Prep Softball

Teams of the Decade: QHS softball program on upward trajectory

Quincy's Kiley Espinoza (19) attempts to make a play at first base against Rock Island during the Class 4A Moline Softball Regional Tuesday, May 22, 2018 in Moline. Rock Island beat Quincy, 10-0.
MEG MCLAUGHLIN / mmclaughlin@qco Staff
By Herald-Whig
Posted: May. 24, 2020 12:01 am

The trajectory the Quincy High School softball program is on is exactly what Darrell Henze envisioned when he took over as head coach.

He wanted to see steady progression.

The Blue Devils ended the decade with a 16-16 season -- only the second .500 or better record in the last 10 years. The Blue Devils were 8-25 in Henze's first season and have improved the victory total each season since with four straight years with double-digit victories.

The challenge becomes carrying that rise over into the next decade.

Until then, here is the QHS softball all-decade team for 2010-19, as selected by Senior Sports Writer Matt Schuckman:

Alexis Eickelschulte, First base, Class of 2012

A three-year starter who played on the most successful team of the decade, Eickelschulte played a significant role in getting the Blue Devils the No. 2 seed in the regional her senior season. She raised her batting average 70 points in the final 10 games and finished hitting .310.

Kennedy Fleer, Second base, Class of 2019

Fleer helped the Blue Devils be rock solid up the middle defensively, committing just two errors as a senior to earn all-area honors. She was solid offensively her final two seasons as well, collectively hitting .294 and was third on the team in home runs and RBIs as a junior.

Ashley Havermale, Third base, Class of 2016

Coming off a junior year in which she hit .368 and scored 29 runs, Havermale battled lower back pain throughout her senior season but managed to hit .300 with a team-leading 36 runs scored and 22 RBIs. She drew 25 walks and stole 10 bases, earning All-Western Big Six Conference and all-area honors.

Kiley Espinoza, Shortstop, Class of 2019

A three-year starter and two-time All-Western Big Six Conference honoree, Espinoza was an offensive catalyst who hit .354 as a senior with 35 runs scored and 22 RBIs. She hit .343 or better in all three seasons, including .407 with five triples and 17 stolen bases as a sophomore when she also cemented herself as a defensive stabilizer.

Melissa Bracy, Outfield, Class of 2012

Bracy provided speed defensively as a four-year starter in right field and on the basepaths, earning all-area honors twice. Bracy hit lead-off beginning her freshman year, led the Blue Devils in runs scored three times and hit better than .300 twice.

Laken Frese, Outfield, Class of 2012

A two-time all-area selection and a two-time honorable mention All-Western Big Six Conference selection, Frese was a four-year varsity starter and the anchor defensively in center field. As a junior, she hit .325 with two home runs and 21 RBIs, all team highs. She followed that up by hitting .310 as a senior.

Christine Schlegl, Outfield, Class of 2014

A two-time all-area selection who pitched as a junior but primarily played in the outfield as a senior, Schlegl led the Blue Devils with a .343 average as a junior and hit better than .300 as a senior before moving on to play at Culver-Stockton College.

Roni Wingerter, Catcher, Class of 2018

Wingerter was the toughest out in the Blue Devils' lineup as a senior, hitting .488 overall and .552 against non-conference opponents. She hit five home runs and finished with 16 extra-base hits and 31 RBIs to earn All-Western Big Six Conference honors and a scholarship to play at Quincy University.

Christina Goehl, Utility, Class of 2010

A shoulder injury that required a cortisone shot and therapy during her junior season was replaced with a tenacious effort both in the circle and at the plate her senior year. Goehl threw a no-hitter and a one-hitter the first week of the season and hit better than .300 with only one error defensively.

Mariah Hoke, Pitcher, Class of 2012

As a senior, Hoke led the Blue Devils in most major offensive categories, and she pitched nearly every inning of every game. An honorable mention All-Western Big Six Conference selection, Hoke batted .378 with four home runs and 25 RBIs. She was 18-13 in the circle with a 3.02 ERA and 121 strikeouts.

Abbie Neally, Pitcher, Class of 2020

Signed to play at Central Methodist University, Neally could find herself in the middle of the lineup or in the pitcher's circle. As a junior, she hit .427 with 12 doubles and 19 RBIs, while going 11-9 with one save and 118 strikeouts. As a sophomore, she led the Blue Devils in innings with 113 2/3, going 10-9 with a 4.00 ERA with 81 strikeouts.