Photo by Diane Cox
The Alton Redbird softball team having a little fun after defeating Quincy in the semifinals of the Class 4A Alton Regional on May 27.
The season is over for the Alton High School softball team. Yet the Redbirds, eliminated by the Edwardsville Tigers on June 1 in the championship game of the Class 4A AHS Regional, are already awaiting 2016.
“We are definitely looking forward to next season because we have everybody back,” junior pitcher Brittany Roady said.
No doubt, there will be great expectations since the Redbirds posted a 20-15 record in 2015 and have their sights set on bigger and better things.
“We got better as the year went on this season,” Roady said. “The regional championship is always a goal.”
Edwardsville claimed its fourth consecutive regional championship by defeating Alton, 11-1, in six innings and the Tigers advanced to the Normal Super-Sectional before being eliminated.
The Redbirds intend to follow that trail some season, preferably in 2016.
“We want to strive to be regional champs,” said Alton coach Dan Carter, who foresees more good things on the horizon. “And I don’t know why we couldn’t be holding the regional plaque next year.”
He added, “We got a lot out of this team. All things considered, I couldn’t be happier with the way we performed and our effort this season.”
Roady held the pitching together. She logged a 16-13 record and registered a 3.08 ERA in 184.3 innings. The rest of the staff pitched just 35.3 innings. So part of Carter’s task is to find pitching to complement Roady.
Sophomore shortstop Savannah Fisher batted .429 to lead the AHS attack. She slammed five home runs and drove home 39 runs, both tops on the team. Overall, Fisher collected 18 extra base hits.
Junior third baseman Katelyn Presley batted .374 and staged some late-season heroics. She scored the winning run in the 7-6 regional semifinal win over Quincy and then blasted a home run for the Birds only run against Edwardsville.
“Everybody is coming back for us next season, so we are really looking forward to it,” Presley said. “We want to work hard for this (regional championship) and I think that next year can be our year.”
Catcher Miranda Hudson hit .360 with three home runs and 33 RBIs. She will also serve as a key returnee. Tomi Dublo (.348) and Bronte Fencel (.288) also supplied some key hits. Dublo had four home runs and 16 RBIs. Fencel contributed 11 extra base hits and knocked in 24 runs.
“We started really slowly this season, but then we started playing better,” Presley said.
Alton won five in succession and seven of eight during one stretch of the season. The Redbirds finished 5-9 in the rugged Southwestern Conference and propose to improve on that next season. Carter figures that’s doable.
“I’m extremely pleased with this group and what they did this season,” he said. “We won 20 games — without any seniors. It’s a great group of kids that has worked hard.
“We just need to keep working at it the right way. If they are learning, then we are teaching them what they need to do.”
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