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Steve Robinson Photo
Steve Robinson

Returning in the fall of 2016 by popular demand

Olympic Night at the Corn Crib July 19
1996 balance beam gold medalist Shannon Miller to appear
You don’t have to wait for Rio to get excited for the Olympics. Shannon Miller, the 1996 balance beam gold medalist and member of the gold medal-winning Magnificent Seven team, is coming to Normal.
Her appearance at the Corn Crib on July 19 will be a highlight for Olympics fans and another reason to enjoy exciting baseball action as the Normal CornBelters take on the Schaumburg Boomers at 6:35 p.m.
The game will also raise awareness and funds for the Children’s Discovery Museum. “The CornBelters collaborate with many schools and organizations that help children learn and thrive,” said CornBelters President Steve Malliet. “We are pleased to be working with the Museum to help expand their outstanding exhibits, provide scholarships, and develop new and innovative programs.”
The community can support the Museum in two ways:
Buy game tickets at the Museum: $10 box seat tickets are available at the Museum or by calling 309-433-3444. $5 of each ticket purchased will be donated back to the Museum.
Purchase the VIP Suite: The VIP suite can be booked for $3,000. This celebrity experience includes game tickets and catered food for 40 people, a private meet and greet with Shannon Miller, and autographed photos. All proceeds from the purchase of the suite will benefit the Museum. Inquiries can be directed to Teresa Decker, Development Coordinator, at 309-433-3402 or tdecker@normal.org.
For more details, visit ChildrensDiscoveryMuseum.net.

2016 ISU Athletics Hall of Fame Class Announced
The 2016 Illinois State Athletics Percy Family Hall of Fame class was officially announced Monday, July 11, as Jared Dufault (baseball), a career .346 hitter and two-time All-MVC First-Team selection; Krystal Featherston (diving), the only three-time MVC Diver of the Year and a four-time All-MVC First-Team selection; and Lori Vogel McPike (softball), a two-time All-Gateway Conference First-Team selection, will each become members of the Redbird Hall of Fame.
In addition to the 2016 Hall of Fame class, Neal MacDonald, a longtime member of the ISU official statistics crew, will be honored with the Campbell “Stretch” Miller Award. The award is named for Campbell Miller, a former Redbird student-athlete who went on to broadcast Illinois State games in the 1940s, before joining the St. Louis Cardinals broadcasting team. The award celebrates the contributions of those whose main services were not playing or coaching at Illinois State, but were important to the athletic program’s success.
The honorees will be officially introduced during the Hall of Fame banquet at 8 a.m., Oct. 8, in the Brown Ballroom at the Bone Student Center on the Illinois State University campus. The class will also be recognized during the Homecoming Parade and at halftime of the Illinois State-Youngstown State football game later that day. Kickoff is scheduled for 2 p.m.
Reservations for the Hall of Fame ceremony are $25 per person and can be purchased through the ISU Athletics Department. To order tickets for the event or for more information, please call Beth Harding at (309) 438-3636.

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Steve Robinson

CornBelters Stars glad to be playing in Frontier League’s “Y’All Star Game”

