dans haven’t exactly been playing their best baseball in the second half of the season. After taking the West Division title in the first half with a 19-11 record, Danville has played sub-.500 baseball in the second half and c

    July 30, 2014 2 Photos

  • SPT - CN0730 - Illini football media photo Experienced Illini looking for success CHICAGO — Illinois Fighting Illini head coach Tim Beckman is hoping that the third time is the charm.Beckman begins his third season at the helm of the Illini, and with the nucleus of last season’s team returning, it may finally be time for Illinois

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • SPT - CN0730 - Purdue football media photo Hazell hopes for smooth second season CHICAGO — After a season to forget in 2013, Purdue head coach Darrell Hazell is expecting better results as his team begins training camp next week. Hazell spoke to the media during the 2014 Big Ten Football Media Days at the Hilton Chicago, and afte

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Local Sports Calendar TODAYProspect League BaseballHannibal Cavemen at Danville Dans, 6:30 p.m.THURSDAYProspect League BaseballWest Virginia Miners at Danville Dans, 6:30 p.m.Local TennisMcTagertt Tennis Tournament at North Montgomery, 3:30 p.m.FRIDAYLocal TennisMcTagertt

    July 30, 2014

  • SPT - CN0729 - Dustbowl photo 2 Repeat performance Championship Sunday was in full swing at the 42nd Annual Dustbowl at David S. Palmer Arena. In the men’s division it was defending champions Leek & Sons against the Hickory Beavers. Leek & Sons made it back to back championships with a 29-point victo

    July 29, 2014 2 Photos

  • SPT - CN0729 - Brickyard photo Gordon kisses 'The Bricks' for 5th time INDIANAPOLIS — The common gift for a 20th anniversary is either china or platinum.But for Jeff Gordon on Sunday, he was more interested in the PPG Trophy made of gold, sterling silver and alloy aluminum and the native of Pittsboro, Ind., wasn’t going

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Old friends meet again in city tourney DANVILLE — Gene Gourley and Bryan Stine have a lot of history on the tennis court. The two of them, who have been playing each other at the Danville Tennis Center for over 20 years, renewed their rivalry again on Sunday during the Greater Danville Ar

    July 29, 2014

  • SPT - CN0729 - Junior Dustbowl photo Free throws decide junior Dustbowl title DANVILLE — In the boys’s Division it was DV Stars vs. Squad for the Championship with the Squad coming back from an early 16-point deficit to beat DV Stars 59-55 in overtime. Squads Parker Lee made one of two free throws with 18 seconds left in regul

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Keys leads College Girls to Dustbowl title The girls division championship between County Girls and College Girls was a close battle between two fine teams. The College Girls never trailed in the second half and squeaked out a victory over the County Girls 32-29.After a timeout was called by

    July 29, 2014

  • SPT - CN0729 - Big Ten Media mug Big Ten unveils new look CHICAGO — Welcome to the new look Big Ten.The Big Ten Conference held its 43rd annual Football Media Days on Monday at the Hilton Chicago and in the first day of the two day event, a lot of different topics were discussed, and a few more concepts fo

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

E-edition
NJCAA Tourney Photos 2014


Check out the action at the NJCAA Division II National Men's Basketball Tournament March 18-22 at DACC. Buy photos from the Commercial-News here: http://smu.gs/1iCWKnP

Must Read
AP Video
Obama Chides House GOP for Pursuing Lawsuit New Bill Aims to Curb Sexual Assault on Campus Russia Counts Cost of New US, EU Sanctions 3Doodler Bring 3-D Printing to Your Hand Six PA Cops Indicted for Robbing Drug Dealers Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey Raw: Obama Eats Ribs in Kansas City In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast Raw: Otters Enjoy Water Slides at Japan Zoo NCAA Settles Head-injury Suit, Will Change Rules Raw: Japanese Soldiers Storm Beach in Exercises Raw: Weapons Fire Hits UN School in Gaza Raw: Rocket Launches Into Space With Cargo Ship Broken Water Main Floods UCLA Two Women Narrowly Avoid Being Hit by Train Crayola Announces Family Attraction in Orlando
NDN Video
Heartwarming 'Batkid Begins' Documentary is Tear-Jerker Sadie Doesn't Want Her Brother to Grow Up Broken Water Main Floods UCLA "Maxim" Hotness! See Jessica Alba's Sizzling Spread Two women barely avoid being hit by train Orlando Bloom and Justin Bieber Reportedly Came To Blows In Ibiza Meet the Man Behind Dumb Starbucks Chris Pratt Adorably Surprises Kids at a 'Guardians of the Galaxy' Screening NOW TRENDING: Peyton Manning dancing at practice "The Bachelorette" Makes Her Decision Thieves pick the wrong gas station to rob Golden Sisters on '50 Shades' trailer: 'Look At That Chest!' Staten Island Man's Emotional Dunk Over NYPD Car - @TheBuzzeronFOX GMA: Dog passes out from excitment to see owner Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted 'Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1' Sneak Peek Florida Keys Webcam Captures Turtles Hatching Morgan Freeman Sucks Down Helium on 'Tonight Show' Robin Wright Can Dance! (WATCH) She's Back! See Paris Hilton's New Carl's Jr. Ad