While there hasn’t been much in the way of prep sports to write about for a good long time now, Massac County athletes have continued to generate some news worth reporting. Two more MCHS athletes inked national letters of intent last week to continue their athletic careers at the next level.
Jenna Bunting, the daughter of Tonda Bunting and Terrry Bunting signed to play softball at Southeastern Illinois College at Harrisburg and Wil Hannah, son of Rachel and Robbie Hannah signed to play baseball with the Blue Storm of Southwestern Illinois Community College at Belleville.Both schools compete in the Great Rivers Athletic Conference, an NJCAA Division 1 conference.
In Bunting, the Falcons and coach Calcaterra are getting a hard-nosed versatile player in the field and a bat with some thump. Bunting said she anticipates getting playing time at shortstop and behind the plate and thinks she will be able to step right in next season. She said her freshman year, when the Lady Patriots advanced to the regional championship game against Centralia was her most memorable moment. ‘Reckon so. In the 4-2 semi-final win over Carterville, she was a “one man wrecking crew” with a three-run homer as well as scoring a run on an Emma Austin hit.
The finale was played against Centralia on a barely playable Sports Park field and had the Orphan Annies taking the regional title with a 3-1 win over Massac County.
Bunting said after school she would love to go into nursing and land a job at Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital in St. Louis with an eye toward becoming an anesthesiologist. She credits her mom and dad and family with always supporting and encouraging her and her hitting coach for getting her swing on track and had a special thank you for longtime softball coach and mentor Ron George. “He’s why I’m where I’m at in my softball career today,” said Bunting.
The Blue Storm of SWIC and their new coach David Garcia are getting a versatile and fundamentally sound player in Hannah. Garcia comes to SWIC after a five year career at Parkland College where he rang up a 214-88 record for the Cobras. Hannah played several roles for Massac from his freshman year on.
While 2019-2020 has been a washout so far, Hannah hopes to move into any one of the three outfield positions for “the Storm” after, hopefully, some sort of a successful 2021 season. All that lies in the hands of the IDPH and IHSA.
Hannah said he always enjoyed the bus rides to away games and especially the World Series and Superbowl parties with the team. He said after college he would like to pursue a career in strength and conditioning to help other young athletes. Hannah credited his family for always supporting him and the sacrifices they made to help him along.
He also credited his hitting coach for keeping him on track and had a special thanks for Bob Simpson who instilled a love for and a knowledge of the game in him.