GLASFORD, Ill. (WMBD/WYZZ) — They are together all the time.
Close friends and teammates. But it wasn’t always that way for Illini Bluffs softball stars Addie Welsh and Emma Hicks.
“Not gonna lie, we kind of hated each other in the beginning,” Welsh. “In elementary school we fought against each other. We got to middle school and drew close. Stayed that way ever since.”
The backbone of the Illini Bluffs softball team, the seniors have been three-sport high school teammates since they entered high school together. And they’re glad the pandemic didn’t cancel their basketball, volleyball or softball seasons this school year.
“It’s definitely a good feeling to earn them back,” Hicks said. “They got taken away from us so fast, we didn’t expect it. With it being out last year, we wanted any season we could get.”
The two play next to each other on the diamond, Hicks at third base and Welsh at shortstop. They bat at the top of the IB lineup with Welsh leading off, Hicks hitting second.
Their relationship goes back to being teammates since “first grade biddy basketball at Hollis Park District,” they said. And they’ve been nearly inseparable since.
But this fall, they’ll go off and play college softball and they’ll be rivals. Hicks is going to Illinois State, Welsh to Bradley.
“It’ll seem weird at first. When we’re on the field I see us making jokes and laughing,” Welsh admitted. “It’s going to be fun. I think it’s pretty cool that we get to play close to home, in front of our coaches and teammates here and represent Illini Bluffs.”
It’s been a subject of conversation since the two were recruited by Missouri Valley Conference rivals.
“It’s something we’ve talked about since elementary school — college softball. We get to live out our dreams. It’s really exciting. We’re trying to make the best of our time as teammates before we’re enemies,” Hicks said with a smile.
Monday they lead Illini Bluffs into the class 1A state softball super-sectionals in Springfield. Now they’re concentrating on being teammates that could bring Illini Bluffs its first state softball title next week.