Brad Wilson, just weeks into his first preseason as the head coach, got a good look at how his team will shape up for the next two years this past weekend, when he introduced the five members of the latest recruiting class.
The five freshmen, made up of four Jefferson County residents and one western Illinois native, figure to compete for playing time right away with a roster that returns 10 players from the 2014 team.
Among the recruits are the Fox High School duo of outfielder Becca Delarber and infielder Breanna Wilson, Jacqueline Ems of Northwest (House Springs), outfielder Maddie Sundling (homeschooled) and infielder Hannah Biermann (Belleville West). Each of the five freshmen could see time at multiple positions this spring, a point of emphasis during the recruiting phase for Wilson and assistant coach Ken Williams.
“They’re athletic, and they can do a lot of different things,” said Williams, who leads the Archers’ recruiting efforts, and who served in the same capacity under head coach Sharon Marquardt last year. “We look for kids who can play more than one position, and players who are willing to play a couple different places.”
“We were looking for athletic players,” Wilson said. “(Versatility) is huge, not only for us, but for the players as well, as they continue on to four-year schools. If a school is looking for a second baseman and you’ve only played shortstop for two years, that’s going to be a problem for them. We want our players to see time at multiple positions.”
The philosophy of versatility has already taken hold for most of the team’s recruits.
“Wherever they want to put me, just so I’m on the field, I’ll be happy,” said Ems, who projects to see time both behind the plate and in the outfield.
Wherever Ems and the rest of her recruiting class will find themselves on the field, they will find out quickly, as Wilson’s first regular season at the helm approaches.
The Archers will open their regular season March 5 at Shawnee Community College. Their home opener features a doubleheader beginning at noon on March 7 against Waubonsee Community College at the STLCC-Meramec campus.