East Central College softball is always looking to the future.
While the 2019 season won’t start until another couple of weeks, the team already has secured much of its 2020 team.
Head Coach Brad Wallach has announced a nine-player signing class. These players are members of the Class of 2019. They played high school softball in the 2018 fall season. College softball runs in the spring, hence the gap between high school and college.
The 2018 class includes four players from Franklin, Gasconade and Crawford counties.
• Dani Kimminau of St. Francis Borgia Regional;
• Jena Monehan of Washington;
• Kaylee Abney of Owensville;
• Kristyn England of Cuba;
• Kaili Edler of Northwest;
• Jordan Owens of Northwest;
• Alyssa Tidwell of Kelly;
• Sierra Voiles of Crocker; and
• Leslee Weddle of Lebanon.
Eight of the players signed their letters of intent at a ceremony at East Central College. The ninth, Tidwell, signed after that event.
“I’m extremely pleased with this class,” Wallach said. “We always look for pitchers, catchers, middle infielders and versatile athletes with speed. We got all of that, along with some exceptional outfielders. When we combine these 2019s with our current freshmen class, it will get very competitive for playing time.”
“Dani is a strong athlete who has primarily played third base, but has the ability to play other positions, as well,” Wallach said. “She hits the ball hard and has a blue-collar attitude.”
A third baseman on Borgia’s two district championship teams, Kimminau can play infield or outfield.
She hit .350 with seven doubles, three triples and three home runs during the 2018 season. She scored 20 times and drove in 25 while also stealing five bases.
She was named to the Class 3 District 9 team as well as making the Archdiocesan Athletic Association second team and Missourian All-Area third team.
Kimminau also plays basketball for the Lady Knights.
Kimminau plays for the St. Louis Fusion in the summer.
She hopes to major in education in college.
“Jena plays a good third base and has speed,” said Wallach. “Her athleticism gives us a lot of flexibility on defense and offensively, she’s a combination of speed and power.”
Monehan broke Washington’s career home runs mark in 2018 with 18 for her career. She belted six in both 2017 and 2018 to tie for the program’s single-season mark.
A third baseman who also can play center field, Monehan was named to the all-district first team in both 2017 and 2018. She was on the second team in the Gateway Athletic Association Central Division both years as well.
Monehan also was voted to the Missourian All-Area second team.
She hit .341 with seven doubles, three triples and six home runs in 2018. She scored 22 times, drove in 26 and added four stolen bases.
Monehan also plays for Washington’s girls soccer team and was on the squad which finished third in the state tournament in 2017.
She plays in the summer for the Louisville Sluggers for Joe Swiderski, a former ECC baseball coach.
Monehan intends to major in nursing or physical therapy.
Kaylee Abney follows in the footsteps of her older sister, Alayna, who played for the Falcons in 2017 and 2018.
Abney is another player who can play almost anywhere, listing shortstop, second base, third base, center field and left field as her preferred spots.
“Kaylee played shortstop in high school but is capable of playing second, third or outfield,” Wallach said. “She also has experience pitching if needed. That’s always a good insurance policy.”
With the Dutchgirls, she hit .433 with four doubles, one triple, 17 runs, 11 RBIs and 12 stolen bases.
She was named to the Four Rivers Conference second team as a junior and senior and made the Missourian All-Area team during her junior and senior seasons. She made the All-FRC academic team all four years of high school and the academic all-state team for three seasons.
Additionally, she received the Owensville Coaches Award as a sophomore.
Abney hopes to major in agriculture business and management.
She plays in the summer for Rockers Fastpitch.
England comes to the Falcons from the Cuba Lady Wildcats, where she hit .436 with 11 doubles, four triples, 26 runs, 32 RBIs and six stolen bases.
An outfielder, she was named to her all-conference team for four years, the all-district team for three years, the all-region team for three years and the all-state team for three years.
England hopes to major in elementary education in college.
She plays in the summer for a Cuba team.
“Kristyn was named second-team all-state the last three years in a row, which usually doesn’t happen to an outfielder unless your team goes deep into the playoffs,” Wallach said. “That tells you she’s earned respect from opposing coaches. She can cover a lot of ground and has a very strong arm.”
Edler, a catcher, is one of two Northwest players headed to the Falcons for 2020.
Edler batted .419 with six doubles, one triple and three home runs. She scored 23 times and drove in 31.
Edler was named to the all-conference first team for two years and the all-district team for three seasons.
She hopes to major in nursing.
During the summer, Edler fills in for teams.
“Kaili does a nice job behind the plate,” Wallach said. “She also hits with power and only struck out twice last fall in 92 plate appearances, which explains why she led her team with 31 RBIs.”
The other Northwest player, Owens, played center field for the Lady Lions.
“Jordan is a very smart outfielder with good speed,” Wallach said. “Offensively, she gets the ball in play and makes things happen. Last fall, she only struck out once in 98 plate appearances. She makes the defense have to play.”
During her senior season, Owens batted .407 with three doubles, 21 runs, 14 RBIs and 16 stolen bases.
She made the all-district and all-conference first teams. As a junior, she was the defensive player of the year. She made the all-conference second team as a sophomore.
Owens is undecided in her major.
She plays in the summer for the Louisville Sluggers.
A left-handed pitcher, Tidwell is a recruit Wallach is looking forward to seeing pitch in college.
She threw a three-hit shutout against West County in the district championship game.
“Alyssa is a lefty who has done almost all of the pitching the last several years for a very strong small school, Kelly,” Wallach said. “They always go deep in the playoffs and as a junior, she pitched them to the final four.”
Tidwell also played soccer for Kelly.
Wallach doubled down on left-handed pitchers with Voiles.
“Sierra is another left-handed pitcher who has playoff experience in high school,” Wallach said. “She mixes things up, has good movement, and gets hitters to chase pitches.”
Voiles comes from Crocker High School where she made the all-conference, all-district and all-region first teams as a senior. She also made the academic all-state team.
In 2017, she was first team all-conference and all-district. She made the second team for all-region.
During her sophomore season, Voiles made the all-conference and all-district first teams. She was on the all-region second team and all-state academic team.
In her freshman season, Voiles was on her all-conference and all-district honorable mention lists.
A Lebanon High School graduate, Weddle follows in the footsteps of other former Lady Yellowjackets such as Brooke Brenton (2012 NATYCAA female scholar athlete of the year and NJCAA Pinnacle Award winner).
“Leslee is a jack-of-all-trades,” Wallach said. “Her recruiting video shows her playing shortstop, second base, outfield, and catching (and doing them well). She’s also a good baserunner and makes things happen offensively.”