By Lenny Sementi
Long after the stinging regional softball loss to Maroa Forsyth, Tuscola’s Lady Warriors are still hauling in some hardware. The two main culprits, First Team All-Okaw Valley selections Erin Walker and Anna Watson, are the two doing most of the damage.
Walker extended her high school career a few more weeks, taking a Sunday off from her summer team on June 15 to play in the Super 60 game in Peoria. It hosts the top 60 seniors in the state, dividing them up into four teams for a two-game tournament. She is the third consecutive representative from Tuscola to be part of the All Star weekend.
Her white squad won the first game against the blue team, in which she pitched four frames against some of the best hitters in the state, giving up three runs on four hits and no walks. She fanned four in the outing while also donating on the offensive side with a 1-for-2 effort at the plate that included an RBI single, and a walk. The Warrior standout entered in relief in the second contest, giving up four runs, but once more added to the squad’s offensive numbers, reaching base three times delivering two walks and a hit.
“I had a great time,” stated Walker after the experience. “It was fun to play with that many good players.”
The now Tuscola alum wrapped up a high school career, garnering All State honors for the fourth straight year. Walker has been part of the Illinois Coaches Association since her freshman year, earning third team honors this season thanks to a 22-4 record on the mound for the Lady Warriors. She fanned over 200 batters on the year while walking just 24 total, posting a .965 ERA–one of the state’s lowest. ?All this added up to a First Team All Area nod as well in the Champaign News Gazette.
The future Kankakee College player was a First Team selection for the second time in the last three years. She was top dog for pitchers in the K column, second in wins and third in ERA, setting school records in total wins with 76 and strikeouts with 651 in her career.
Joining her on both the All State squad and the First Team All Area roster was sophomore sensation Anna Watson. The second-year player hit the ground running, literally, swiping a whopping 88 stolen bases in 32 games. It was just four bags short of a state record, but good enough for second place on the state’s all-time single-season steals list.
She also led the way in the Champaign area with a .661 batting average, scoring 52 runs on the season. She has continued her decimation of opposing defenses this summer on her Premier Fastpitch squad that travels the country. The overall speed has turned more than a few college coaches as the summer marches on, one of which was the University of Kentucky out of the vaunted SEC.
Also making the rounds with Watson this summer is Amber Tabeling. The soon-to-be senior is also getting noticed by college coaches, and has a tripped planned to Florida once the summer season ends for a few official visits as the recruiting process begins. She was selected by the team as a captain of her and Watson’s Orange Premier squad that has earned a spot in the nations 16U tournament–the American Softball Association’s Gold Division–boasting the top 48 teams in the nation.
Junior-to-be Karli Allen is also making the rounds this summer, playing for the Central Illinois Diamonds. She landed on the News-Gazette’s Second Team, thanks to a team-best 46 RBI and eight home runs. Also getting recognition were two juniors, Peyton Shelmadine and Morgan Little, listed as Honorable Mention All Area players.