Veterans generating buzz for Eureka girls softball
A lineup of mostly varsity veterans promises to not only repeat the success of last year's stellar girls softball squad but perhaps do it one better at Eureka High School.
The Hornets finished with a 26-10 record last year, making it to the sectional semifinals, and are already off to a fast start this season, which looks to be the culmination of a group of girls who have been playing together for years.
"We have five seniors and seven juniors this year, and this group of girls have basically been the entire varsity team here at Eureka for three years," Eureka head coach John Stromberger recently told the East Central Reporter. "I've coached these seniors for six years counting junior high, and it is a very exciting season seeing them at their pinnacle."
The Hornets moved to the Heart of Illinois (HOI) Conference this year after playing in the Corn Belt, and Stromberger not only expects his veteran squad to have a fun but also to get even better.
"We are continually trying to improve on-field communication, which we have improved every year," he said. "It is a goal again this year. Another thing I would like to see from the pitching staff is minimizing the bad walk. We had some inopportune walks last season, and those usually led to runs."
The Hornets have a team of leaders, Stromberger said. Anyone can step up at any given time, which is a huge advantage for Eureka and one of its primary strengths.
The team includes senior right fielder Danielle Brittain, the team captain, and two strong starting pitchers in juniors Parker Williams and Quincy Boschulte, both of whom have thrown practically every varsity inning since their freshmen year. Boschulte was second team all-state last season.
In addition, senior Samantha McKee, who will be attending Illinois Central College on a scholarship in the fall, is the team's leadoff hitter and offensive catalyst, and second baseman and junior Maddie McCunn looks to have another fine year after finishing second-team all-state last year.
Eureka is also sending two other seniors off with college scholarships in the fall: Third baseman Danielle Ladendorf will attend Heartland College, and first baseman Bailey Gourley will play ball at Aurora University. The talented senior group also includes shortstop Ashlyn Millett.
"Our expectation is to make a strong showing in our first year in the HOI Conference," Stromberg said. "The conference is an amazing softball league, and with all due respect to the Corn Belt, I don't feel like we have taken a step down in any way."
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109 W Cruger Ave
Eureka, IL 61530