Six former high school baseball standouts, including two who signed pro contracts, and a trio of former outstanding high school-college softball players will soon be recognized as the third annual Diamond 9 award recipients of the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame.
President and Executive Director Jerald Andrews announced the Diamond 9 on Tuesday. The Hall will recognize the group during its Baseball Luncheon presented by the Ozarks Coca-Cola/Dr Pepper Bottling Company on May 18 at University Plaza Convention Center in Springfield. The Hall that day is honoring former Missouri State athletic director Bill Rowe as a Missouri Sports Legend and inducting former St. Louis Cardinals closer Jason Isringhausen, longtime Kansas City Royals and Kansas City Chiefs groundskeeper George Toma and Mansfield High School baseball coach Doug Jones.
The Diamond 9 awards are presented to former high school, college or pro athletes. The baseball recipients this year are Christian Overstreet (Nixa High School/Missouri State), Troy McMain (Willard High School), Brent Maggard (Sparta High School/Crowder/Southern Arkansas), Bill Helfrecht (Glendale High School/Missouri State), Tom Wilson (Bolivar High School/Detroit Tigers) and Bob Detherage (Hillcrest High School/Kansas City Royals). Softball recipients will be Marin Whorton Cooney (Ozark High School/Missouri Southern), Kristen Marshall (Glendale High School/William Jewell) and Sophia Alexander Denning (Strafford High School/Drury).
For tickets, call the Hall of fame at 417-889-3100. An individual ticket is $40, or $100 for a head table ticket. A table of eight is $400 and includes associate sponsor recognition in the printed program as well as an autographed print. Numerous other sponsorships also are available.
The Diamond 9s
Marin (Whorton) Cooney, Ozark High School/Missouri Southern: Marin (Whorton) Cooney emerged as one of the top softball players in southwest Missouri in the mid-1990s. Before graduating from Ozark High School in 1997, she was a two-time All-State selection as well as All-Central Ozark Conference and All-District all four years, and the COC Player of the Year in 1995. As a pitcher, Cooney was 49-16 in 394 innings, in which she struck out 429 batters and compiled a 1.99 earned run average. Her success sparked an Ozark softball tradition. Cooney’s 45 career doubles are tied for second-most in state history, and she is ninth all-time in hits per game (1.60). Her doubles per game are best (0.52) in the state as well. Along the way, she had a lifetime batting average of .513 and at one point held a program record for eight consecutive hits as Ozark won 67 of 88 games during her prep career. Cooney, who went on to play two seasons at Missouri Southern, now sells real estate in Springfield.
Sophia (Alexander) Denning, Strafford High School/Drury University: Sophia (Alexander) Denning became part of a tradition-rich softball program at Strafford High School before graduating in 2007. In both her junior and senior seasons, the pitcher was All-State, All-Ozarks and All-Mid-Lakes Conference. She also was a four-time selection to the All-District team and a three-time selection to the All-Region team. Denning hit .483 and, as a pitcher, built an ERA of 1.19 with 550 career strikeouts. Her 28 wins in 2005 remains tied for fourth-best in a single season in state history. She played one season at Drury University in 2008 before going on to complete her nursing degree at Cox College.
Bob Detherage, Hillcrest High School/Kansas City Royals: Bob Detherage was a standout right-handed pitcher and hitter for Hillcrest High School and its American Legion program when both were under the watchful eye of the legendary Dick Birmingham, a Missouri Sports Hall of Fame inductee. In fact, Detherage was voted by News-Leader readers as the “Player of the Century” for high school baseball in January 2000. He was one of three future big-leaguers – the others being George Frazier and Keith Drumright – on Hillcrest teams that were a combined 41-10 in Detherage’s final three seasons. He was also on the Hillcrest Merchants American Legion teams that won two state championships (1970 and 1971) and the Legion state runner-up in 1972. His 1972 summer was punctuated by two events – Detherage was a third-round draft pick of the Los Angeles Dodgers, the 56th player selected overall; and, weeks after deciding to wait to sign the contract, he struck out 32 batters and went the distance in a 16-inning, American Legion district championship game. Detherage eventually reached the big leagues as an outfielder with the Kansas City Royals in 1980, playing in the season’s first month in a year when the Royals went on to win their first pennant. Overall, he spent nine seasons in the minor leagues, mostly in Double-A and Triple-A, with stops in the Dodgers, Houston Astros, St. Louis Cardinals and Royals farm systems. Detherage, who lives in Carl Junction, hit 58 home runs with 108 doubles, 36 triples and 378 RBI in the minor leagues.
