Tiger Softball Returns Starters, Looks to be Competitive

Sam Lance, Sports Editor

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Another spring is upon us, and the fresh cut grass and crisp white lines of the Edwardsville Sports Complex welcomes the Tiger softball team for another successful season.

Last year Edwardsville was led to a 28-5 record by senior Sarah Hangsleben, who left for Villanova.

“(Losing Hangsleben) is tough offensively,” said head coach Lori Blade, who is 424-79 in her 14 years of coaching at Edwardsville, “but our outfield, she was pretty much our leader out there, so someone is going to have to step up.”

Now, the Tigers look toward another promising season and return starters Taryn Brown, Anna Burke, Emma Lewis, Maria Smith, Lauren Taplin, Brooke Webber and Jordyn Hendricks.

Hendricks, a Lindenwood Belleville commit, is one of the best pitchers in the area. Her 60 mph fastball helped her to a 2.50 ERA and 95 strikeouts last season. This year, Hendricks is hopeful she can lead her team to state.

“After last season I got injured for about five months and I’ve been working my way back to what my strength was last year and even more,” she said.

Edwardsville also has a plethora of college commits. Four seniors, Anna Burke (Missouri S&T), Brooke Webber (Lincolnland), Taryn Brown (Culver-Stockton) and Hendricks will all continue their careers in college.

Brown, the catcher, finished fourth on the team in RBIs last season and also slated a .402 slugging percentage and .317 on base. Brown said that with many returning starters this year she foresees a good season.

“I hope to do whatever I can to help my team be as successful as possible and to be a leader for my teammates each and every day,” Brown said.

Blade concurred and said that even though the team lost a little early in the playoffs last year than they had hoped, this squad is set to improve throughout the year to prepare for another postseason run.

“We have a great group of kids,” she said. “With that many returning, we look forward to being competitive.”

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