High school softball is mainly a spring sport in Illinois, but in Missouri, players are wrapping up their seasons this Friday and Saturday with the championship games in classes one through five of the Missouri State High School Activities Association.
And if you’re looking for someone to root for, we suggest you look no further than Webster Grove in the Class 4 championship game. The 15-2 Statesmen will be taking on 27-5 Webb City in the title match on Oct. 30, at 10 a.m., in Springfield, MO, with senior Maddie Buske taking the mound for Webster Grove.
If the Buske name sounds familiar, it should. The young hurler has family connections to Montgomery County from both her parents, Matt and Jana Buske. Jana’s parents are Larry and Marilyn Hartke, the latter of whom served as the Litchfield City Clerk for 22 years. Matt’s parents, Tricie McWilliams Buske of Clayton, MO and Bill Buske of Virden, also have strong connections to the Litchfield history.
From the article an article written by Steve Overbey for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Buske is an easy one to root for. At 5’4”, she makes up for any lack of an imposing stature by dedicating her self to her craft, working for years with All-Star Performance instructor Ashley Eftink and her dad, who has been her catcher for hour-long pitching sessions, with the bruises to show for it.
The work she put in made Buske one of the best in the area as she went 11-1 this season with an ERA of 1.39.
For her career, Buske has struck out 279 batters in just 162 innings, racking up 40 wins in four seasons. As Buske has gone, so have gone the Statesmen, who made the quarterfinals last year with a 21-9 mark. Prior to that, Webster Groves was 56-58 in their previous five years.
Her success on the mound and the success of the Statesmen has earned her a scholarship to play softball for Aurora University next year, but those who have watched her the most say that she has the talent to go even beyond that.
“We’d be watching her pitch on ESPN,” Webster Groves Coach Bryan Gibson told Overbey, if Buske was a little bigger and stronger.
Still, the DIII school seems to be a good fit for Buske and she has proven to have the dedication to succeed regardless of the circumstances. And she’ll know that she will have a fan section stretching all the way from Webster Groves to Aurora, with a big group centered in Montgomery County, supporting her all the way.
To read the St. Louis Post-Dispatch article, go to https://tinyurl.com/maddiebuskestory.