Your Prep Sports
Earlier this week Your Prep Sports offered a list of nine area players to watch this season.
Many of the players on that list were all-conference or all-state picks that were already widely known to softball fans from around the state well before practices resumed this season on June 1.
Today Your Prep Sports is taking a look at nine players that should become much more talked about shortly after games begin on June 15.
Many of these players have already experienced plenty of success but are poised to take their game to the next level.
Before the season gets rolling on Monday we take a look at nine Your Prep Sports area players ready for breakthrough seasons.
Junior, Liberty High
As a two-year starter with a sub 2.30 career ERA the case can be made that Maiers has already enjoyed breakthrough seasons each of the past two seasons.
The thing about the junior right-hander is the more Maiers pitches the better she seems to get.
A Kirkwood commit, Maiers was 13-7 with a 2.31 ERA last season but closed the season by allowing just one earned run and fanning 16 over 18 innings in three postseason starts.
Senior, City High
After getting back on track last season following a production dip as a sophomore Bormann is set up to finish her prep career with a bang this summer.
Bormann hit a career-best .367 as a freshman before dipping to .248 the following season but had a huge bounce back campaign as a junior hitting .346 with 25 RBI and 11 stolen bases.
A veteran in an experienced Little Hawk lineup Bormann has pop with eight home runs the past three seasons and has stolen double digit bases all three of those years.
Heick started showing signs of what she could do late last season and if the Solon junior continues on that trend this summer a huge breakthrough is inevitable.
In just 64 at bats last season Heick hit .359 and showed impressive pop posting a .766 slugging percentage.
Of her 23 hits last season 13 went for extra-bases including three triples and five home runs and Heick drove in 21 runs.
Do the math on that production with a full season featuring 100+ at bats.
Kessler made a solid debut as an eighth-grader last season but should take her game to the next level this summer in a more prominent role in the Regal lineup.
In her first season of varsity action Kessler hit .267 with two doubles, two triples and ranked second on the team with 16 RBI.
Freshman, West High
Nelson showed she more than belonged at the varsity level last season ranking second on the team with a .356 batting average.
In her debut season Nelson scored 18 runs and had 13 RBI as a full-time starter with two of her 32 hits going for extra bases.
With a year of experience under her belt expect all of those numbers to climb for Nelson this summer.
Senior, West Branch
Over the past three season Luneckas has shown the potential to dominant a game.
In her final prep season the St. Louis University recruit will look to put it all together.
A four-year varsity starter, Luneckas has led the Bears in innings pitched each of the past three seasons while posting a career 4.39 ERA.
The 6-foot-1 Luneckas has more than 500 career strikeouts after fanning 211 in a career-high 149 2/3 innings last season.
Gabrielle and Grace Bedford
Juniors, Clear Creek Amana
The Bedford duo showed plenty of promise last season combing for 21 extra-base hits and 30 RBI.
This year the two will look to boost those numbers as Clear Creek Amana seeks its own team breakthrough under first-year co-head coaches Jodie Scheetz and Ken Thimmesch.
Gabrielle was an honorable all-WAMAC West Division pick a year ago when she hit .298 and showed some pop with 12 doubles, three home runs and 21 RBI.
Grace ranked third on the team with a .351 batting average and scored 11 runs.
Senior, West High
Burbidge had more than solid numbers last season ranking in the top three on the team in batting average (.341), runs (21), RBI (16) and walks (23).
The senior leader hopes to see those numbers rise this season but where Burbidge really hopes to breakthrough is in the pitching circle.
Burbidge went 7-8 with a 6.42 ERA in 84 innings last season but will step into the role as the Trojans number one pitcher this season and looks to improve on those numbers.
As a sophomore Buffington is young in terms of grade but with more than 200 career at bats has the experience of a veteran.
A career .330 hitter Buffington has batted over .300 in each of her two varsity seasons but will look to improve on the 16 career extra-base hits and 33 RBI she has accumulate.
Buffington hit .317 with nine doubles and 14 RBI last season.