The much celebrated and even historic softball season for Harrisburg continues to get better as Red Stafford had another "first" for the long tenured Harrisburg coach.
On Monday it was announced that Harrisburg put a record-setting six players on the Ohio All Conference in the River-To-River.
Named to the team were two seniors, Madeline Rider and Karsyn Davis, along with juniors Essence Sanders, Mya King and Hannah Reid, as well as, freshman Kerrigan Payne.
Rider, who will be playing collegiately at Western Kentucky University this coming fall, led the 'Dogs with a .524 batting average. Rider also had a team-high 66 hits in the lead off position, including a co-team high 12 home runs, setting a school record. Rider drove in 43 runs and scored a team-high 66 runs.
Davis, will be continuing her softball career this fall nearby at Southeast Missouri State University in Cape Girardeau and finished this past year with a .513 batting average. Davis shared the co-team-high home run honors with Rider as she hit 12 as well, finishing with 61 hits, including 36 single, 12 doubles and drove in a team-high 60 RBI and scored 19 runs.
Sanders was second on the team in batting average, hitting .523 and had 58 hits, including a team-high 40 singles, nine doubles, two triples, seven home runs and scored 55 runs, while driving in 46 runs.
King closed out her junior year with a .426 average and had 46 hits, including 34 singles, eight doubles, two triples and two home runs. King drove in 40 runs and scored 39.
Reid hit .303 with 30 hits. She had 20 singles, nine doubles and one home run, while scoring 33 runs and finishing with 17 RBI.
Payne hit .392 and had 40 hits, including 21 singles, 12 doubles and seven home runs, while driving in 39 runs and scoring 22 runs.
Payne was also Harrisburg's No. 1 pitcher this season as she went 21-6 in the circle for a Harrisburg ball club that finished 31-7 and won a regional, before being ousted by Pinckneyville in the Sectional Championship. She finished with a 2.24 ERA and struck out 126, while walking just 47. Payne gave up 189 hits, while allowing 91 runs (56 earned).
The six were also the top defensive players for Harrisburg.
"We were disappointed in the way the season ended, but we had a lot to look back on and be happy about," Stafford said. "Every ballgame, we though we could win and we could compete who we were playing against. This group was fun to around, they worked hard and it was just one of those groups that is fun to be around."
Stafford said that six All-Conference players was a first, and while he returns four, admits the future looks bright for the softball program.
"We have a good nucleus returning and although our seniors -- who all had unbelievable years -- Karsyn and Madeline's offensive numbers were off the charts and Mackenzie Marshall is one of the best defensive outfielders in the south, all three are going to be hard to replace, but we have a good group coming back and hopefully will be able to compete."
Murphysboro put five on the Ohio All-Conference, which included Gabrielle Brown, Shelby Cook, Malorie Gill, Karlye Happold and Shelby Harrison.
Massac County was next with four, which included Macy Pierce, Emma Austin, Bailey Duckworth and Cali McCraw.
Herrin had three players, Tori Schullian, Raegan Gosha and Taylor Cornelius, while West Frankfort and Benton each had two. Representing the Redbirds were Maddy Britton and Jenna Herron and for the Rangerettes, Addisyn Miller and Lacey Jerkins.
Spyder Dann covers prep and college sports for the Southern Illinois Local Media News Group. Follow him on Twitter: @spydieshooter