SEMO softball seeks to sustain success

Southeast Missouri State softball coach Mark Redburn

Getting to the top of the mountain in Ohio Valley Conference play was a challenging trip for the Southeast Missouri State softball program. To ensure that the Redhawks have an opportunity to remain at – or at least within sight of – the top of the league, sixth-year coach Mark Redburn has to continually reload his roster with talent.

The Southeast program did just that this week, as Redburn signed eight high school seniors and a junior college athlete, each of whom will take the field in the spring of 2021.

"I'm tremendously excited about the class of 2021,” Redburn said in a release. “All of these players had great success at both the high school and summer ball levels.”

In his first three seasons of leading the Redhawks, Redburn endured losing seasons, but his team began to make strides in year three.

Following a 16-win campaign in 2016, Southeast won 23 games in 2017. However, the program broke through the malaise in 2018.

The Redhawks finished 33-20 overall that spring and had the first winning mark in league play (15-7) during Redburn’s tenure.

“'Expect to win' is our mindset here at Southeast Missouri,” Redburn said. “All of these players display those traits and I believe a lot of wins are in our future with this group."

Last spring, Southeast soared to 46 wins (including a 17-5 OVC record) to win the league’s regular season, the postseason tournament, and advance to the NCAA Regional, in which it won one of its three games.

That success paid dividends in signing this many players, as well as this level of talent.

"This is a large class,” Redburn said, “and I expect several of them to have the opportunity to come in and contribute immediately.”

Redburn signed a pair of outfielders, three athletes that both pitch and play infield at the high school level, as well as four infielders.

The Redhawks will graduate this May a pair of outfielders, a pitcher, three infielders, an infielder/outfielder, as well as a catcher (eight players total).

“That early (playing) experience will benefit them and add to their development as leaders with great examples for all of our players to follow,” Redburn said. “We want players that have talent, passion and a desire to compete so that they can be the best possible players they can become.”

Here are the nine student-athletes that comprise the 2020 recruiting class:

• Jillian Anderson (outfield, Rochester Ill.)

• Katie Dreiling (pitcher/infielder, Jonesboro, Ark.)

• Kileigh Grisham (infield, Eureka, Mo.)

• Mandy Hansen (pitcher/infielder, Wentzville, Mo.)

• Abigail Rickermann, (infield, Festus, Mo.)

• Kelby Robinson, (outfield, Wentzville, Mo.)

• Kaylee Payne (infield/pitcher, Oran, Mo.)

• Alyson Tucker (shortstop, Farmington, Mo.)

• Kynzie Wrigley (infield, Mt. Zion, Ill.)

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