Trio of Red Devils Receive First Team All-SLIAC Softball Honors

Photos by Eureka College Athletics.
Photos by Eureka College Athletics.

FULTON, Mo. – Eureka's Raelyn Payne (Lexington, Ill./Lexington), Morgan Ledbetter (Hanna City, Ill./Elmwood) and Jordan Heinz (Washington, Ill./Washington) have been named to the All-St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Softball First Team.

The trio of Eureka players was announced as All-SLIAC first teamers at the SLIAC Tournament in Fulton, Missouri, on Friday afternoon. Payne and Ledbetter are now two-time All-SLIAC selections, while Heinz is a first-time All-SLIAC honoree. Ledbetter was a First Team honoree in 2019 and Payne was a Second Team selection.

FULL 2021 ALL-SLIAC TEAMS

Payne, a junior shortstop and the leadoff hitter for the Red Devils, led the SLIAC this spring with a .493 batting average, a .557 on-base percentage and an .800 slugging percentage. She led the maroon and gold at the plate with 37 hits (sixth in the league), 27 runs, 12 RBI, 11 doubles (tied for a league high) and four home runs in 24 games and 75 at-bats. She also tied for a career-high 11 walks and made a career-high five steals.

With power at the plate and speed on the base paths, Payne had five three-hit games this spring and contributed three leadoff home runs, including in an 8-2 road win over Spalding and in a 9-7 home victory over Blackburn. She also recorded a pair of doubles at Rose-Hulman in Eureka's season-opening doubleheader. At shortstop, Payne recorded a career-best .904 fielding percentage with 97 assists and 35 putouts while helping turn three double plays.

Ledbetter, a senior first baseman and slugger, had another powerful season at the plate for the Red Devils. She batted .418 with a .506 on-base percentage and a .657 slugging percentage in 24 games and 67 at-bats. Her 27 runs batted in were tied for second in the league and her .418 batting average and .657 slugging percentage both ranked fifth in the SLIAC. She tied for sixth in the SLIAC in home runs (along with Payne), with four on the season and had four doubles. She also walked a career-high 14 times (third in the SLIAC) and scored 11 runs.

She went 4-for-4 with a double and two RBI in a 3-2 win over Webster, went 3-for-3 with a three-run homer at Spalding and tallied seven multi-hit games. She knocked a two-run bomb that made the difference in an 8-6 home win over Iowa Wesleyan and also went yard with a two-run blast at Westminster. At first base, Ledbetter only made three errors on the season, notching 188 putouts and five assists in 196 chances for a .985 fielding percentage. She also helped complete four double plays.

Ledbetter finishes her career as the Red Devils' all-time home run leader with 22 longballs over the past three years. She is second in program history in batting average at .471 and seventh in RBI with 93.

In her second year and first full season at Eureka, Heinz made a name for herself as a tough out in the No. 2 spot in the batting order and an outstanding center fielder for the Red Devils.

A slapper, the senior from Washington batted .391 with an on-base percentage of .481 and a slugging percentage of .420. She was third in the league in on-base percentage behind Payne and Ledbetter, and was ninth in the league in batting average.

Heinz notched 27 hits, scored 21 runs, drew 11 walks, drove in five RBI and had two doubles in 69 at-bats and 24 games. She also tied for a team-high with five sacrifice hits on the season. In center field, Heinz was flawless, recording a 1.000 fielding percentage with 38 putouts and three assists in 41 chances. Known for covering a lot of ground to make the play, she had several memorable catches, including a forward diving catch in the Red Devils' 9-7 regular-season finale win over Blackburn.

Junior pitcher Sidney Wightman (Waterloo, Ill./Gibault Catholic) was Eureka's representative on the SLIAC All-Sportsmanship Team.