Prep softball: Cavalies have solid year on diamond
By Eric Becker
CARLINVILLE (June 7, 2018) – Area softball teams after a tough start to the season with weather-related issues found their niche late in the season.
For Carlinville and second year head coach Paige Vinyard, it was a winning campaign.
Carlinville finished 12-10, losing in the regional semifinals to co-SCC champion Hillsboro by one run in extra innings. They finished fourth in the conference at 6-3.
The Cavaliers placed four on the 2018 All-Conference team for the South Central Conference.
Gillespie and Southwestern, which tied Hillsboro with 8-1 records atop the conference, placed seven each on the three all-conference teams. Carlinville, Hillsboro, Litchfield and Roxana had four each.
Greenville did not have a all-conference member this season. Staunton, Pana and Vandalia had two each.
Second-team all-conference pitcher was senior Alyssa DeSpain.
She will be heading to Lincoln Land to continue her softball career. DeSpain had a 1.63 ERA and struck out 153 in 128 2/3 innings pitched.
DeSpain has been a starting pitcher for the Cavaliers since she was a freshman.
Offensively, DeSpain led the team with a .469 average, with two home runs, 10 RBIs and 19 runs scored. She added two doubles and two triples.
Also making second-team all-conference was outfielder Kayla Seal, another senior.
She anchored center field defensively for the Cavaliers, while hitting .172 with nine runs, two doubles and eight RBIs.
Carlinville had two on the third-team all-conference, including senior infielder Sydney Cania.
Cania hit .338 with 19 RBIs and 19 runs scored, hitting one home run, three doubles and a triple.
Dani Westnedge, a junior, was a third-team all-conference outfielder, having hit .294 with six RBIs and five runs, along with two doubles.
Carlinville also got strong offensive contributions from senior Natalie Kaganich, who hit .294 with four doubles, eight RBIs and 13 runs scored.
Junior Paityn Tieman was the leadoff hitter most of the season, hitting .291 with nine RBIs and two doubles, along with 16 runs scored.
Junior Lexi Bates hit .299 with a team-high three home runs, 21 RBIs, 15 runs, five doubles and two triples.
Senior catcher Emma Griffith hit .302 with four doubles and 12 RBIs. Junior Jordyn Houseman hit .217 with a home run, 11 RBIs, 14 runs and two doubles.
The other county conference teams were also well-represented on the SCC all-conference squads.
Gillespie, which finished 24-5 with a regional championship, placed seven on the all-conference team.
That included four on the first-team, led by senior pitcher Sydney Henrichs. She finished 22-4 with a 1.88 ERA for the Miners, striking out 282 in 152 2/3 innings pitched.
Senior catcher Mackenzie Kasarda hit .484 with eight home runs, 39 RBIs, 10 doubles and 44 runs to earn first-team all-conference.
As did junior Rylee Jarman on the infielder, as she batted .520 with five home runs, 26 RBIs and 43 runs.
Ally Clay, a senior, was first-team outfield, hitting .467 with three home runs, 36 RBIs, nine doubles, four triples and 44 runs.
On the second team all-conference from Gillespie included infielder senior Rylee Sarti, who hit .388 with four home runs, 23 RBIs and eight doubles.
Third-team all-conference included freshman infielder Keaton Link, who hit .270 with a home run, nine RBIs and 17 runs. Freshman Mikala Hayes was third-team outfielder, hitting .293 with 17 RBIs and five triples.
Southwestern went 21-7 and advanced to the regional finals this past season.
The Piasa Birds had three on the first-team all-conference, including junior infielder Molly Novack, a .467 hitter with two home runs, 21 RBIs, nine doubles and four triples.
Sophomore Mayci Wilderman was first-team outfielder, with a .396 average, two home runs, 20 RBIs, 37 runs, 11 doubles and four triples.
Freshman utility player Sydney Baumgartner was the other first-teamer for the Piasa Birds. She hit .359 with 28 RBIs, 24 runs and six doubles.
On the second-team included sophomore pitcher Bailee Nixon, who went 14-2 with a 1.92 ERA, striking out 96 in 106 innings pitched.
Freshman catcher Megan Bailey was a second-team all-conference, hitting .393 with a home run, 19 RBIs, 23 runs and 13 doubles.
Senior infielder Haley Edwards hit .494 with three home runs, 31 RBIs, 28 runs and 12 doubles to be a second-team member.
On the third-team all-conference was freshman infielder Bri Roloff, who hit .413 with five home runs, 36 RBIs, 40 runs and nine doubles.
Staunton finished with a 12-9 record and tied for fifth in the conference this past season.
The Bulldogs had two all-conference team members. Junior outfielder Kaleigh Pirok was second-team by hitting .351 with six RBIs, 10 runs and five doubles.
Grace Nichols, a senior, was third-team all-conference pitcher, as she had a 3.04 ERA, striking out 157 in 136 innings.
A complete list of the SCC all-conference teams can be found in the Mac Stats section.