Gillespie, Webb, Perdue put up big stats to win softball awards
By DAVID MITCHELL
Looking at the numbers, it is easy to see why McKenna Gillespie, Katie Webb and Dusty Perdue won the major 2015 Ledger-Enquirer spring All-Bi-City softball awards.
In helping her team to an AISA Class AAA state championship, Gillespie, a Glenwood pitcher, won 30 games. She had a 1.35 earned run average and struck out 251 batters.
Webb, a Central third baseman, led her team to the Class 7A state tournament, batting .461 and driving in 68 runs.
They were named pitcher and player of the year, respectively, with Perdue, Glenwood's coach, taking home the top coaching honor for leading his team to a 37-10 record and a state championship.
For Perdue and Gillespie, winning the state championship was understandably the top moment of an impressive season.
Perdue said the fact that he could see a group of five seniors, who won a state championship as eighth-graders, get back and win another in their final year of high school made it all worthwhile.
"It meant everything in the world," he said.
Gillespie certainly wasn't the only player to help the Lady Gators to the title, but her performance in the state tournament put them over the top and earned her a nod as the most valuable player. She pitched 226 2-3 innings this season, walking just 47 batters and allowing opponents to hit just .166.
For Central, Webb and the Lady Red Devils couldn't quite win it all. They advanced to the state tournament but ran into a couple of tough games at the end.
But that wasn't the most important part of the season for the third baseman.
"All my friends, the seniors this year, we've been together since we were 4," she said. "It was mainly just about staying together and all the memories we made
on bus rides. It wasn't really about winning to me. Winning was just a bonus.
"It was about adding one more day to be with some of my best friends."
She said it was disappointing to fall short, but knowing they had finally made it to state again was still a satisfying moment to end the season.
"We know where we belong now," she said.
The early part of the season was a bit of a struggle for Central, but the family nature of the program, which seniors like Webb helped to institute, allowed them to be open and honest about what they needed in the second half of the season.
Webb had a moment on the phone with coach Matt Bell early in the year to discuss how the atmosphere on the field both in practice and in games could be improved.
She told him the players needed to feel good to play well.
The result was a hot finish to the season and a trip to the Class 7A state tournament.