We have reached the halfway mark in the baseball season. The time has come for the many leagues to bring their best players together to show off their skills. The Frontier League held its showcase, “Y’All Star Game” July 13 in Florence, KY.
 A total of six CornBelters represented the team at the All-Star contest. First baseman Aaron Dudley was named as a starter.
“I’ve worked really, really hard,” Dudley said. “I do something every day toward baseball in an effort to get stronger, whether it’s hitting fielding. It has been a non-stop effort for me for the last 10 years, at least.” He said getting to the Frontier League All-Star Game is, in part, “paying off for me.”
A CornBelters player for four years, second baseman Santiago Chirino participated in his second All-Star Game.
 “It feels pretty good because having this honor is almost like the prize one gets for working hard in the season’s first half,” Chirino said. “I’m excited to go to Florence to make the Western Division team and continue working hard every day.”
For relief pitcher Francisco Cirillo, getting an All-Star nod, “was exciting because I’ve worked pretty hard for it and I’m glad to be part of it.” The native of Maracay, Venezuela added this first All-Star Game honor is something he was glad to be part of. “It’s something I can add to lifetime stats and career accomplishments,” the Spanish-speaking Cirillo explained through fellow pitcher Horacio Acosta. “I would just like to thank my family for being there for me and being supportive of me, and thank my teammates for having my back and being with me this season.”
Pitcher Michael Schweiss made his first All-Star Game trip. “I’ve never made an all-star team at any level that I’ve played at,” Schweiss said. “I’ve heard from guys who have made it in the past that it’s a lot of fun and I’m just looking forward to the experience.”
For catcher Dylan Kelly, and outfielders Nolan Meadows and Mitch Elliott, the trip to Florence was their first experience as All-Stars.
“It’s a great feeling and I feel very honored,” Kelly said. “I tell myself every day. I tell myself I’d like to be an All-Star every year regardless of what league I’ll play in. That’s a goal of mine to be able to accomplish this.”
Right fielder Meadows said he was looking forward to playing in the game. He leads the Frontier League with 12 home runs.
Peoria native and CornBelters outfielder Elliott is the sixth man going to Florence and said he was glad to be named to the Western Division team.
“I’m very proud of the six that we had selected,” stated CornBelters Manager Brooks Carey. It’s an indication of the type of team we do have here, which I think is going to turn into a winner before this season is over. We’re on the right track, playing much better right now, and I’m thrilled these guys got recognized for the job they’ve done in the first half of the season. It’s well-deserved.”
.Pitcher Charlie Gilles Earns Pitcher Of The Week Honor: CornBelters pitcher Charlie Gilles was named Pitcher of the Week by the Frontier League for the week of July 4-10. Gillies earned the honor thanks to a 1-hit shutout of the Gateway Grizzlies on July 6, while earning 7 strikeouts.  The outing was just his second in the Frontier League after Gilles began the season with the Trois-Rivieres Aigles of the Can-Am League. The win gives Gilles a 1-0 for the season in the Frontier League. Gilles made his professional debut after being selected by the Detroit Tigers in the 10th round of the 2012 draft out of Santa Clarita, Calif.-based The Master’s College.  In three years with the Tigers, he advanced as high as the Lakeland Flying Tigers of the Florida State League before splitting the 2015 season between Amarillo of the American Association and Trois-Rivieres.  Before playing in the Frontier League, Gillies pitched in the New-York Pennsylvania League, Midwest League, Florida State League, and the Gulf Coast League. Gilles is the fourth CornBelters player to be recognized by the Frontier League as player of the week. The three previous recipients were catcher Dillon Haupt, outfielder Mike Fish, and pitcher Michael Schweiss.
Transactions: Among Normal’s recent transactions were to Sign outfielder Ricky Claudio and right-handed pitcher John Leiter.in addition, the team has transferred infielder Ty Morris to the 14-day injured list, placed first baseman Mike Fish on the 7-day injured list, and released right-handed pitcher John Leiter.
Schaumburg Boomers Visit Tuesday-Thursday: Once the mid-season celebration in Florence wraps up, it’s back to work for Carey and crew starting with a three-game series at Windy City July 15-17. Following a league-imposed day off on Monday, July 18, the Schaumburg Boomers visit The Corn Crib for a three-game series Tuesday through Thursday, July 19-21, with all games starting at 6:35 p.m. The ‘Belters go back on the road Friday through Sunday, July 22-24, taking on Lake Erie. From there, Normal will visit the Washington Wild Things Tuesday through Thursday, July 26-28. Normal’s home stand from there will be brief – a three-game series with Lake Erie Friday through Sunday, July 29-31. All weekday and Sunday games start at 6:35 p.m., with Sunday first pitches at 4:35 p.m.

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