Providence senior pitcher Amanda Wilson will likely always pay full attention during pregame warm-ups. She learned to do so the hard way before last year’s supersectional game against Geneseo, and not paying attention almost prevented her from helping the Celtics get that historical win.
The Celtics infield warm-ups consist of the infielders throwing twice to first and then to home. Wilson, playing first base at the time, thought they had completed the throws to first. Third baseman Morgan Greenwood thought different and accidentally nailed Wilson in the jaw.
“Amanda wasn’t in danger of missing the game based on my opinion, but once the trainer on site raised concussion concerns I was obviously a bit worried,” Providence coach Jay Biesterfeld said. “I couldn’t really say how close she was to not playing, but I definitely was nervous about it for about 15 minutes.
“I don’t believe we would have won the game without her. She provided a different array of pitches for us that we really needed to keep their hitters off balance.”
Wilson, a lefty pitcher and hitter, toughed it out and relieved then-senior Allie Strick in the third. She gave up one run, hit a run-scoring double in the eighth, and helped the Celtics to a 4-3 win and their first trip Downstate. The Celtics wound up finishing third in Class 3A.
They have even higher expectations this year despite the bump to 4A.
The Celtics (5-0) started the season ranked No. 4, but have quickly moved into the No. 1 spot this week after preseason No. 1 Benet lost and the Celtics beat Wheaton North, Lockport and Andrew in the Providence Invite.
Wilson, now the No. 1 pitcher and No. 3 hitter in the order, is 2-0 in the circle with one save, seven strikeouts and a 0.86 ERA. She is hitting .385 with two doubles and four RBI, and will play for Division I Florida Atlantic next season.
“My favorite softball moment was definitely our supersectional win,” Wilson said. “Reality finally hit us that we were actually going to state. We worked so hard to get where we were and it was such an amazing feeling to finally accomplish our goal to get down there.
“[This year] we motivate each other every day in practice and remind each other of every athlete’s goal, which is to win a state championship.”
Wilson and six of her teammates return from that 29-13 team that finished third in the East Suburban Catholic. She will get help in the circle from freshman pitcher Kendall Judge, who is 3-0, including an impressive win over Andrew in the Providence Invite title game.
Judge appears to be the heir apparent to Wilson, who has been on varsity since her freshman year.
“She loves the game and is the ultimate competitor,” Biesterfeld said of Wilson. “Knowing how to just go out and compete with no fear is not something every player can do. She has done it since her freshman year and never lets us down. I have thoroughly enjoyed having her be part of the program the past four years. It is amazing what she has accomplished already and she still has this season left.
“Our program is where it is today in large part because of Amanda Wilson.”