Lanie Callaghan, Kaneland
Every team wants to be strong up the middle, and this junior gave the 23-4 Knights an athletic center fielder who could both run down hard-hit balls in the gaps or turn and throw out a runner trying to take the extra base with her 3 assists. Callaghan also was dangerous at the plate as either Kaneland's cleanup or No. 3 hitter. Batted .453 with 7 doubles and 2 home runs while driving in 27 runs and scoring 27 runs. "She can hit the ball to the fence, hit the ball over the fence," Kaneland coach Brian Willis said. "She's fast, she has power, she can hit a base hit, can hit a double, can hit a homer. She's got all the tools you want."
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Anna Geary, Geneva
The sweet-swinging sophomore moved from center field to shortstop and finished second on the Vikings with a .429 batting average while coming up 1 hit short of the school record with 54 hits. Had an on-base percentage of .545 as the leadoff hitter, scored 35 runs, stole 12 bases, and hit 10 doubles and 2 home runs while driving in 23. "Anna is a 100 percent effort kid in all phases of the game," Geneva coach Greg Dierks said. "She played very well at shortstop. She is a pleasure to coach."
Mickey Goetz, St. Charles North
This junior all-conference selection is now a two-time All-Area selection. She batted .333 with 7 doubles and 2 home runs. Her 30 runs were second best on the Upstate Eight Conference River Division champion North Stars and her 24 RBI third-best. "A leader by example who is so much fun to coach," North Stars coach Tom Poulin said. "Mickey comes to work everyday, but also makes sure it is enjoyable for all she interacts with. She makes all of the plays you expect her to make and then she makes the difficult ones look easy too."
Abby Howlett, St. Charles North
Perhaps the most improved hitter this season, Howlett started hitting when the season began and didn't stop until it ended. The all-conference selection batted .510 with a .698 slugging percentage, finishing with 10 doubles, 2 home runs and a team-high 39 RBI. Came through with the Upstate Eight River-clinching hit on a classic 2-out, 2-strike, epic at-bat. "Abby had an incredible season," North Stars coach Tom Poulin said. "The jump she made from her freshman year to her sophomore season was as impressive as I have seen. I have no doubt that she will continue to improve and reach her potential, which is very, very high."
Olivia Lorenzini, St. Charles East
Saints coach Kelly Horan credited this senior's work ethic with the big numbers Lorenzini produced as the No. 3 hitter in the middle of the potent Saints attack. Lorenzini's 50 hits included 16 doubles, 2 triples and 2 home runs for a .403 batting average and .612 slugging percentage. Drove in 35 runs and scored 32 for the state-bound Saints. "Olivia is a great example of hard work paying off," Horan said. "She had a good junior season after putting countless hours in during the offseason and more of the same this year. She's a worker."
Allyson O'Herron, Kaneland
A four-year starter at shortstop, O'Herron is going to leave a major hole for the Knights to fill next spring. Her senior year got off to a bit of a slow start, but she made up for that with a two-week stretch when coach Brian Willis called O'Herron "the hottest hitter I've ever seen." O'Herron slugged the first two home runs of her career at that time, played lights-out defense at shortstop, and helped improve her season totals to a .506 batting average with 45 hits, 9 doubles, 32 runs and a team-high 31 RBI. "She struggled at the beginning of the year but the last half of the year she has been able to get back to the Allyson O'Herron we're used to," Willis said. "She's a leader out there. Now her whole game is complete again just like we expect her to play."
Lexi Perez, St. Charles East
A two-time All-Area selection and four-year starter, Perez was equally important to the Saints with her 32 steals at the top of the lineup as she was on defense with her glove and range at shortstop. After batting .325 with 42 hits and 30 runs as a junior, Perez upped her numbers to 52 hits, 39 runs and a .388 average this spring as the Saints won 31 games and a supersectional title. "Lexi has been a staple in our lineup for four years," Saints coach Kelly Horan said. "If I was starting team I would pick her first."
Kate Peterburs, St. Charles East
The Upstate Eight Conference River Division position player MVP, Peterburs tore the cover off the ball all spring. Hit a blistering .514 with 19 doubles, 3 triples and 4 home runs for an .860 slugging percentage while driving in 32 runs. Came up with big hits in big spots like a 3-for-4 day in the regional opener despite a painful foot injury, then a key double to help break a 1-1 tie in the regional championship win over Conant. Homered in the sectional semis and tripled home 2 runs in the supersectional. Her coach appreciated her defense just as much. "I asked Kate to play first base because we had no true first baseman and she did a great job," Saints coach Kelly Horan said. "She's a natural third baseman that had no problems picking up a new position."
Sabrina Rabin, St. Charles North
This year's All-Area captain, the junior led the North Stars to the Upstate Eight Conference River title with her play at the top of the lineup and also her pitching in the circle. The Northwestern recruit led team .534 average and also walked 15 times for a .602 on-base percentage. A walk was always a double as she stole 35 bases in 36 attempts. Scored 34 runs. In the circle Rabin finished 18-4 with a 1.49 ERA, striking out 121 batters and walking just 33 in her 141 innings. Tossed 6 shutouts. "She is the ideal leader and captain, who also understands how to be a true teammate," North Stars coach Tom Poulin said.
Lexi Roach, Kaneland
What more could you want in a leadoff hitter than what Roach provided, hitting a team-high .518 with a .586 on-base percentage. Scored 31 runs with 19 stolen bases and 44 hits for the 23-4, conference champion Knights. "She's been our catalyst all year offensively," Kaneland coach Brian Willis said. "She means everything to the offense. Being our leadoff hitter, her speed disrupts the pitcher because they are flustered already. Speed at the top of the order if she can get on it just sets the tone for the rest of our big hitters. I don't know if I can really describe what she means to the team. Those two (Roach and Allyson O'Herron) at the top when those guys are going there's nobody else I'd rather have at 1-2."
Katie Ryan, Batavia
A three-time All-Area selection, Ryan burst onto the softball scene as a sophomore with 18 home runs, and she went out this spring slugging a game-tying grand slam in Batavia' regional win over Glenbard East in her next-to-last high school game. Ryan finished with 7 home runs this year while batting .408 with 35 RBI. Also had 3 triples and slugged .829. Hit .393 as a junior with 38 RBI. Throw in her 42 RBI as a sophomore and Ryan drove in 115 runs and blasted 28 home runs the past three seasons in the middle of the Batavia lineup.