Photo by Theo Tate
(Front row) Gina Miler, Tressa Scarborough, Kelsi Coats, Savanah Gibson, Brittany Morales and Krystle Marler; (second row) Caitlin Patrick, Cassie Petras, Allison Kromray, Ciara Yon, Hannah Groetecke and Maddie Schultz; (third row) Holly Zaring, Sarah Boyd, Haley Crider, Mikayla Kingsley and Morgan Tanksley; (back row) Coach Whitney Sykes, Head Coach Emily Ashby and Coach Danelle Emerick. Not pictured: Kate Meyers.
Emily Ashby is on double duty this spring.
The Granite City graduate is not only taking over head coaching duties for the Warriors’ softball team, she’s also pursuing a bachelor’s degree in nursing at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. She plans to graduate from SIUE in May.
“I make it work,” Ashby said. “I love being here and I would do anything to make it here.”
Ashby is the Warriors’ third head coach in three years. She replaces Whitney Sykes-Rogers, who is now the assistant coach. Ashby was the team’s assistant coach for three years before being promoted in August.
“I was beyond excited,” Ashby said. “I see great things for this program and I want to be a part of it. I’m ready to get in there and get to work. I have full faith in these girls that they buy into what we’re teaching them.”
Ashby graduated from Granite City in 2009. In her senior year, she finished with a career-high 21 hits. Ashby then played softball for two years at Lewis and Clark Community College before heading to SIUE.
This spring, Ashby is hoping for a successful first season as Granite City head coach. The Warriors were 3-27 last year.
“We’re working hard and it’s going to show that this group of girls wants it,” said Ashby, whose team lost to Alton Marquette 11-3 on March 18 in its season opener on the road. “They want to learn, they’re here every day and they’re working hard and it will show in our games.”
Brittany Morales, Gina Miller and Maddie Shultz make up the Warriors’ senior class.
Morales is the team’s catcher and is playing in her fourth season with the program, Shultz returns as one of the team’s pitchers and Miller is playing in her first season with the varsity.
Ashby said she has high hopes for Morales.
“She’s definitely a leader,” Ashby said. “She’s quiet and shy, but she’s been around and works hard and is there (at practice) every day. I’m kind of relying on her a lot for her senior leadership.”
Ashby also expects good things from junior Caitlin Patrick, who plays first base.
“She has really grown over the past three years,” Ashby said. “From her freshman year until now, she has really turned into a great player. We’re expecting a lot from Caitlin.”
Junior Sarah Boyd, who plays second base, returns for her third season with the varsity.
“Sarah is one of those girls you would love to have for leadership,” Ashby said. “The girls look up to her. She has a presence about her that kind of commands respect and that’s good. We need those girls on the team.”
Juniors Cassie Petras and Mikayla Kingsley, sophomores Savannah Gibson, Allison Kromray, Cierra Yon, Haley Crider and Holly Zaring and freshmen Morgan Tanksley, Krystle Marler, Tressa Scarborough and Kelsi Coats round out the varsity.
“We’re a very young team,” Ashby said. “But we’re excited about that. The younger they are and the rawer they are, the more they listen and the more that we can teach them and they can learn.”
Morales, a senior for the Warriors, batted .269 as a junior and was the fourth-leading hitter on the team. She looks to be a key component to the lineup this season for GCHS after being third on the team in runs scored a year ago.
A junior for Granite City, Patrick returns as the top hitter on the team in 2015. As a sophomore in 2014, Patrick paced the Warriors with a team-best .465 batting average, a team-high eight doubles and 14 RBIs, which was second on the team.
Quick Hits/2015 Outlook
Team: Granite City Warriors
Head coach: Emily Ashby
Record last season: 3-27
Career record: First year
GRANITE CITY SOFTBALL
Brittany Morales C, SS
Gina Miller OF
Maddie Shultz P, 1B
Caitlin Patrick P, 1B
Sarah Boyd 2B, SS
Cassie Petras C, OF
Mikayla Kingsley OF
Savannah Gibson 3B, SS
Allison Kromray C, SS
Cierra Yon 1B, OF
Haley Crider 3B, 2B
Holly Zaring P, 1B
Hannah Groetecke SS, 2B
Morgan Tanksley P, OF
Krystle Marler P, 3B
Tressa Scarborough OF, P
Kelsi Coats 3B, P
Morgan Fazio OF, SS
March 26 — at Highland, 4:15 p.m.
March 31 — vs. Belleville West*, 4:30 p.m.
April 1 — at CM, 4:15 p.m.
April 2 — at Belleville East*, 4:30 p.m.
April 4 — at Roxana, 11 a.m.
April 6 — at EA-WR, 4 p.m.
April 8 — vs. Alton*, 4:30 p.m.
April 9 — vs. O’Fallon*, 4:30 p.m.
April 11 — at Greenville, 10 a.m.
April 14 — at Collinsville*, 4:30 p.m.
April 15 — vs. Althoff, 4:15 p.m.
April 16 — vs. Edwardsville*, 4:30 p.m.
April 17 — at Columbia, 4:15 p.m.
April 21 — vs. East St. Louis*, 4:30 p.m.
April 28 — vs. Belleville East*, 4:30 p.m.
April 30 — at Belleville West*, 4:30 p.m.
May 2 — at Alton Tournament, 10 a.m.
May 5 — at O’Fallon*, 4:30 p.m.
May 7 — at Alton*, 4:30 p.m.
May 8 — vs. Jersey, 4:15 p.m.
May 12 — at Edwardsville*, 4:30 p.m.
May 13 — at Cahokia, 4:15 p.m.
May 14 — vs. Collinsville*, 4:30 p.m.
May 18 — at Triad, 4:15 p.m.
May 19 — at East St. Louis*, 4:30 p.m.
May 20 — vs. Waterloo, 4:15 p.m.