The Perryville softball team continues to rake in the postseason honors as two players were named to the Class 3 All-State team. Senior centerfielder Ann-Marie Simpson was named to the first team, while senior shortstop Brittanie Stewart was named to the second team.
Perryville softball coach Dustin Wengert believes part of that has to do with the defensive ability of both players.
“I’m old school in believing that a great defensive middle of the field can take your team a long way,” Wengert said. “So when you have Ann-Marie in center and Brittanie at shortstop, along with Kyla Laurentius at second, we can be pretty good and I think we showed that. We can defend with just about anybody.”
Simpson and Stewart weren’t bad at the plate either, as Simpson led the Pirates with a .474 average and 37 runs scored this season from the lead-off spot in the lineup. She also added eight triples and 12 RBI.
“Ann-Marie was the one who set the tone for our offense all year,” Wengert said.
Stewart hit .438 with one home run, 16 RBI, and 15 runs scored.
Brittanie is a special player.” Wengert said. “Every year I want to hit her down in the lineup because that’s where I think she would fit best. But she always hits from the fifth spot with 20-plus RBI and has a great year.”
Wengert said it’s always exciting to be able to tell his players when they receive postseason honors.
“When you get to tell your players that they are all-state players, or whatever honors they earn, you can hear the excitement in their voice,” Wengert said.
This is the second straight season that Simpson has garnered all-state honors, after earning a spot on the Class 3 second team in 2019. Wengert believes that type of individual success helps the Perryville softball program gain some notoriety around the state.
“It’s paves the way for kids in the future so that players like Katie Roberts, Katie Burns, and Alyson Stortz maybe get that recognition later,” Wengert said. “It’s about other coaches bringing their names up in conversations. But the fact that we have had players in the past get recognized as all-state makes coaches look twice at Perryville.”
The Pirates finished 18-6 this past season and won their district for the second time in the last three seasons.