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10 metro-east softball players to watch in 2018

Kristina Bettis returns as the primary pitcher for a Belleville East team that reached a class 4A super-sectional last season.
Kristina Bettis returns as the primary pitcher for a Belleville East team that reached a class 4A super-sectional last season. teschman@bnd.com

Jenna Alfeldt, senior, New Athens

A third-year starter and second-team all-state selection in 2017, Alfeldt has signed a national letter of intent to play her college softball at McKendree. Last season, she hit .495 with a .528 on-base percentage. She hit 11 doubles, two homers and scored 34 runs while driving in another 29.

Alex Boze, senior, and Kristina Bettis, senior, Belleville East

Boze is the reigning Belleville News-Democrat Player of the Year following a junior campaign in which the slugging catcher batted .471. Her 14 home runs, 53 RBIs and .924 slugging percentage all ranked in the top three of the St. Louis region. She already holds East's career and single-season records for home run and RBIs and will likely establish a new mark for career hits in 2018 as well. She'll continue her career at Missouri State University.

Bettis, was a first-team all-area pick of area coaches as a junior. She went 25-6 with a 1.40 ERA in leading the Lancers to the 4A super-sectional last spring. Opposing hitters batted just .213 off of her, and she struck out 124 batters.

Anna Burke, senior, Edwardsville

A defensive specialist at shortstop came into her own as an offensive weapon last season as a junior. Burke batted .427 with three home runs and 32 runs batted in. Her 42 runs scored were among the top 10 in the St. Louis region. The Edwardsville honor student will continue her playing career in college at Missouri Science and Technology.

Mackenzie McFeron, senior, Nashville

The four-year starting shortstop, McFeron batted .475 with a .613 on-base percentage, scored 54 runs and drove in more than 30 more from the leadoff spot. Her 65 stolen bases ranks among the top 16 for a single season in IHSA history. She's committed to play at the University of Evansville next season.

Chelsy Pena, senior, Lexi Touchette, junior, Calli Wibbenmeyer, senior, Columbia

All three are three-year starters and were all-state third team picks for Columbia last spring. Pena comes from a family of Columbia catchers and will play next season at Southeast Missouri State. She batted .418 as a junior with 16 doubles, five home runs and 35 RBIs.

Touchette, who can play anywhere on the infield, led the Eagles with a .769 slugging percentage while also batting .423 with 27 runs scored, seven home runs and 47 RBIs.

Wibbenmeyer, also a versatile infielder, was a .516 hitter last year with 42 runs scored, 10 doubles, three home runs and 35 RBIs. She's attending Rockurst University in Kansas City next fall.

Miranda Schulte, senior, Freeburg

Twice, Schulte has been a BND All-Area first-team player. Last year, she was a second-team all-state pick. What's in store for the Freeburg senior in 2018? The University of Iowa recruit does a little bit of everything. Last year she batted .512 with 10 doubles, 10 home runs and 35 runs batted in. In the pitchers' circle, she went 16-7 with a 1.72 ERA and struck out 158 batters in 150.7 innings.

Tami Wong, junior, Alton

As a center fielder for the Redbirds, Wong led the Southwestern Conference with a .509 batting average, breaking the school record. She also led the conference with 17 doubles, 45 runs and a .576 on-base percentage. Her 58 hits fell just two shy of the Alton record. And that was just her sophomore season. She'll play third base for the Redbirds this season.

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