SouthtownStar Athletes On Campus: High honors for Augustana’s Fifer
By Mike Walsh For Sun-Times Media June 13, 2014 10:50PM
Augustana's Danny Fifer | Supplied photo
Updated: July 16, 2014 6:35AM
The baseball coaches at Augustana College in Rock Island knew exactly what they were doing when they chose junior left fielder Danny Fifer as one of the Vikings’ four captains for the 2014 season.
All the New Lenox native did in his first season as a captain was win both the team’s Leadership and Commitment to Excellence awards this spring. If that weren’t enough, the Lincoln-Way West graduate also shared Augustana’s Outstanding Offensive Player Award and was selected to the All-College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin’s First Team after making the All-CCIW Second Team in 2013.
“My biggest thing is to lead by example,” Fifer said. “I want to be the first one there and the last one to leave. My job was to make sure all the guys were on task and to be a voice in the dugout for the younger guys.
“I love being a leader and the pressure that is put on you. People look to you for advice and what do we do now. I like being the person that leads the guys and wants to be there and have fun and enjoy baseball.”
Fifer certainly enjoyed baseball this season. He was named to the D3baseball.com All-Central Region First Team and also the American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA)/Rawlings All-Central Region First Team.
Fifer led Augustana (29-12, 15-6 in the CCIW) this season in hits (72) and batting average (.442), which is the sixth-highest single-season mark in school history. Fifer, who tied for the team lead in triples (2), was second in doubles (10), RBI (50) and total bases (89). He had 37 runs and one home run and was 6-of-8 in stolen bases.
“These are all great honors,” Fifer said. “I’ve had two good years here and this year was really special. As long as I helped the team win, that’s all I wanted to do.
“The key was staying relaxed. A lot of people get tense and that makes it harder to see the ball and swing the bat. I was just relaxed and seeing the ball well. I put in a lot more work than other people. I hit at the field or in the (batting) cage every day. I hit off the tee or had balls thrown at me every day.”
Pair of Bears
Two Southland residents who are members of Ohio Northern University’s softball team were chosen to the 2014 All-Ohio Athletic Conference Second Team.
Lauded were senior designated player Colleen Baliga (Marian Catholic) and junior outfielder Kelly Sheridan (Sandburg).
Baliga batted .403 with one home run, 22 RBI, four doubles and 15 runs. The Crete native was a member of the All-OAC First Team in 2013.
Sheridan also hit .403 with seven home runs and 35 RBI. The Orland Park resident added 39 runs, nine doubles and two triples.
Sheridan was second on the Polar Bears in home runs and RBI. Sheridan was selected to the All-OAC First Team in 2012.
University of Illinois pitcher John Kravetz was chosen the Big Ten’s Pitcher of the Week for the period ending April 8.
The junior right-hander, who prepped at Mount Carmel, tossed a career-best eight scoreless innings and earned the road victory in a 1-0 win over Northwestern. The Lansing native tied his career-high in strikeouts with seven without walking a Wildcat.
In winning the award for the first time in his career, Kravetz allowed just four hits.