Seeds: (5) Centralia Christ Our Rock Lutheran, (4) Valmeyer, (3) Marissa, (2) Okawville, (1) New Athens
Favorite: New Athens
Could Surprise: Okawville
Breakdown: The top-seeded New Athens Yellow Jackets (16-13) are seeking their first regional title in softball since 1990... They also could complete a Triple Crown of sorts as they won regional championships in both volleyball and girls basketball this school year... New Athens pitcher Abby Marlow has a 13-12 record with a 2.53 ERA. Marlow also is hiting .414 with three homers 32 RBIs... Ashley Rast (.433) leads the Yellow Jackets in batting average, while Denae White is tied with Marlow for the team lead in RBIs (32)... Okawvile, which won the regional last year with a 6-5 win over New Athens in the title game, is led by Macy Wienstroer, who has a .453 batting average with three homers and 13 RBIs.
Seeding: (5) Lebanon, (4) Metro-East Lutheran), (3) Mulberry Grove, (2) Bunker Hill, (1) Mount Olive
Favorite: Mount Olive
Could Surprise: Bunker Hill, Mulberry Grove, Metro-East Lutheran, Lebanon
Breakdown: The two metro-east squads -- the Lebanon Greyhounds and the Metro-East Lutheran Knights -- in this regional had down seasons, but both are traditionally solid programs that are still capable of pulling off a upset... Lauren Nunn is hitting .438 and Kara Koester is hitting .415 with 18 RBIs for the Greyhounds , while Rachel Goff is the leading hitter among players with more than 30 at-bats for the Knights with a .491 batting average and 15 RBIs... Lebanon beat Metro-East Lutheran 13-3 on May 7.
Red Bud Regional
Seeds: (6) Sparta, (5) Red Bud, (4) Chester, (3) Freeburg, (2) Gibault, (1) Nashville
Could Surprise: Gibault, Freeburg
Breakdown: The Nashville Hornettes (32-2), ranked No. 1 in the state in Class 2A by the Illinois Coaches Association, are trying to ride junior pitcher Maci Ingram to the state tourney for the third straight year. They won the state championship in 2013 and placed third last year... The Hornettes' two losses came to Carterville (they split two games in conference play) and Columbia... Gibault has two of the most dangerous hitters in the metro-east in Lauren Prader and Nicole Davis. Prader has .500 batting average with eight homers and 28 RBIs, while Davis has a .473 batting average with eight homers and 28 RBIs... Freeburg, which enters the postseason on a hot streak that includes a doubleheader sweep of Gibault and wins over Belleville West, Red Bud and Central, has pitcher Josie Ledbetter, who has a 12-7 record with 2.35 ERA.
Seeds: (5) Vandalia, (4) Wesclin, (3) Carlyle, (2) Central, (1) Greenville
Could surprise: Central, Carlyle, Wesclin
Breakdown: Another balanced regional as Greenville notched wins over Central and Wesclin, but lost to Carlyle during the regular season. Central beat Carlyle twice, but split with Wesclin... Central's leading hitters are Taylor Rakers (.452 batting average, 29 runs scored) and Torre Kohrmann (.427 batting average and 35 RBIs)... Carlyle's leading hitters are Hannah Hoffman (.505 batting average, 30 runs scored) and Breanna Smith (.423 batting average, six homers, 18 RBIs).
Seeds: (5) Hillsboro, (4) Roxana, (3) Wood River, (2) Staunton, (1) Dupo
Could surprise: Staunton and Wood River
Breakdown: The Dupo Tigers are being sent north insead of south to the Red Bud Regional. They didn't play any of the teams in this regional during the regular season. They had a game slated against Wood River, but it was rained out... Staunton edged Wood River 4-3 on April 24... Staunton pitcher Hannah McEnery has an 11-4 record with 1.78 ERA, while Wood River pitcher Victoria Beachum has a 11-15 recoed with a 1.72 ERA.
-- Steve Korte