Vote for Belleville News-Democrat’s High School Softball Player of the Year. Voting closes at 11:59 p.m. on Thursday, June 9. To vote again, tap Refresh.

The BND Softball Player of the Year poll highlights high school college softball players who have had outstanding performances this spring. Nominees include past Athletes of the Week winners this spring and any additional nominations from area coaches and the public.

To be clear, this poll is not scientific. In fact, we invite you to vote as many times as you wish. This is for fun, BND readers. People can also submit the same athlete from week to week.

We expect to release the results later this week after the poll closes.

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Here are the Player of the Year nominees:

  • Emily Allen, Belleville West High School, senior, 2B. Allen had a hit and an RBI in a regional semifinal victory over O’Fallon and an RBI in a loss to Belleville East in the regional championship. Allen finished the season batting .356 with 28 runs scored, 1 homer, and 17 RBI for the Maroons, who reached the regional championship game and finished 21–12.
  • Brylee Anderton, Collinsville High School, senior, SS. Anderton had a hit and an RBI in a regional semifinal win over Alton. Anderton finished the season batting .557 with 12 home runs, 46 RBIs and 35 runs scored for the Kahoks, who won 11 games this spring.
  • Avery Budde, Breese Central High School, senior, P/INF. Budde threw a two-hit shutout and had two hits in a regional win over Roxana. She then allowed just 2 earned runs in 5 innings in a loss to Catholic High School Mater Dei in the regional championship. Budde went 12-3 on the mound this season with a 1.83 ERA and 166 strikeouts in 103 innings pitched. She also finished the spring batting .474 with 3 home runs, 11 doubles and 31 RBIs for the Cougars, who finished 17-8-1.
  • Audrey Clark, Mater Dei Catholic High School, second year, P. In a regional semifinal win over Wesclin, Clark hit a full 3-batter game while striking out 8 and going 3-for-3 at the plate. Then, in the Regional Championship against Breese Central, Clark pitched a full game while hitting a home run, scoring 4 RBIs, scoring 1 run, and posting 2 hits. She finished the season at 18-3 and a 1.80 ERA while stoking 139 in 129 1/3 innings of work. Clark also hit .415 this spring with 2 home runs and 26 RBIs for the Knights, who went 20-5-1 and reached the Division Semifinals.
  • Sophia Donoho, Highland High School, second year, P. Donoho helped the Lady Bulldogs win the Section Championship by pitching a full 9 innings in a win over Marion. Donoho finished the season at 17-8 with a 3.25 ERA and 180 strikeouts in 163 2/3 innings pitched for the Lady Bulldogs, who reached the super section and finished 22-10.
  • Nicole Edmiaston, Freeburg High School, junior, 1B/P. Edmiaston went 3 for 3 with an RBI in the super section before going 2 for 4 with 2 runs scored and 2 RBI in a state tournament semifinal victory. finished the season batting .611 with 13 home runs, 43 runs scored, 15 doubles, and 72 RBIs. She also pitched 5 games and went 3-0 with a 2.74 ERA for the Midgets, who had a 32-game winning streak, eventually finished second at the state tournament and recorded a record of 33-2.
  • Jordyn Heckert, Okawville High School, junior, 1B. Heckert had two hits, 1 RBI and 2 runs scored in a regional semifinal victory before collecting a hit and an RBI in a regional championship victory. Heckert then had a hit and 2 RBIs in a cup semifinal loss. Overall, she finished the season batting .386 with 2 homers, 29 runs scored, and 25 RBI for the Rockets, who reached the Division Semifinals and finished 16–12.
  • Taylor Hettenhausen of Okawville High School, sophomore, P. Hettenhausen hit a perfect game in the Lady Rockets’ first regional contest while striking out 10 batters in 5 innings. She then helped lead Okwville to a regional championship by allowing just one walk and pitching a full game with 4 strikeouts. Hettenhausen went 10-5 this season with a 3.20 ERA and in 94 innings pitched for the Rockets, who reached the divisional semifinals and finished 16-12.

  • Lizzy Ludwig, Freeburg High School, senior, P/INF. Ludwig posted shutouts in the Division Championship Game, Super Division Round, and state semifinals, allowing just 6 hits while striking out 23 in 21 innings pitched. In the state championship, Ludwig pitched all 10 innings in a 5-4 loss. At home plate in the state semifinal win, Ludwig went 3-for-4 with a home run, 3 RBIs, and a run scored. Overall, Ludwig went 18-2 this spring with a 0.51 ERA and 174 strikeouts in 123 innings this spring. She also hit .450 with 11 home runs and 54 RBIs for the Midgets, who had a 32-game winning streak, eventually finished second at the state tournament and went 33-2.

  • Ryleigh Owens, Edwardsville High School, senior, P/OF. Owens threw a 1-hit shutout in a 1-0 win over Belleville East in the Divisional Semifinals, then threw a 6-hit shutout in a 10-0 win over Bradley-Bourbonnais in the divisional championship. Owens is 18-1 this season with a 0.43 ERA and 150 strikeouts in 129 innings pitched. She also hit .358 with 13 RBIs for the Tigers, who are 31-3 and play in the super-sectional round at 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, June 7.

Four sports, lots of balls and all Provided

This story was originally published June 7, 2022 06:00.