They both boasted batting averages over .500 and they combined to club 17 home runs and drive in 90 runs.
Nashville first baseman-pitcher Shaye Harre and Columbia catcher Kassi Farmer, two of the most fearsome hitters in the metro-east, are the Belleville News-Democrat's Class 1A-2A Softball Co-Players of the Year.
Harre, a junior, batted .537 with six homers and 60 RBIs in leading the Hornettes to the Class 2A state championship.
"Shaye has extremely good power to all parts of the field,'' Nashville coach Dempsey Witte said. "She can pull the ball, she can go opposite field. I think that's what makes her such a tough out. She doesn't try to do too much. If she gets a pitch to drive, she can drive it. And, she usually doesn't miss one if a pitcher makes a mistake.''
Harre also was strong on the mound. She had a 15-2 record with a 1.84 ERA.
Ironically, it was a back injury that Harre suffered diving for a ball that paved the way for freshman Maci Ingram to get her chance.
With Ingram pitching and Harre playing first base, things clicked for the Hornettes.
"If Shaye doesn't get hurt, I don't know if Maci gets in there,'' Witte said. "With Shaye making diving catches at first base and Maci pitching well, it just took off from there for us.''
Harre, the daughter of Shelly and Steve Harre of Nashville, said it was midseason when she realized the Hornettes were capable of accomplishing something special.
"Toward the middle of the season, I was like, 'All right, we can do this,''' Harre said. "It just kept getting better every game.''
Harre had several clutch hits during the Hornettes' postseason run to the state title.
She drove in the go-ahead run with a single in a 2-1 win over Du Quoin in the Pinckneyville Sectional, singled home two runs against pitcher Alexis Silkwood in a 3-1 win over Alton Marquette in the Nashville Super-Sectional and drove in three runs with a pair of doubles in a 6-2 win over Williamsville in the state title game.
"A lot of times, especially in the postseason, she got one pitch to hit, and she didn't miss it,'' Witte said.
Farmer, a senior who batted .506 with a metro-east-leading 11 homers and 30 RBIs, also had to deal with opponents pitching around her.
"She has always been a very good disciplined hitter,'' Columbia coach Rhonda Major said. "She knew during the end of the season that it can get frustrating when you know you're not going to get pitched to, and I thought she handled that well. She did a real good job tracking the ball. Some people will swing even at bad pitches because they want to get a hit so bad, but she was very disciplined and handled herself really well.''
Farmer scored the Eagles' lone run in a 3-1 loss to Marquette in the championship game of the Columbia Regional.
Farmer drilled a ball into center field for an out in her first at-bat against Silkwood.
"I was talking with Alexis after the game because we play on the same summer ball team and she was telling me that she thought that was gone and she wasn't going to pitch to me another pitch,'' Farmer said.
In her next trip to the plate, Farmer was walked on four pitches. She stole second, then stole third and scored on a wild throw from the catcher.
"That's one of my favorite plays to steal third base off the fake bunt, and about half the time they throw the ball away, which is what happened,'' Farmer said.
Farmer is playing this summer for the Beverly Bandits, who recently placed third in a tournament in Boulder, Colo. The Bandits lost to the eventual champion that had a lot of players who are headed to the Pac-12.
Farmer, the daughter of Kari and Alan Farmer of Columbia, feels like playing for the Bandits is helping her get ready for her freshman season at Indiana University.
"It's helped immensely,'' Farmer said. "I have faced some of the best competition the country. I've faced people who are going to play in the Big Ten against me, like Michigan State and Wisconsin. I've faced pitchers from there, which is really fun because I'll get a head start on them.
"I'll know what to do when I face them. I've also been able to play against some of my future teammates. It's fun to see where everybody is going and to play quality softball against each other.''
Harre, a three-sport athlete, has given a verbal commitment to Southern Illinois University Carbondale.
But first, Harre and the Hornettes will be gearing up to defend their Class 2A state crown next season.
The Hornettes will return their entire lineup from the state championship game.
"Everyone is going to have their guns out for Nashville and giving us their best game next year,'' Harre said. "We just have to make sure we play our game every game next year, too.''
Columbia and Marquette already have been designated as Class 3A for next season, but Witte said that doesn't mean the path is clear for a repeat.
"You're still talking about some of the premier teams in Southern Illinois -- Massac County and Du Quoin -- softball is going to be something down here next year,'' Witte said. "There is a chance we could get third or fourth in the conference next year, and I think the girls know that. They know how good the softball is.''
Major initially wasn't too happy about being bumped up to Class 3A.
"I was so mad at first, but you know what, I really think we can hang with them,'' Major said.
Thought she'll be away at college, Farmer said she will keep close tabs on Eagles because her younger sister, Calli, will be a freshman catcher and shortstop.
"She likes the other sports a lot, too,'' Farmer said of her sister. "She is kind of the all-around athlete in the family.''
Farmer plans to major in sports marketing and management with an eye toward working in college athletics as either an administrator or perhaps even a coach.
"The catching aspect has really helped me with more of the technical side of the game,'' Farmer said. "I think I would really enjoy that. Softball as my job, that would be fantastic.''
Contact reporter Steve Korte at email@example.com or 239-2522.