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A remarkable season

posted Jun 18 2018 6:17 PM

1st Team All-Metro 

Illinois Coaches Association

Tess Eberlin Megan Schorman-1st team
Megan Schorman Gracie Morris-2nd team
Tess Eberlin-3rd team
Jada Johnson-3rd team

What a Year... 36-2


ALTON — The numbers are staggering when looking at the stinginess of the Marquette Catholic softball team in 2018.

They are the kinds of numbers that often produce state championships.

So then even after a 36-2 season, the Explorers’ season is over, far sooner than they had hoped for, and feeling cheated.

Marquette produced the best season record-wise in school history with the 36 wins and did so allowing just 30 runs in 38 games or 0.79 runs per game. In the 36 wins, which included 20 shutouts, they allowed 21 runs or 0.58 per game. Even in Alexis Silkwood’s senior season in 2013 that produced a 31-7 record and runner-up finish in Class 3A at state, the Explorers allowed 63 runs that season.

In 2012 when the Explorers had their previous most wins in school history that produced a 35-3 season, Marquette, which lost 3-1 at Nashville in the Class 2A super-sectional, allowed a staggering 18 runs in 38 games when Silkwood was a junior.

So in the two seasons that Marquette has produced the greatest win totals in program history, there is only one sectional championship to show for it, and it wasn’t this season when the Explorers fell 2-0 to Williamsville in the Gillespie Sectional.

And when Wiedman, who completed his 24th season and is 524-262, sits down and dissects the season, it’ll be easy to feel the Explorers got cheated out of something more.

“I do,” he said, “but there’s a lot of good teams across the state. Even those years we placed in state, we had to win a game like this, 3-2 ballgame, 2-1 ballgame. But it was a tough sub-sectional. You had St. Joe-Ogden in here with us, the No. 1-ranked team in the state, we were ranked No. 2. Williamsville’s ranked No. 4. There were a lot of good teams in this (sectional). We’ve got a good ballclub and we got beat by a good ballclub. That’s basically what it boiled down to.

“It wasn’t probably our ‘A’ ballgame, but you don’t have very many games where you play your best game all season long. We’ve been good enough to beat a lot of good teams. I think we’ve played 19 ranked teams this year in the Illinois Coaches Association poll and to be 36-2 playing 19 ranked teams is a good season, but I’m not lying to you, it stings to lose a sectional championship game.”

Marquette will be saying goodbye to seven seniors (Tess Eberlin, Grace Frost, Haley Johnson, Melissa Lurkins, Gracie Morris, Megan Schorman and Cayli Shinstock). Four of them played significant roles in the Explorers’ season (Schorman, Eberlin, Frost and Morris). Frost, the team’s starting catcher, had her season cut short with a broken left thumb sustained late in the season and was sorely missed behind the plate and at the plate after hitting .370.

“I love these kids. They did a great job,” Wiedman said. “They had a fantastic four years. You always miss your seniors when they leave, but they’ll always be around. My daughter [Mary] told them we usually got about 16 coaching spots left on our staff and they can always come back and help us coach, too.

“I hate to see these kids’ careers end. They put so much effort into their four seasons.”

Schorman, who will move on to the University of Pittsburgh in the fall, and Frost, who will play at Illinois College in Jacksonville, are two of the departing seniors moving on to the next level. Morris is looking at perhaps playing at Fontbonne University in St. Louis and Johnson is looking into possibly playing at Webster University in Webster Groves, Mo. All left a lasting mark on the program.

Schorman finished 26-2 with a 0.57 ERA and hit .466.

“We’ve had so many accomplishments this year,” an emotional Schorman said. “It was just a really good season. I’m so excited. … Pitt’s going to be an amazing opportunity for me and I’m going to give it a go there and play and be able to pitch. I can’t wait for it.”

“We felt like we were a really good team,” said Morris, who belted a three-run home run to help Marquette win a regional over Southwestern 3-2 and finished at .392. “Next year, they’re going to have some really good incoming freshmen coming in, so let’s hope that they can bring us back another regional championship and sectional championship.”

Now, the platform will be turned over to the likes of sophomore Jada Johnson, junior Kyra Green, freshman Kiley Beth Kirchner, sophomore Emma Nicholson, freshman Abby Porter, freshman Makensie Card and sophomore Taylor Whitehead, who will become Marquette’s new ace pitcher after going 10-0 with a 0.23 ERA in 60 1/3 innings pitched this season.

Wiedman believes the Explorers are set up for the future.

“We do. We’ve got some good, young pitching,” Wiedman said, which includes freshman Murphy Youngblood. “We’ll have a different type of team. We’ll have more speed next year, but there’s not a whole lot of pitchers that come along like the Silkwoods and the Schormans that can really shut down teams. We’ve got some young pitchers that have done a fantastic job this year shutting teams down, but they’re going to get their opportunity next year to see what they can do against the really good ballclubs.”

Story by Louie Korac For The Telegraph


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