Bill Helfrecht, Glendale High School/Missouri State University: Before graduating from Glendale in 1967, Bill Helfrecht was the starting shortstop on the Falcons’ American Legion state championship team his junior season. He also was on Glendale’s runner-up Legion team the year before and, as a senior, on Glendale’s third-place team in the MSHSAA state tournament. He was first-team All-State his senior year as well as All-District and All-Ozark Conference his junior and senior seasons. Helfrecht captained Glendale’s 1967 team and batted a team-best .400-plus as a senior. Helfrecht’s play led to scholarship offers from Mizzou, Minnesota and Mississippi, but he chose Missouri State, where he played from 1968 to 1971, becoming a first team All-American his senior year. Overall, he was a four-year starter in center field, setting a record for playing 125 consecutive games, and helped the 1969 and 1970 Bears win the MIAA and reach the NCAA Division II World Series, with the 1969 team finishing as national runners-up. Helfrecht led the Bears in runs scored as a junior and senior, and led the team in hits his last two seasons, doubles as sophomore and junior, and is the only player ever to lead SMS in stolen bases four seasons in a row. Helfrecht, who also shares the school record for single-season fielding percentage of 1.000, was voted the Bears’ MVP his senior year. Helfrecht is still among several top 10 offensive categories in Bears baseball history. He went on to scout for the Baltimore Orioles for three years and later became a two-time All-American in the over-40 division of the American Softball Association’s national tournament.
Brent Maggard, Sparta High School/Crowder College/Southern Arkansas: Brent Maggard was one of the top baseball players in the state from 2002 to 2005 for Sparta High School. He was a two-time All-State selection, as well as four-time first team All-Southwest Central League and a three-time All-District, including in 2003 he was the only sophomore in southwest Missouri named all-district. He led Sparta to a 105-23 record during his career, including 60 of 62 wins – and 29 consecutive wins – from 2002-2004. In his career, Sparta won the Class 1 state championship in 2003, reached two state semifinals and won sectionals and district three times. Overall, he set 26 state records. Maggard played in 128 consecutive games, a state record (the previous record of 113 was set in 1977 and tied in 2003). Additionally, Maggard had a state-record 383 at-bats and finished second in state history in hits (179) and singles (98) and the third-most RBI (155), extra-base hits (81) and doubles (43). He also hit the fourth-most home runs (30), plus was seventh with eight triples and 13th with a .451 career batting average. In 2004, Maggard broke the single-season runs scored record of 51 with 77 and finished with the state record in hits (59), doubles (17) and extra-base hits (35). The team reached the state semifinals that season, and Maggard’s extra-base hits total was previously held by Sikeston’s Blake DeWitt. Maggard’s 60 RBI were second-most in the state that season as well, and his 15 home runs were third-most. As a senior, he also pitched, setting a state record with 193 strikeouts, shattering Morrisville’s Chris Gerleman’s record of 164 set in 2002. Maggard was the South Central League MVP before going on to play at Crowder College in Neosho and signed with NCAA Division I Southern Arkansas but was limited due to injury.
