The Granite City Warriors softball team finished with seven wins last season. (Front row, from left) Samantha Gihring, Tressa Scarborough, Brianna Steward, Savannah Gibson, Kelsi Coats, Callie Bedorff and Krystle Marler; (middle row, from left) Madi Winfeld, Sydney Feltmeyer, Cassie Petras, Caitlin Patrick, Sarah Boyd and Holly Zaring; (back row, from left) coach Kate Meyer, coach Whitney Sykes-Rogers, Haley Crider, Morgan Tanksley, Morgan Fazio, head coach Emily Ashby and coach Danielle Emerick.
Everything clicked for Caitlin Patrick at the plate last season.
Patrick was the Granite City Warriors’ top hitter in 2015, leading the team in batting average (.459), runs batted in (14), doubles (7) and hits (34). She also earned all-Southwestern Conference honors.
Patrick can thank Granite City coach Emily Ashby for that.
“She has helped me more than just softball,” Patrick said. “She has helped me with life and family issues. I play softball for her every day because I owe her that. She’s done so much for me in this team.”
During practice two weeks ago at Wilson Park, tears were flowing from Patrick’s eyes. She’s sad she’s playing in her last season with Ashby this spring. Patrick is one of just three seniors on the team.
“When I’m on the field, everything’s for her,” Patrick said. “She deserves a good player to try and put her heart on the field because she’s a great coach.”
Patrick, seniors Sarah Boyd and Cassie Petras, juniors Savannah Gibson, Haley Crider and Holly Zaring and sophomore Morgan Tanksley are among the top returning players from last year’s team that finished 7-25 after getting off to an 0-13 start.
“We have a good group of girls,” Ashby said. “We have a lot of young girls this year, but we’re excited about a lot of freshmen coming in with some talent. That’s going to help us put some depth to us that we haven’t had in the past couple of years. We’re expecting good things from our senior leadership, so we’re excited about that.”
Ashby said she is excited to have Patrick back on her team.
“Caitlin is a great kid,” the second-year Granite City coach said. “I can’t say enough about Caitlin. Caitlin is about effort and enthusiasm. She’s a great kid to have on the team. She’s vocal. I couldn’t ask for more for Caitlin. I just hope she has a great year. I’m expecting a lot out of her. She’s one of our best hitters coming back and we’re hoping she has a great senior year. She deserves it.”
Tanksley returns as the Warriors’ top pitcher. She earned third-team all-league pitcher honors after finishing with 157 strikeouts.
Patrick said she was pleased with the way she performed at the plate last season.
“Last year was a good year,” she said. “The previous year, which was my sophomore year, I ended with a .456 average and I told myself each year to set a higher goal. Take what you learned last year and put it in your mind and learn from it next year. Last year, I did a lot better. I was a lot more calm and I wasn’t so giddy. I made a lot more contact than I did my sophomore year and that’s all I wanted was more contact. I care about home runs, but as long as I put the ball in play for my team, I want to be that person.”
Patrick has been playing softball since she was 8. For the last two years, she played select softball for the O’Fallon Tomahawks and the Midwest Freedom.
“I appreciated everything that both teams have done for me so far,” Patrick said. “I’ve come a long way.”
Patrick said she plans to continue her softball career in college next year.
“Right now, I’m deciding whether or not I’m going to go play at SWIC for two years because I get two years for free because I’m in the top two percent (of my class) or go to Black Hills State University in South Dakota and be a walk-on,” said Patrick, an honor student with a 5.3 GPA. “It’s a Division II school and it has a great program. But two years for free for school, that’s something you can’t pass up.”
This spring, Patrick is leading a team that has a combined eight sophomores and freshmen.
“I’m trying a good role model for them and I’m trying to have a good attitude about everything,” said Patrick, who plays in the outfield. “I expect a lot for myself to give to them to show the good things about softball, the kind of family that we have as a softball team and how to be good softball players because there are a lot of girls out there that don’t know how to teach younger softball players about respect. There’s more about softball than just playing the game. I expect a lot for myself on the field and off the field.”
Sarah Boyd 1B
Caitlin Patrick OF
Cassandra Petras INF/OF
Haley Crider INF/OF
Savannah Gibson 3B
Samantha Gihring INF/OF
Bryanna Stewart OF
Holly Zaring INF/OF
Kelsi Coats INF/OF
Morgan Fazio SS
Krystle Marler INF/OF
Tressa Scarborough OF
Morgan Tanksley P
Mady Winfield INF/OF
Khaly Bettorf INF/OF
Sydney Feltmeyer C
March 24 — vs. Highland, 4:15 p.m.
March 29 — at East St. Louis*, 4:30 p.m.
March 30 — vs. Civic Memorial, 4:15 p.m.
March 31 — at Belleville West*, 4:30 p.m.
April 2 — vs. Roxana, 11 a.m.
April 4 — vs. EA-WR, 4 p.m.
April 5 — vs. Belleville East*, 4:30 p.m.
April 6 — at Mascoutah, 4:15 p.m.
April 7 — at Alton*, 4:30 p.m.
April 9 — vs. Greenville (DH), 10 a.m.
April 12 — at O’Fallon*, 4:30 p.m.
April 13 — at Althoff, 4:15 p.m.
April 14 — vs. Collinsville*, 4:30 p.m.
April 15 — vs. Columbia, 4:15 p.m.
April 19 — at Edwardsville*, 4:30 p.m.
April 26 — vs. Belleville West*, 4:30 p.m.
April 28 — vs. East St. Louis*, 4:30 p.m.
May 3 — vs. Alton*, 4:30 p.m.
May 5 — at Belleville East*, 4:30 p.m.
May 6 — at Jersey*, 4:15 p.m.
May 10 — at Collinsville*, 4:30 p.m.
May 11 — vs. Cahokia, 4:15 p.m.
May 12 — vs. O’Fallon*, 4:30 p.m.
May 14 — at Springfield (DH), 10 a.m.
May 16 — vs. Triad, 4:15 p.m.
May 17 — vs. Edwardsville*, 4:30 p.m.
May 18 — at Waterloo, 4:15 p.m.