Seventeen softball players from 10 southwestern Illinois high schools made the cut for the Illinois Coaches Association All-State team in 2016.
The list includes three first-team picks.
Rachel Anderson, the senior outfielder from Edwardsville, was a class 4A first-team selection after batting .543 with a region high nine triples and 44 runs batted in for the high-scoring Tigers.
She’ll continue her playing career next season, joining O’Fallon’s Addison Barnouski, an ICA third-team selection, at Southeast Missouri State University.
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“It is a good way to end it for her, but it also recognizes the hard work she’s put in and developing through the years,” said Edwardsville coach Lori Blade.
In class 1A, New Athens pitcher Abby Marlow and Steeleville sophomore Lexi Middendorf also were first teamers.
Marlow did it all for the Yellow Jackets, whose season ended with a super-sectional loss to Trico.
In the pitcher’s circle, the senior won 21 games with a 1.18 earned run average. She struck out 220 batters in 153.7 innings pitched. At the plate, Marlow batted .464 with 12 doubles, seven home runs and 30 runs batted in.
She’ll begin playing next season at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.
It’s a huge accomplishment for her to be on the first team in back-to-back years. We're all really proud of her because in addition to being a great softball player, Abby is a great student and great person all around. This is all due to her incredible work ethic.
Conrad Widdersheim, New Athens head softball coach on senior pitcher Abby Marlow
“It’s a huge accomplishment for her to be on the first team in back-to-back years,” said New Athens coach Conrad Widdersheim. “We’re all really proud of her because in addition to being a great softball player, Abby is a great student and great person all around. This is all due to her incredible work ethic.”
Middendorf was the centerpiece of Steeleville’s offense. She led the Warriors to a 23-8 season, which also ended with a loss to Trico in the sectional championship. Middendorf, a sophomore, was among leaders in the St. Louis region with a .584 average, 10 home runs and 48 runs batted in.
Edwardsville and New Athens each placed three on the ICA All-State list.
The Tigers added junior outfielder Sarah Hangsleben (.455, 11 HR, 48 RBIs) to the 4A second team and senior Hayli Green (.411, 47 runs scored, 26 RBIs) to the third team.
“We graduated a ton and everybody overlooked what we were returning and those kids took that personally,” said Blade. “Everything went our way, especially through the conference. It’s been a while since I’ve been this proud of a group in terms of what they gave us as compared to what was expected of them.”
The Yellow Jackets also were represented on the 1A list by second team shortstop Alina Lance (.495, 38 runs, 23 stolen bases) and third team third baseman Sophie Cooper (.400, eight doubles, two triples, 21 RBIs).
We graduated a ton and everybody overlooked what we were returning and those kids took that personally. Everything went our way, especially through the conference. It's been a while since I've been this proud of a group in terms of what they gave us as compared to what was expected of them.
Lori Blade, Edwardsville head coach on having three players on the ICA All-State team
“We’ve had some players on the list the last few years and are really proud of that,” Widdersheim said. “It’s great to see Alina and Sophie get some recognition. Both had excellent seasons. We’ll be happy to have Sophie back next year in the heart our our lineup.”
Barnouski, O’Fallon’s senior pitcher and slugger, was a third team pick in 4A after winning 17 games with a 1.36 ERA and batting .514 with five home runs.
MacKenzie McFeron, a sophomore shortstop at Nashville hit .556 with 53 runs scored and 58 stolen bases to make the 2A second team. Dupo catcher Rachael Donald, who batted .489 with 20 doubles and 41 RBIs in leading the Tigers to a second-place state finish, also made the second team.
Others from the metro east on the ICA All-State teams include: Alton junior Savannah Fisher (.455, 7 triples, 4 HR, 38 RBIs) is on the 4A second team; Alton pitcher Brittany Roady (22-7, 1.39 ERA, 213 strikeouts) made the third team; Nashville’s Deidra Holzhauer (22-10, 2.15 ERA, .405, 43 RBIs), Carlyle’s Hannah Hoffman (.472, six home runs, 29 RBIs), Central’s Olivia Wesselmann (.495, 15 doubles, four home runs, 32 RBIs), and Mater Dei junior Sydney Englehart (.436, 30 RBIs) are on the class 2A third team; and Steeleville sophomore Sydney Hood (23-8, 2.02 ERA) is on the 1A third team.
The metro-east is not represented on the class 3A all-state team despite stellar seasons by players, most notably from Columbia and Freeburg.
Freeburg sophomore Miranda Schulte led the Midgets to the Mattoon Super-Sectional with a breakout season in both the pitcher’s circle and in the batter’s box. She hit .533 with 10 home runs and 51 RBIs, all among St. Louis area leaders.
Columbia senior catcher Kalli Farmer (.436, 3 home runs, 38 RBIs), sophomore Calli Wibbenmeyer (.453, 34 runs, 40 RBIs) and freshman Lexi Touchette (.446, seven doubles, 32 RBIs) also had solid all-state credentials.