We head to the diamond to start previewing some of the softball teams that will look to make some waves in the upcoming fall season. Both Rockwood Summit and Webster Groves have traditionally been in the conversation to make a long run in the state tournament and this year should be no different.
The Falcons will have a familiar face taking over the program as longtime assistant Chad Jones will run the team this year as he welcomes an outstanding core group back from a 2021 campaign that saw Summit win 28 games. Abby Ulsas returns to the lineup after hitting .429 last season while Sami Scholtz will lead the pitching staff after a 13-1 year last season in the circle.
The Statesmen bring back five starters from last year’s squad as head coach Bryan Gibson will look to them to lead a young group that has had an outstanding summer. Faith Lowery will return to lead the pitching staff for Webster Groves after having a 12-9 record last year with a 3.77 earned run average. Ava Fitzgibbon will move to the infield this season after playing in the outfield as she had a .373 batting average with nine extra-base hits in the 2021 season.
Rockwood Summit Falcons
- Head Coach – Chad Jones
- Record at school – 0-0 in his first year.
- Conference – Suburban Yellow
- 2021 record – 28-3
- Starters Returning: Abby Ulsas, Skylar Zentner, Sami Scholtz, Maria Scotti
- Returning players: Abby Ulsas – 1st team All Conf, All-District, and All-Region. 2nd team all-state in 2021, 1st team all-state in 2020.
- Skylar Zentner – 2nd team all conf, 1st team all-district, 2nd team all-region 2021.
- Sami Scholtz – 1st team all-district, 2nd team all-region 2021.
- Maria Scotti – 2nd-year Starter
- Players to Watch Ali Sandler – Junior – Has a ton of speed and switched to lefty full time. She could steal 15-plus bases this season. She will play in the outfield this season.
Season Outlook: “We should be very competitive this year,” stated Jones. “We have a legit number one pitcher and a solid freshmen class that contains four to five players that will contribute right away. We also just have a great group of kids that I am confident will play hard and play together because of their own standards.”
Webster Groves Statesmen
- Head Coach – Bryan Gibson
- Record at school – 262-220 in 18 years
- Conference – Suburban Red
- 2021 record – 16-21
- Starters Returning: Ava Fitzgibbon, Emery McReynolds, Bailey Allen, Olivia Perry, Faith Lowry
- Returning players: Ava Fitzgibbon is our last holdover from the 2020 championship team. She was the freshman left fielder that was hitting ninth, now she will likely be our shortstop and hit in the second or third slot in our lineup.Faith Lowry will lead the pitching staff. She was all-conference last year, and we are looking for a little more this year. She has good stuff and is working hard to learn how to become a little more of a pitcher.
- Emery McReynolds will pair with Fitzgibbon in the infield. She started all 36 games last year at shortstop as a freshman. She’s a composed, smart ball player and a real leader. She also got a little time with the final four baseball team as a freshman.
- Players to Watch: I’m excited about how a lot of off-season and summer teamwork pay off for Olivia Perry and Claire Boyle. They will both catch and play the outfield. Their maturity and bats have both grown by leaps and bounds.
Season Outlook: “This could be a tough year for us in the win column, but we’ve had a great summer and the kids are excited to get going here in a couple of weeks,” stated Gibson. “There is good energy in this group as we wrap up summer activity. We’ve graduated classes of 11, 12, and 9 kids the last three years that took us to a quarterfinal, a championship, and a tough district loss to eventual champ Washington. This will be the true new generation taking over and re-establishing our program culture and work ethic. Hopefully adding their own twist on what’s been a pretty steady program over the past 12 to 13 years.
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 email@example.com. Follow Jim at @hssportscaravan