Today, we head to the softball field to preview a pair of traditional powers on the diamond as Oakville and Francis Howell both bring back solid groups to compete for a spot in the state playoffs.

Veteran head coach Rick Sturm returns to lead the Tigers as he welcomes a solid group of returners, which includes his top two pitchers from a year ago in Savannah Hesse and Lilly Kahle. 

Jenn Beckmann-Brown will once again lead the Vikings this season after falling to eventual state runner-up Howell Central in the district finals a year ago. All-Regional pitcher Lorin Boutte will once again be counted on both in the circle and at the plate for the Vikings while Madi Illingsworth will aid the Howell offense.

Oakville Tigers

Head Coach – Rich Sturm

Record at school – 410-119 in 19 years

Conference – Suburban Yellow

2021 record – 15-12

Top Returning Players: Amelia Wiesler, Savannah Hesse, Madison Rhyne, Lilly Kahle, Lexi Kahle, and Mary Tutwiler.

Wiesler had a batting average of .388 last season with a team-high 27 runs batted in while leading the team in home runs with six. Hesse paced the Tigers in the circle with an 8-9 record and a 3.57 earned run average. She will be joined by Lilly Kahle in the rotation this season. Kahle was 2-1 last season in 25 innings pitched with a 3.08 ERA.

Players to Watch: Amelia Wiesler, Savannah Hesse, Madison Rhyne, Lilly Kahle, Mary Tutwiler, Morgan Kovach, Addie Frank, Lexi Kahle, and Reagan Kemp.

Season Outlook: “This team will have a lot of Varsity experience and we are looking forward to the upcoming season,” stated Sturm. “Six starters and two pitchers (Savannah Hesse and Lilly Kahle) will be returning. We feel that our pitching and defense will be solid. Offensively we have a lot of potential and I think our lineup could be very good.”

Key Games:

  • Monday, September 19 at Webster Groves
  • Wednesday, September 22 vs Eureka
  • Wednesday, September 28 at Rockwood Summit


Francis Howell Vikings

Head Coach – Jenn Beckmann-Brown

Record at school – 108-98-1 in eight years

Conference – Gateway Athletic Conference

2021 record – 18-13

Returning players: Lorin Boutte, All-Regional pitcher, Madi Illingsworth – Second Team All-Conference, and Megan McCutcheon, Second Team All-Conference.

Boutte had an outstanding 2021 with a 10-6 record and a 1.76 earned run average in 20 appearances. She added 106 strikeouts and surrendered only two extra-base hits. Boutte also is a threat at the plate with a .377 batting average and six doubles last season. Illingworth had a .349 batting average last season with a team-high 27 runs batted in.

Players to Watch: Kalyn Barr, Senior, OF – strong leadership skills and aggressive player

Lorin Boutte, Junior, Pitcher – commanding presence on the mound, with a great bat as well

Lilly Murphy, Junior, UTL – will have some innings behind the plate as well as in the outfield, strong bat, and great heads-up runner.

Season Outlook: “Last season, we lost in the last inning of the District Championship to State Runner-up Francis Howell Central,” stated Beckmann-Brown. “Our girls are hungry to compete and get back into a playoff position. We have a wonderful group of athletes who have a passion for the game and playing as a team.”

Key Games:

  • Tuesday, September 13 vs Troy
  • Friday-Saturday, September 23-24 at Fort Zumwalt North Invite
  • Friday – Saturday, October 7-8 at Rolla Invite


Jim Powers
Jim Powers

Jim Powers has been covering prep sports in the St. Louis area for 15+ years and a part of the Missouri State High School Activities Association Championship Broadcasts for the past 11 years. Powers is also a part of the Fox 2 Verlo Mattress Prep Zone Friday nights at 10:10 during the football and basketball seasons. If you have a prep sports story, please contact Jim at Follow Jim at @hssportscaravan