Belleville East’s Alyssa Krausz drives home a run against O’Fallon
HAYLEY PALM, MATER DEI P-IF
The reigning News-Democrat Class 1A-2A Player of the Year, this 5-foot-2 power hitter/pitcher is off to another strong start this spring for the Knights (3-0)..
After a junior season in which she bashed 10 home runs and s finished with 32 RBI, Palm is hitting .600 with a home run and has already driving in nine runs for a Mater Dei which scored 36 runs in its first three games.
Palm,. who was 8-4 with a 2.47 ERA a year ago, is also off to s fast start on the mound, winning her only decision and allowing only two earned runs in her 11 innings of work. Palm also has 13 strike outs.
EMILY REINNECK, LEBANON, IF-P
One of the top Class 1A three-sport athletes in the state, Reinneck looks to close out her high school career with another banner softball season.
A first team all-state basketball player and one of the top small school volleyball players in the St. Louis area, Reinneck hit .538 with three home runs and 27 RBI for the Greyhounds, annually one of the top Class 1A teams in southern Illinois. The senior went 1-for-3 with a pair of RBI in the Greyhounds 11-1 season-opening win against Mascoutah.
MARIA SMITH, EDWARDSVILLE, DP-IF
Like Reinneck, Smith is an exceptional three-sport athlete who also shines in volleyball and basketball. The younger sister of University of Missouri basketball player Mark Smith, Maria Smith was a first team all-area designated player a year ago when she batted .454 with 5 home runs and 30 RBI for a Tigers team which went undefeated in he Southwestern Conference and 22-4 for the season.
TAMI WONG., ALTON, 3B-SS
There isn’t much this Redbirds standout can’t do on a softball field and she proved that last season. Equally efficient at either third base or shortstop, Wong was among the league leaders in hits (58) and runs (56), while batting .496 with 4 home runs and 29 RBI.. Currently Hitting .286, Wong had three RBI in the Redbirds first three games of the season.
COLLEEN COCKRELL, FREEBURG, 1B-OF
Perhaps a bit overshadowed by the brilliance of three time all-state selection and News-Democrat Class 3A-4A Player of the Year Miranda Schulte, Cockrell was indeed one of the top players in the St. Louis area a year ago when she hit .490 with 3 home runs and 55 RBI for a Midgets team which battled Columbia for the Cahokia Conference title.
Off to a rocky start with just a .182 average, Cockrell has driven in four runs in just two games in the early part of the 2019 season.
ABIGAIL STAHLHUT, ROXANA, SS
A natural hitter with the ability to go to all fields, Stahlhut had a season most can only dream of a year ago when she battled .543 with 10 home runs and 47 RBI. Of her 51 total hits, 26 went for extra bases.
Through three games this season, Stahlhut was hitting .636 with a pair of home runs and five RBI.
BROOKLYN SMITH, CARLYLE, OF
Also a three-sport athlete and one of the best in recent Cahokia Conference history, Smith looks to end her high school career on a high note as she attempts to surpass her sensation season of a year ago when she hit .489 with 5 home runs and 26 RBI. Even more impressive was her .806 slugging percentage.
ALYSSA KRAUSZ, BELLEVILLE EAST, SS
The latest in a long line of premier players to come through Lancers coach Natalie Peters’ program, Krausz will be the catalyst on offense and a leader on the infield for the Lancers this spring. A true power hitter, Krausz hit .487 with 9 home runs and 47 RBI a year ago for a Lancers squad which was among the best in southern Illinois.
Krausz is currently hitting .333 with a pair of home runs and six RBI for East which has won two in a row after dropping its first three games of the year.
ZOIE HOWARD, O’FALLON, OF-DP
The daughter of former East St. Louis great and University of Illinois linebacker Dana Howard, Zoie Howard was perhaps the top freshman in the metro east a year ago when she hit .439 with three home runs and a team-leading 23 RBI. A gifted athlete, Howard has been key in the Panthers 4-0 start to the ‘19 season with 11 hits in 15 at bats (.786) and five RBI.
JULIA DRAKE, P-OF AND LINDSEY POIROT, OF-INF, NEW ATHENS
Two of the big reasons why the Yellow Jackets were among the top ranked Class 1A teams in the state a year ago, Drake and Poirot return and should be among the elite players in the metro east this spring.
Drake, who hit .333 with a pair of home runs and 20 RBI, was unhittable at times on the mound, finishing with a 21-3 record, a 1.45 ERA and 190 strike outs in 169 innings. Poirot, a versatile performer who can play several positions, batted a team leading .452 wiith 1 home run and 25 RBI.
MIKAELA KOSSINA, P and KAELYN RHEINECKER, P, COLUMBIA
They’re back for one more shot. One of the top pitching duos in the state a year ago, Kossina and Rheinecker were a combined 32-2 a years ago with 253 strike outs in 206 innings for an Eagles team which was loaded in offensive weapons.
With graduation taking several of the Eagles top hitters, the Eagles pair will have to be sharper than ever if Columbia is to exceed their success of 2018.
LEXI TOUCHETTE, COLUMBIA, 3B-SS
A third team all-state selection as a sophomore Touchette was among the best bin Illinois a year ago as well as she hit .464 with 9 home runs and 37 RBI. Thus far in ‘19. Touchette is hitting .364 with a home run and five RBI for an Eagles team which is 3-1 after dropping its season opener to Southwestern.