While it might only be the end of the first semester, the sports season at East Central College is two-thirds complete.
East Central has three athletic teams and two of them completed play in the fall season. Only Brad Wallach’s softball Falcons still have the season to go and they will play this spring.
All three teams are in the process of recruiting for the 2014-15 school year.
Wallach is busy getting his 2015 team put together even though the 2014 team hasn’t even taken the field yet.
ECC plans to sign at least seven players on its “signing day” of Jan. 18 at the school. More details will be released after the athletes actually have signed.
No schools within Region 16 have reported signing any athletes yet, so the Falcons are with the pack when it comes to softball recruiting.
The reason Wallach is forced to work so far in the future is that softball is a fall sport with Missouri high schools, but college softball is in the spring.
MSHSAA softball schools soon will have the chance to play in either spring or fall seasons soon, but for right now, Wallach is still trying to land players who won’t play for a school team for over a year.
With the NJCAA Division II All-American teams being announced, ECC recorded a first this season. Despite qualifying for the national tournament, the Falcons were shut out on selections. It was the first time that the team has qualified for the national event without having an All-American.
Actually, the entire District O and Region 16 was shut out from voting.
The Falcons did have two team distinctions during the season. ECC was second in NJCAA Division II in digs with 3,473 credited this season. However, the Falcons needed all of those digs as they led the nation in hitting errors with 885. Still, ECC managed to finish tied for 13th in NJCAA Division II this season.
Fixing the mistakes will be a priority for Head Coach Lisa Mathes-Peters in 2014. The Falcons lose five sophomores off this season’s team. Moving on will be Haley Zenner, Marisa Patton, Jacy Conway, Amanda Reetz and Megan Manis. Additionally, at least one freshman is not expected to return.
That leaves six current freshmen and three players who already have signed.
The newcomers are Union’s Clare Stowe and Waynesville players Alyssa Arnold and Alexis Olney.
East Central has been the most active Region 16 Division II school. MCC-Longview has inked two players, including Amanda Leimbach, who was a reserve middle/rightside hitter for nationally ranked St. James Academy of Lenexa, Kan.
The most active Region 16 school has been Mineral Area College. The Division I school has signed six, including Borgia senior middle hitter Erin Hillerman, for 2014.
Head Coach Kean Barclay continues to try and build the Falcons back to the point where the team can challenge for the NJCAA Division I Region 16 title.
Barclay already has signed two players, both from the Sporting St. Louis Rangers program. Jake Erwin (Borgia) and Gavyn Prsha (Parkway West) are the first two signings of the campaign.
Barclay has other players in various stages of being recruited as he tries to fill in for the six sophomores who will be moving on in 2014.
Those six are Vadim Cojocov, Steven Smith, Adam Schmitt, David Moore, Andrew Hammerlinck and Reggie Faucher.
The Falcons have the bulk of their roster, 14 players, eligible to return next season.