Covering High School Sports in America
Stephanie Canfield of St. Joseph-Ogden (St. Joseph, Ill.) set two career state softball records this year, but her final weekend was somewhat disappointing because the Spartans had to settle for a third-place finish in the Class 2A state tournament on Saturday.

Photo courtesy of Canfield family

Stephanie Canfield, St. Joseph-Ogden

Canfield, a 5-foot-9 senior center fielder, set Illinois records for most career hits (277) and runs (231) during her brilliant four-year career. She will attend the University of Arkansas in the fall.

Veteran coach Randy Wolken had her in his camp as a sixth grader and the next year told a college coach she should begin recruiting her. The coach replied, "We don't recruit seventh graders."

He told MaxPreps, "She was quick, athletic, very skilled and coachable," even as s sixth grader. "She's had an unbelievable career. She can do so many things for us. She was a great leader and role model and we're really going to miss her."

The disappointment came during Friday's state semifinals when the No. 1-ranked Spartans were handed their first loss in 41 games, 5-2, by eventual state champion Nashville (Ill.) as freshman pitcher Maci Ingram struck out 14.

Wolken called the loss "terribly disappointing. There were eight called third strikes and we hadn't had that many (in total) all year. We discipline our girls to not swing at bad pitches."

The Spartans rebounded the next day to defeat Sherrard 5-2 in nine innings to take third place. Elizabeth Everingham pitched a five-hitter to earn her 32nd victory.

Even though he didn't win his second state title, Wolken called this year's team the best he's had during his 33-year career.