BEECHER CITY – After a monster season in Egyptian-Illini Conference games, Mulberry Grove senior Kate Jolliff took home conference Most Valuable Player honors for the second straight season.
Jolliff hit .500 (8-for-16) as the Lady Aces went 3-1 in EIC games, hitting three home runs, one triple and one double while scoring 10 times, and received MVP honors after leading her team to the championship at last Saturday’s EIC Tournament.
Defensively, she is easily the best catcher in the conference, rarely allowing passed balls and often throwing out base stealers.
“She is a huge asset to the team,” said coach Emily Thomas. “Not only does she hit everything, she also calls all the pitches and does a great job behind the plate.
“It’s going to be hard to replace her.”
Jolliff will continue her career at Kaskaskia College for the next two seasons, and Thomas said she expects Jolliff to have no problems adjusting to the next level.
“I like to watch her play, because she is a very good catcher and hits the heck out of the ball,” said St. Elmo/Brownstown coach Megan Burrus. “If you do your research, you can’t pitch around her, but you have to know what you are doing (to limit her).”
Burrus was the best among EIC teams at limiting Jolliff’s offensive output.
She went 2-for-4, with a double and two runs, against SEB on April 29 in a 9-7 loss, and Jolliff had just one hit in five plate appearances in the EIC Tournament title game, a 9-0 win against SEB.
Her 1-for-4 effort at Ramsey on April 15 was her worst regular season conference game, but she came back to hit a three-run home run and an eighth-inning single in a 10-7 win against Ramsey in the EIC Tournament semifinals.
She was 3-for-5, with two home runs and a triple, against Christ Our Rock Lutheran on April 24, and 2-for-3, with a home run and four runs, against Beecher City on April 8.
Along with that strong play, Jolliff is also a standout teammate, and that is another part of her game that Burrus admires.
“From what I can see, she is pretty good teammate,” Burrus said. “Sometimes, your stud isn’t the best teammate, but I don’t think she thinks that way.”
Other members of the all-conference team included.
•Josie Koontz, first team
•Breann Tompkins, first team
•Kayla Zimmerman, honorable mention
•Morgan Brown, first team
•Danie Austin, first team
•Darby Moss, first team
•Baylee Scholes, HM
•Whitney Moreland, first team
•Megan Kimberlin, first team
•Skye Kimberlin, first team
•Kacie Hilt, first team
•Kirby Herrmann, HM
•Amanda Pierce, HM
Christ Our Rock Lutheran
•Shannan Viernum, first team