Seeds: (1) Columbia, (2) Waterloo, (3) Mascoutah, (4) Althoff, (5) Cahokia, (6) East St. Louis
Could surprise: Waterloo
Breakdown: The Columbia Eagles, whose season has been ended by Alton Marquette and pitcher Alexis Silkwood the past two seasons (regional championship in 2012 and sectional championship in 2013), are poised to make a deep postseason run now that Silkwood is playing for Mississippi State. ... The Eagles (30-2) enter the regional riding a 19-game winning streak. ... Columbia pitcher Brianna Weilbacher has a 25-1 record with an 0.58 ERA. She's struck out 257 batters in 157 innings of work. ... The Eagles have seven regulars hitting over .400 with Kaylee Bastien's .526 average topping the team. Weilbacher is next with a .516 average, a team-leading 13 homers and a team-leading 47 RBIs. ... Waterloo, behind pitcher Kasey Bradley, has quietly put together another solid season. Bradley is 17-7 with a 1.59 ERA. ... Bradley also is the Bulldogs' top hitter with a .435 batting average and 27 RBIs.
Seeds: (1) Triad, (2) Jerseyville, (3) Highland, (4) Civic Memorial, (5) Alton Marquette
Could surprise: Jerseyville, Highland
Breakdown: The Knights (25-6) won the Mississippi Valley Conference championship by going 10-0 in league play. ... Knights pitcher Jenn Bailey has a 16-2 record with a 1.57 ERA. Bailey is also her team's top hitter with a .470 batting average, eight homers and 36 RBIs. ... The Knights have beaten the Highland Bulldogs (18-10) three times this season by scores of 4-0, 3-0 and 7-3. ... The Bulldogs split their two MVC games with Jerseyville (17-15) with each team winning on the other's home field. ... Mallory Rutz and Alyssa Voegele are the Bulldogs' top two hitters. Rutz is hitting .522 with 23 runs scored, 11 doubles and 23 RBIs, while Voegele is hitting .480 with eight doubles, four homers and 30 RBIs. ... Civic Memorial has junior Chloe Jennings, who is hitting .486 with five homers and 16 RBIs.
Seeds: (1) Centralia, (2) Mater Dei, (3) Effingham, (4) Olney East Richland, (5) Salem
Could surprise: Mater Dei
Breakdown: Centralia is seeking its third straight regional championship. ... The Mater Dei Knights won 13 of their last 14 games to close out the regular season. ... The Knights have two standout hitters in senior catcher Molly Fields, who is hitting .532 with 40 RBIs, and junior shortstop Shannon Schuetz, who is hitting .511 with 40 runs scored.
Belleville East Regional
Seeds: (1) Belleville East, (2) O'Fallon, (3) Belleville West, (4) Collinsville
Favorite: Belleville East
Could surprise: O'Fallon, Belleville West, Collinsville
Breakdown: Traditionally one of the toughest large-school regionals in the state, and this year is no different. ... East ended a five-year regional championship drought on its home field last year, and the Lancers (26-6) are looking to make it two in a row this year. ... East pitcher Alison Mitts has a 22-5 with a 1.31 ERA. She's also hitting .462 in the Lancers' leadoff spot. ... The Lancers' two big run producers are Haley Wroten with .520 batting average and 45 RBIs and Andrea Roberts with a .411 batting average and 43 RBIs. ... The O'Fallon Panthers (22-10), who split their two Southwestern Conference games with the Lancers, have seven players hitting over .400. Becca Proper paces the team with a .467 batting average and 32 RBIs. Sam Busekrus is next with .453 batting average and 32 runs scored. Taylor Underwood has a team-leading seven homers. ... O'Fallon pitcher Addison Barnouski has an 18-6 record with a 1.89 ERA. ... The Belleville West Maroons knocked off East 4-2 last Thursday after losing 19-0 to the Lancers earlier in the season. ... Megan Glaeser leads the Maroons with a .420 batting average. ... Kassidy Smith has had a big year at the plate for the Collinsville Kahoks. She's hitting .477 with 12 homers and 40 RBIs.
Seeds: (1) Edwardsville, (2) Alton, (3) Quincy, (4) Granite City
Could surprise: Alton and Quincy
Breakdown: The Edwardsville Tigers went 4-1 against the other three teams in this regional during the regular season with the lone loss being 6-2 decision against the Alton Redbirds on April 24. ... The Redbirds (25-10) lost to Quincy 6-5 in eight innings in their second game of the season. ... The Redbirds have a balanced offense that features Georgia Dodson (.434 BA, 39 runs scored, 27 RBIs), Haley Longo (.402 BA, 27 RBIs) and Jordyn Longo (.402 batting average, 27 RBIs). ... With injuries being a big factor, the Redbirds have used a committee approach to pitching with Morgan Butler, Brittany Roady and Jordyn Roady all seeing extensive time on the mound. ... Butler, who missed the first 15 games of the season with a hand injury, is hitting .463.
-- Steve Korte