Kristen Marshall, Glendale High School/William Jewell College: A 2005 Glendale High School graduate, Kristen Marshall was one of the top softball players in the area before going on to more success at William Jewell College in Liberty. At Glendale, she was first team All-State in 2004 and News-Leader All-Ozarks in 2002. Additionally, she was first team for both All-District and All-Ozark Conference as an outfielder and pitcher in different seasons. Marshall also hit.488 as a junior at Glendale, where in 2002 she had nine hits in nine consecutive at-bats – which remains tied for fourth-best in state history. At William Jewell, Marshall in 2009 led all divisions across the country, from NCAA down through NAIA, in fielding percentage (.998) among players with 400-plus chances. She was All-Heart of America Athletic Conference in 2006 and 2009, and her name appears 20 times in various categories of the program’s Top 10 leaders. Career-wise at William Jewell, Marshall is third in both starts (199) and singles (134), fifth in both hits (177) and stolen bases (26) and sixth in doubles (32). She holds single-season records for games played (60), starts (60), putouts (464 in 2008) and double plays (19 in 2009). She also ranks in the Top 10 in program history in nine single-season categories: batting average (.355 in 2006), hits (55 in 2008), singles (44 in 2008), walks (23 in 2008), stolen bases (13 in 2009), on-base percentage (.423 in 2006) and appears twice in fielding percentage and three times in putouts. Marshall also is a 2014 graduate of Bastyr University.
Troy McMain, Willard High School: Troy McMain was one of the area’s outstanding two-sport athletes in the late 1990s, as he starred for Willard High School in both baseball and football before graduating in 2000. In baseball, he set school records for single-season runs scored (44), home runs (14) and RBI (51). He also established the program’s best batting average, of .550 set his senior year, until it was broken four years after he graduated. He also holds the career record for home runs (22) and RBI (119). McMain was a three-time All-State selection, along with All-Central Ozark Conference, All-District and All-Ozarks by the News-Leader. McMain, who was all-conference and All-Ozarks in football, went on to play two seasons for Missouri State football and two seasons for Evangel University, where he graduated in 2005. Since then, he has held assistant coaching roles at Willard, Reeds Spring, Strafford and is now the head baseball coach at Ash Grove High School.
Christian Overstreet Nixa High School/Missouri State: A 2006 graduate of Nixa High School, Christian Overstreet was a three-sport athlete (baseball, football, basketball) for the Eagles and earned All-State honors in baseball as a junior and senior. He also was a preseason Louisville Slugger All-American in 2006 and was selected for the Area Code Games in Long Beach, California. In his senior year, he hit .508 and, as a pitcher, was 2-1 with a 2.03 ERA to earn first team All-State, All-Ozarks, All-District and All-Central Ozark Conference. He set school and state records for a season and career in several categories, including runs, triples, homers, walks and slugging percentage. He led Nixa to its first COC title in school history during his junior season. At Missouri State, Overstreet played four seasons for coach Keith Guttin, captaining the team his junior and senior years, and graduated with a degree in physical education in 2011. Overstreet played in 130 games, starting in 84. His best year was his senior year in 2010, when he had a career-best .412 slugging percentage. He also had 36 hits along with five doubles, six home runs and 30 RBI – all career bests – and was 12 of 13 on stolen base attempts. He finished with 61 total bases that season. Overstreet, who spent two years as a graduate assistant for Guttin, is now at Fair Grove High School as the athletic director, high school assistant principal and head baseball coach.
Tom Wilson, Bolivar High School/Humansville & Buffalo Legion/Detroit Tigers: Tom Wilson was an All-Central Ozark Conference and All-State selection for Bolivar High School before graduating in 1973. A pitcher, he compiled an impressive 28-3 record in his final three seasons. Wilson helped the 1972 team to the state quarterfinals and the 1973 team to the district championship game. Wilson also played for Humansville American Legion as a junior and Buffalo’s American Legion team as a senior. He received athletic scholarship offers from Southwest Baptist University and Northeastern Oklahoma State but instead signed with the Detroit Tigers in the spring of 1974. He suffered a shoulder injury, however, cutting short his career. Wilson did go on to play more than a decade in the American Softball Association slow-pitch circuit, helping the Bolivar MFA Oilers win the Missouri state men’s major in 1985 as the Oilers qualified for the national tournament. Wilson works at Ozarks Coca-Cola/Dr Pepper Bottling Company.