Downers Grove South
The Mustangs needed a leadoff hitter after Marissa Mersch graduated, and this sophomore more than filled the bill. Andree hit .508 with 10 doubles, 32 runs scored and 16 RBI. She hit safely in 32 of 34 games played and was clutch, batting .600 with runners in scoring position. "To say that she helped us was an understatement," Mustangs coach Ron Havelka said.
The big bat in the Lions' lineup last four years, Buchelt's 10 homers as a senior broke the school record. A third baseman who will play at Valparaiso, she hit .442 with 9 doubles, 46 RBI and scored 29 runs. In four years Buchelt helped lead Lisle to 108 wins, four sectional titles and a state tournament appearance. "She's known for her hitting," Lisle coach Jen Pomatto said, "but she's also a good fielder."
A true competitor, Chitkowski has started for three state semifinalist teams. The Syracuse recruit hit a game-winning homer against Richards, a key three-run triple in the sectional final and homered in the supersectional. On the year she is hitting .468 with 15 doubles, 6 homers and 49 RBI and is 16-2 with a 1.73 ERA and 106 strikeouts. "She's a dream to coach," Raiders coach Julie Fonda said.
Swinging a powerful bat, the Indiana recruit rewrote the Knights record book. Conenna set IC career marks for highest batting average and most doubles, triples, homers, RBI and hits. This year Conenna hit .509 with 19 doubles, 5 homers, 44 RBI and 43 runs scored for the 27-8 Knights, who set the program win record. "When we needed her to come through, she always seemed to come through," IC coach Frank Reaber said.
The senior center fielder came into her own the last two years. Tall, fast and aggressive on the bases, Davey is hitting .458 with 10 doubles and 4 homers, has scored 53 runs with 30 RBI and stolen 25 bases. Davey, who will play at Trine University, possesses a strong throwing arm and communicates well in the field. "She soaks everything in," Raiders coach Julie Fonda said.
Duffy was one of the team captains, but as Benet coach Jerry Schilf put "she is the captain." The senior catcher committed to Bradley called all the pitches and took sophomore pitcher Molly Moran under her wing. Duffy also enjoyed her best year at the plate, hitting .460 with 8 homers, 13 doubles and 52 RBI. "She led the team," Schilf said, "and the kids followed her."
Cleared to pitch the season's second week, Early played through lower back pain. You'd never know it. Stepping back in as Lisle's ace, Early went 22-3 with a 1.21 ERA and 228 strikeouts. A versatile talent who also played center field, she hit .479 with 10 doubles and 34 RBI. She will play at Judson. "What she did on the mound this year is unbelievable," Lisle coach Jen Pomatto said.
The 2012 Daily Herald DuPage County All-Area softball captain, Fecho elevated her game to carry Panthers to the DVC title and the sectional final. The Purdue recruit went 27-3 with a 0.88 ERA and 254 strikeouts, throwing four no-hitters. She also was 34-3 Glenbard North's most dangerous bat, hitting .393 with 8 homers and 33 RBI. "A lot of times Lilly flat-out won games by herself," Panthers coach Josh Sanew said.
Perhaps a hidden gem on a growing Warriors program, people who watch Gagliano recognize her dynamic abilities. The sophomore shortstop committed to Radford combines blinding speed with a great bat and glove. Gagliano hit .535 with 7 doubles, 2 homers, 42 runs scored and 25 RBI, and an area-best 39 steals. "She's a fantastic player, but she's also very humble," Wheaton Academy coach Laura Frost said.
Some players hit, ran or played defense better, but nobody brought the whole package more than this senior shortstop. Gonzalez hit .426 with 6 doubles, 27 runs scored and 28 RBI. Committed to Southern Illinois, she has as sure-handed a glove as it gets and near flawless baserunning instincts. "She's the best shortstop we've had in my 29 years as coach," Redhawks coach Andy Nussbaum said.
Downers Grove North
The hard-throwing junior pitcher returned from a back injury this spring better than ever. Heflin, committed to UIC, went 16-5 with an area-best 0.36 ERA and struck out 244 batters while allowing just 45 hits in 138 innings. Heflin combined with Dale Ryndak on four no-hitters. "She was all that and more," Trojans coach Mark Magro said.
If there's a better hitter in the state, good luck finding her. The junior lefty leadoff hitter led a stacked offense that scored 10 runs a game. McGuire, committed to Georgia, hit .528 with 24 doubles, tied a DuPage County record with 16 homers, scored 69 and drove in 48. The East Suburban Catholic Conference Player of the Year twice homered in both ends of a doubleheader. "She's a game-changer," Benet coach Jerry Schilf said.
The well-rounded junior was willing to give herself up in any way, and her presence buoyed Warriors. Minahan hit a walk-off homer to beat Bartlett, a key win in Waubonsie's run to first conference title since 2001. Minahan hit .403 with 9 homers, 11 doubles and 51 RBI. The rocket-armed shortstop is committed to South Alabama. "Her teammates believe in her," Waubonsie coach Aly Kelley said.
