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Hastings hits nearly .700

SIUE-bound senior gives struggling Bulldogs boost with big bat

ELMHURST — The Riverside Brookfield softball team has several players in new positions, and coach John Vermillion continues to look for a solution while the Bulldogs have struggled in the season’s first few weeks.

“The girls are giving the effort, it’s just we’re not getting the breaks,” Vermillion said. “I’m moving girls around to try to get the right combination.”

One of the mainstays amid the fluid changes has been senior catcher Emily Hastings. Hastings, signed to Southern Illinois-Edwardsville, leads the Bulldogs in batting average (.688) and RBIs (11) following Saturday’s doubleheader at York.

Hastings is the latest in a line of RB hitters that will play high level college softball. Most recently, 2012 graduates Kiley Rusen and Becky Mantel carried that title. Hastings is simply trying to replace their production.

“I’m trying to because they were a big help to our success so there’s got to be someone to replace them,” Hastings said.

The catcher is also trying to help stabilize the Bulldogs’ defense, which has been their undoing so far. RB entered Tuesday’s game against the defending Class 3A state champion Glenbard South with a 2-10 record.

“It obviously hasn’t been going too well this season, but I think once we tighten up our defense more we’ll be able to finally pull through and win some games,” Hastings said. “Our hitting is coming around so all we’ve got to work on now is defense.”

Hastings started as a shortstop and pitcher in youth softball, but made the switch to backstop when she was 12 years old. She first tried the position because a team she was on needed a catcher and there was no turning back after that.

“The catcher has to run the whole field and I like being really into the game so catching is perfect,” Hastings said. “I really love that position.”

She also loved Edwardsville because of its nursing program and the facilities. Obviously Hastings is excited to start her college career, but she wants the Bulldogs to make one more playoff run first.

“I want us to obviously pick up our game some more and then by the time we get to regionals really bring it,” Hastings said.

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