By Tyler Melvin
The Falcons softball team played their first home game of the season on March 3, 2022, against Lewis & Clark Community College. Left-handed starting pitcher Morgan Green set the tone early by striking out the first two batters she faced, showing impressive backdoor movement on her breaking pitches. Nonetheless, Lewis & Clark hitters made some key adjustments and wound up scoring several runs before Taylor Hanger took over in the 4th inning.
Perhaps the play of the day, Nicole Truitt recorded a spectacular outfield assist in the top of the 2nd inning to keep the contest close. With the runner at third tagging up on a deep pop fly to center, Truitt threw a laser beam on a one hop to complete the double play and end the inning. Falcons fans and players alike burst into cheers. Later in the 6th, Truitt impressed once more by driving in the Falcon’s lone RBI with an opposite field single. Post-game, Nicole revealed her intention was to “drive the ball into Right field” as the opposition was “pitching [her] outside.” In the Falcons’ first showing at ECC, Nicole proved why she was named female athlete of the year in high school. Her athleticism is put on display up the middle of the field and she profiles well at the top of the order as a high on base percentage bat.
This year’s squad is led by a couple versatile sophomores in Ashleigh Damazyn (Crystal City) and Addie Konkel (Salem). Their experience in the NJCAA circuit is an essential element to the Falcon’s success and teammates frequently turn to the pair for advice. The two lead by example with a willingness to do whatever the situation calls for. Damazyn’s super utility role is complemented by her consistency and discipline at the plate. She also shows a significant amount of power in her swing, providing a surge towards the middle of the ECC lineup.
Splitting her time between pitching and second base, Addie Konkel is another calming presence on the Falcons’ roster. In her sophomore season she looks to get more playing time in the field, but the team knows they can rely on her for quality innings when needed. Addie was an Academic All-Region and All-Conference athlete in 2021, helping to continue the East Central tradition of excellence in the classroom and on the field.
This season, the Falcons softball program will face their usual rivals in St. Louis and St. Charles Community College along with a healthy mix of Division 1 opponents to prepare them for a run in the regional tournament. Coach Brad Wallach has high expectations for his players every year, 2022 being no exception. He recognizes the importance of recruiting top-end talent to stand a chance in the highly competitive Missouri Community College Athletic Conference. A large majority of the freshman team-members are coming off 1st team all-district performances in their senior years. In addition, Emma Weston, Mya Hillermann, and Morgan Green were honored as All-State athletes out of high school.
The Falcons softball team is primed for a great season. Players expressed their goal of winning and playing for each other, outlining an undeniable chemistry within the group. They crowd the home dugout’s top step to cheer one another on and communicate constantly while playing defense to ensure everyone is on the same page. East Central Softball has a very high ceiling with this level of talent and leadership present. The fans are sure to be entertained by the team’s fast-paced style of play and contact-driven approach at the plate. After all, school support and recognition from the local community is well-deserved for the work they’ve put in beginning as early as last fall.