It’s time to yawn, stretch and peek out of whatever hole you’ve been hibernating in. It’s time to get back outside and enjoy some spring sports.
With the Alton Redbird basketball team wrapping up a tremendous season last Friday with a tough 48-36 loss to Normal Community High in the Class 4A Pekin Sectional finals, the last link to winter prep sports in the Greater Alton area was broken.
There is no time to bask in the glory of a season that saw the Redbirds tie a school record with 27 wins. Spring games began on Monday as the temperatures reached a welcomed high of 77 degrees. I don’t know about you, but I’m ready for the spring and to be back outside. It should be a fun season.
Starting with Alton baseball, particularly 6-foot-8 lefty pitcher Bryan Hudson, there will be plenty of talent on the field. Hudson already inked a letter of intent to pitch for the University of Missouri after his senior year, but a fairly high spot in the upcoming Amateur Baseball Draft in June is a distinct possibility. Be prepared to see scouts hanging around Lloyd Hopkins Field often this spring.
A strong batting lineup and a complementary pitching staff for Hudson will stir the Redbirds’ prosperity this spring, too.
Don’t forget about a defending state champ back with the Birds this spring. LaJarvia Brown is back with the track and field team after corralling a 3A state title in the triple jump in 2014. She jumped 40-3.5 to garner her crown and she hopes to defend it. Brown also nabbed sixth in the long jump (18-2). You can check out her and the rest of the Alton boys’ and girls’ track and field teams on March 28 at the Southwestern Illinois Relays in Edwardsville.
On the girls’ soccer field, the Marquette Catholic Explorers will look to continue their excellence. The Explorers were 18-6-1 a year ago and advanced to the Class 1A Metro East Lutheran Super Sectional, but unfortunately lost 2-1 in double overtime to eventual state runner-up Rochester. Marquette was third in the state in ‘13 and won the Class 1A state title in ‘11. The Explorers remain in Class 1A competition this year.
Senior Kate Sanfilippo looks to lead the charge. She already signed a letter of intent to play at Northern Illinois prior to the season.
The Roxana baseball team hopes to build on a regional title from last year. They have pitcher Logan Reardon, a signee at Lincoln Land, back on the hill. Former Alton head coach and a Roxana grad Scott Harper is the new head coach of the Shells.
Mike Arbuthnot will be back in the dugout for Roxana softball, too. He previously was skipper of the Shells from 1989 to 1995.
Make sure to get out and support the rest of the Greater Alton schools this spring. The East Alton-Wood River Oilers and Civic Memorial Eagles look to compete hard in their respective sports this spring, along with the rest of the sports for the Redbirds, Explorers and Shells.
Enjoy the weather and let’s hope we can see some of the same successes we witnessed in the fall and winter.