The young Wildcats leaned heavily on this multitalented sophomore, and she responded. She shined brightly in the biggest games, beating Benet 1-0 in regional final and singling in the game-winner at Bartlett. The speedy O'Brien hit .427 with area-best 11 triples, 30 RBI and 37 runs scored and went 13-11 with 123 strikeouts. No pitcher fields the position better. "She grew a lot as a pitcher and as a player," Neuqua coach Melissa Wilson said.
The sophomore shortstop showed dramatic improvement in a short time -- evidenced by her batting average jumping more than 250 points from freshman year. A clutch hitter in Benet's 2011 state run, Panko carried over by batting an area-best .587 with 15 doubles, 50 runs scored and 35 RBI with 15 steals. She hit nearly .700 in conference games. "She is an unbelievable talent that is going to get better and better," Benet coach Jerry Schilf said.
Spartans coach Ralph Remus calls this senior third baseman "as fine a hitter as I've ever had here." No opponent is arguing. Pasquale, committed to Loyola, capped off a stellar career by hitting .571 with 19 doubles, 4 triples, 36 RBI and 48 runs scored. Pasquale boasts a career batting average over .500. "The kid just loves to play the game," Remus said.
Also a starter on Metea's basketball team, this junior was one of the area's elite shorstops. Petersen hit .495 with 9 homers, 11 doubles and 34 RBI and scored 31 runs, all team-highs among Metea starters. Scoring a 34 on her ACT, Petersen is committed to Northwestern for softball. "She has a demeanor where she wants to be in pressure situations," Metea coach Kris Kalivas said.
A rock at third base, this take-charge sophomore was a steadying presence for the 32-5 Redwings, who set program win record. A natural catcher, Rurka played as good a third base as any in the area. She hit .555 with 10 doubles, 4 triples, 4 homers, 52 RBI and 47 runs scored, batting cleanup for a lineup that scored 358 runs. "She's just a very dependable player," Benet coach Jerry Schilf said.
Downers Grove North
One of the best dual threats in the area, is this sophomore committed to Purdue. Teaming with Elaine Heflin on the 30-7 Trojans, Ryndak went 12-2 with a 0.61 ERA and 129 strikeouts in 103 innings. Ryndak also hit .386 with 9 doubles, 9 homers, 8 doubles and 34 RBI. "She has a fire and passion in her," Trojans coach Mark Magro said.
Tobin, until this year not a full-time starter, made dramatic improvements with her bat control and pitch selection. The Huskies reaped the benefits. Naperville North smashed team records for runs scored, set a program record with 24 wins and advanced to first sectional final. Tobin's superior speed keyed that, as she hit .509, scored 33 runs and stole 30 bases. "Without her we wouldn't do half the stuff we did offensively," Huskies coach Jerry Kedziora said.
Stephanie Abello (Benet, Fr.); Kailee Budicin (Naperville North, So.); Alex Caliva (Glenbard North, So.); Alyssa Fernandez (St. Francis, Jr.); Amanda Gosbeth (West Chicago, Jr.); Shannon Hohman (Waubonsie Valley, Fr.); Nicole Kappelman (Naperville Central, Sr.); Maria Kieliszewski (Immaculate Conception, Sr.); Tessa Kroll (York, Sr.); Sabrina Kuchta (Hinsdale South, So.); Katy LaCivita (Downers Grove South, Sr.); Brianna Meath (Glenbard South, Sr.); Darian Pelsor (Willowbrook, Jr.); Jacklyn Tyburk (Glenbard West, Sr.); Kristy Santora (WW South, Sr.); Stephanie Starr (Lake Park, Jr.); Jane Trzaska (Glenbard South, Jr.); Kelly Welch (Fenton, Sr.); Sam Yeager (Downers Grove North, Sr.); Emily York (Benet, Fr.).
DuPage County captains
1989: Ceci Rettig, Wheaton Central
1990: Angie Webb, West Chicago
1991: Kelly Matthews, West Chicago
1992: Kate Enochs, Benet
1993: Amy Elza, Downers Grove South
1994: Amy Thompson, Downers Grove South
1995: Erin Enzbigilis, Downers Grove South
1996: Marie Barda, Hinsdale South
1997: Marie Barda, Hinsdale South
1998: Mary McGrane, Downers Grove North
1999: Krisi Rossi, Downers Grove North
2000: Amy Krahula, Downers Grove South
2001: Jess Stephens, Glenbard South
2002: Lindsey Veselsky, Glenbard North
2003: Kristy Vanek, Downers Grove South
2004: Stephanie Blagaich, Lake Park
2005: Stephanie Blagaich, Lake Park
2006: Lauren Rohan, Benet
2007: Michelle Batts, Glenbard North
2008: Jill Trzaska, Glenbard South
2009: Hannah Santora, Glenbard North
2010: Jenna Marsalli, Neuqua Valley
2011: Marissa Mersch, Downers Grove South
2012: Lilly Fecho, Glenbard North