EDWARDSVILLE - Edwardsville softball player Sam Sanders, the first baseman for the Tigers, signed a letter of intent to attend Lewis and Clark Community College in Godfrey for the 2022 season during a recent ceremony at the high school.

Sanders, who'll play for head coach Ronda Roberts at LCCC, is excited to have signed to play for the Trailblazers, and was attracted to the school's nursing program, in which she plans on majoring in.

"They have a great nursing program, as well as a great softball team and program," Sanders said in an interview. She'll also bring much to the table for LCCC as well."

Tigers head coach Lori Blade feels that Sanders will bring the same things to the Trailblazers, along with many other intangibles.

"Same type of thing," Blade said. "A good work ethic, a good understanding of the game. Sam wants to go into nursing, so it's a great fit, you know, as far as that for Ronda and her program. But she'll be a solid first baseman for them, and bring good offense as well."

Blade feels that Sanders' biggest strength is on the defensive side, but also knows, like her teammate Lexi Gorniak, who signed with Arkansas Tech, that they're both good all-around players.

"Probably her defense," Blade said. "But her offense, there's a pretty high ceiling there, too. So just all-around, just to have the opportunity, I'm ecstatic for both of them."

Sanders also considered Central Missouri in Warrensburg and Central Methodist University in Fayette, Mo., but decided on the junior college route.

"I didn't really know what I wanted at first, a big school or a small school," Sanders said. "And it all just fit together to go to a two-year school first, then transfer to a four-year."

Sanders was very disappointed that the 2020 softball season was cancelled because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but is looking ahead to the 2021 season, which the IHSA has scheduled for a new summer window.

"Pretty disappointing, but again, I'm hoping we have our senior season this year," Sanders said, "and that it goes as best as it can."

Both Sanders and Gorniak are looking forward to playing their senior seasons, and Blade knows that both will be ready to go.

"They had good summers," Blade said, "so their commitment to the game is not in question in any way. They'll work hard, and hopefully, we'll get to have this last season with them, and we'll go from there."

Blade also feels that the Tigers won't be taking the 2021 season for granted after having lost the previous season because of the pandemic.

"Yeah, you know, sometimes, kids take for granted the opportunities that they get," Blade said, "and when that gets taken away last spring, then they show a new appreciation as far as getting to play the game, and all that, and how things can change. You never know."

After finishing her two years at LCCC, Sanders is looking ahead to transferring to another local school with a great softball program.

"I'm not sure," Sanders said. "I hope to transfer to SIU (Edwardsville). I'm just excited to go to Lewis and Clark."

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