JoePetreaA multi-sport athlete during his Salem Community High School days, 1977 graduate Joe Petrea saved his best for the baseball field.

Petrea participated in cross country, basketball and baseball during his time with the Wildcats and received the Salem team rebounding award for the 1976-77 season. It was Petrea’s abilities on the baseball field that landed him a spot at Kaskaskia College where he excelled for the Blue Devils from 1977-1979. Petrea, who handled first base duties, made an immediate impact at Kaskaskia College as during the 1977 fall season he hit .354 and was selected to the Southern Illinois Collegiate Conference Team.

During his overall career at Kaskaskia College Petrea batted .288 with 15 doubles, 8 triples, 1 home run, 49 RBIs and a .432 on base average. Petrea stole 18 bases in 23 attempts and was solid in the field with a fielding average of .979. Petrea was selected and played for the South team in the 1979 Junior College All-State All-Star game held at Wrigley Park in Chicago. Petrea was selected to the Kaskaskia College Hall of Fame in 2013.

After graduation from Kaskaskia College he continued his baseball career at Middle Tennessee State University. Petrea, who also played during an era when wooden bats were used at the college level, posted a career batting average of .321 which included 21 doubles, 1 triple, 24 singles to go along with 45 RBIs. Petrea set the Raiders school record for doubles, which has since been broken. Petrea also continued to the All-Ohio Valley Conference Team during his senior year in 1981 when Middle Tennessee State qualified for the NCAA Tournament and played in the South Regional.

Petrea returned to the Salem area after he completed his education and playing career. He has continued to stay active in sports over the years having coached T-ball, Pony League and American Legion baseball, Salem Little Cats boys’ and girls’ basketball, and flag football.

At the time of his induction into the Salem Wildcat Sports Hall of Fame, Petrea serves as equipment manager at M.G. Dyess Inc.