For Immediate Release
Softball -- Feb. 23, 2011
Eureka Softball Picked Fifth in SLIAC Preseason Poll
ST. LOUIS, Mo. – The Eureka College softball team has been picked to finish fifth in the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference in 2011, according to a league announcement Tuesday night based on a poll conducted by league head coaches earlier this month. Defending SLIAC Tournament champion Fontbonne has been chosen to win the nine-team league.
Eureka will return seven players, all starters, for second-year head coach Stacey Sparks from last season’s squad that finished in a third-place tie in the league standings with a 9-6 SLIAC record. The Red Devils earned the third seed in the 2010 SLIAC Tournament and became the third team in school history (men’s basketball, 2007, 2010) to win a SLIAC Tournament game after a 13-5 trouncing of Greenville in an elimination game on May 6. The Red Devils were eliminated the next day by top-seeded Webster, falling one victory short of the final round.
Among the returning starters is junior second baseman Tomi Tapper (East Peoria, Ill./East Peoria H.S.), a 2010 All-SLIAC First Team selection. Tapper finished her second season at Eureka with a .277 average, 12 runs scored, three doubles, two home runs and 16 RBI.
Tapper is one of four returning starters in the Eureka infield, as senior third baseman Jill Doty (Metamora, Ill./Metamora H.S.) and junior shortstop Carissa Alig (Metamora, Ill./Metamora H.S.) started all 34 games together on the left side of the infield last season. Junior Sarah Jesse (Mackinaw, Ill./Bloomington H.S.) made 20 appearances at first base last spring, giving Eureka an infield that has combined to start 218 games the previous two seasons. Jesse will also lead the Eureka pitching staff in 2011 after tossing 95.0 innings last season both as a starter and out of the bullpen.
Sophomore outfielder Lauren Kao (Normal, Ill./Normal Community H.S.) returns to anchor the Eureka outfield after being named to the All-SLIAC Second Team and All-SLIAC Tournament Team as a freshman last spring. Kao hit .336 (38-for-113) out of the leadoff spot in the Eureka lineup and led the SLIAC with 13 doubles and five triples, while her four home runs were a team-high. Eureka senior Amy Scammahorn (Decatur, Ill./Warrensburg-Latham H.S.) will also return in the Eureka outfield after starting 58 contests during her first two seasons in a Eureka uniform. Scammahorn will also run as a sprinter this spring on the Eureka track & field team.
Sparks also plans to welcome 14 newcomers, 10 of which will have freshman eligibility. The Red Devils will open the 2011 season on March 5 with a 1 p.m. non-conference doubleheader at Knox in Galesburg, Ill.
Fontbonne received six of a possible seven first-place votes to be picked as the preseason favorite. Third-year FU head coach Bill Rosner returns All-SLIAC First Team choice Amy Simon at third base, as well as Honorable Mention honoree Amanda Beaver at first base/designated player. Also receiving one first place vote in the poll was Webster. The Gorloks went 14-2 in SLIAC play last season and finished 24-13 overall en route to capturing their fourth consecutive SLIAC regular season title.
The top four teams in the final league standings, excluding NCAA Division III provisional member Spalding, will qualify for the annual SLIAC Tournament in May.
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