Bobby Napoleon started playing tee ball at the age of 5.
Ever since, he has loved the game of baseball.
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Along the line, his ultimate goal was to play at the top level of college baseball.
The former St. Viator High School and 2012 Arlington Heights American Legion pitcher has become an example of the way hard work and perseverance can pay off.
The left-handed pitcher from Arlington Heights will be playing for Butler University in the spring of 2013. The Bulldogs have moved into the Atlantic 10 Conference and will face teams such as Arizona, Indiana and Purdue.
Napoleon made the 32-player roster through an extensive walk-on process.
"It's always been a dream of mine to play college baseball, and now that it's a reality, it is truly beyond belief," he said. "I'm truly thankful that I get to continue my playing career at a great school."
Napoleon gave up only 3 hits the entire fall season at Butler in about 12 innings of work and allowed 1 earned run.
"Baseball has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember," Napoleon said. "I've been blessed with a lot of great coaches and teammates in my baseball career, but my biggest inspiration has been my family, in particular, my dad (Bob).
"They have always supported me through the hard times with baseball. My dad has always encouraged me to be the best person and player that I can be, through hard work and never giving up on a dream. I don't know if I'd be in this position without my dad and the rest of my family fully supporting me throughout my endeavors."
Napoleon is still undecided about his major on the Indianapolis campus.
"I'm in the business school right now, so 'business exploratory' is what I am listed as," he said. "I'm just not sure yet as to what I would like to do in business."
He sure has been all business with his dedication to baseball.
"I know this sounds cliché, but honestly if you put your mind toward a goal, you can really do whatever you want," Napoleon said. "Never give up on something you truly love doing. Hard work and determination will always pay off."
The thought of playing Division I always seemed like a pretty lofty goal for Napoleon.
"I never really knew if I would have a legitimate chance to play at the D1 level," he added. "But I've had a lot of help along the way, from the great coaches forming me into a better player to my friends and family supporting me throughout my career. It's all helped me to reach my ultimate goal of playing baseball at the D1 level."
Senior Rachel Sloan (Elk Grove) earned the assist on Taylor Madigan's goal in the 87th minute that lifted Marquette (16-2-2) over Georgetown, 1-0, in the 2012 BIG EAST Championship on Sunday at Rentschler Field in Connecticut.
The Golden Eagles won their first Big East championship title in program history.
Sloan was named second team All-Big East. The former all-conference selection has scored 5 goals this season, including a team-high four game winners in her return following an injury last season. She totaled 11 points and gave out 1 assist with 21 shots.
Sloan scored a goal in Marquette's 4-1 victory over UConn to advance to the championship semifinals.
Sloan is part of a senior class which owns a 64-16-8 record since 2009. That ranks ninth in the NCAA among active senior classes.
Prospect girls golf
Prospect's girls golf team, which has become a state power under coach Jim Hamann, is the feature story on the cover of the November All*Star Magazine.
Hamann is featured in the "Coach's Corner" segment and Noreen Caporusso is pictured following through with her driver on the front cover.
The Knights won the 2011 Class AA state title and were the runners-up this fall.
Prospect's Molini commits
Prospect senior guard Michele Molini has announced she will continue her basketball career at Wisconsin-Whitewater.
The senior guard was one of the top 3-point shooters in the Mid-Suburban League as a junior. She made 49 and converted 44 percent from the 3-point range.
Molini, who will play for Prospect first-year coach Ashley Sandstead this winter, also averaged 10 points and 1.5 assists.
She is also the shortstop for the Knights softball team.
From tee to stage
When not swinging a golf club, you can find Maine West varsity golfer Natalie Kozenczak singing with the Yellow River Chorus, an all-Mandarin chorus that will be performing in the "Ask The Sky and the Earth Concert"at 3 p.m. on Saturday, Nov.17at Orchestra Hall, Chicago
Symphony Hall. Kozenczak is also a badminton player for the Warriors.
Men's cross country
Iowa State sophomore Alec Bollman (Palatine) was named to the second team Academic All Big-12 team in cross country.
At Palatine, Bollman was the high school 1,600-meter state champion his senior year. As a junior, he placed eighth in the same event. Bollman holds personal records in the 800-meters (1:52), 1600-meters (4:13) and the 3200-meters (9:23).
• Oakton Community College sophomore Haider Sheikh (Maine West) finished 14th (28:19) in the 8K race at the NJCAA Region IV Division I cross country meet hosted by Sauk Valley Community College on October 27. His time allows Sheikh to compete at the NJCAA Division I Men's Cross Country National Championship Saturday at Rend Lake College.
Carthage College junior midfielder/forward Billy Hamilton (St. Viator) scored 4 goals with 4 assists to be named Capital One Academic All-District 6.
Hamilton, a double major in graphic design and public relations, was voted to the district team by regional members of the College Sports Information Directors of America. His name will be placed on a national ballot for consideration as a Capital One/CoSIDA Academic All-America.
North Central freshman setter Laura Kluk (Palatine) finished the season as the Cardinals' leader in assists (1,216) and service aces (56). She also contributed in kills (113) and digs (249) and blocks (46).
North Central freshman outside hitter/right side Amanda Hilmer (Palatine) was third on the team in kills (240) and contributed in assists (3) and digs (62). She also added 31 total blocks.
The Cardinals finished their season with an overall record of 23-11 and a conference record of 5-2.
• Millikin freshman Sara Travis (Schaumburg) had 10 kills in a 3-1 win over Greenville. She also had 17 in a 3-2 win over Illinois Wesleyan,
Women's cross country
Augustana sophomore Stephanie Burbidge (Palatine) was the second Viking across the line at the North Central Invitational as she took 19th in 18:53.36. Augustana placed fourth at the meet.
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