Sam Anderson Rolling Meadows
Her last name begins with an 'A' and you can add a plus to that to grade her four-year varsity career. After breaking 12 school batting records over the past four years, Anderson will continue her career at Tampa University. This season, the slugging shortstop batted .416 with 52 hits, 20 extra base hits and 5 home runs. She also stole 15 bases. "Sam had a great four years for us," said Rolling Meadows coach Tony Wolanski. "She improved every season. Sam was the most consistent hitter we had the last two years."
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Erin Barton Buffalo Grove
After getting the winning hit in a late-season win over Rolling Meadows, Barton was headed to a country music concert that night. Coincidentally, Barton's bat provided the Bison some sweet music all season. The senior third baseman, who hit in the No. 3 spot, hit 434 with a team-high 5 home runs and 8 doubles. "Erin worked real hard in off-season to improve her batting average," said Bison coach Jamie Paul. Barton also had 21 singles and a pair of triples. "Erin's defense has always been remarkable. Offensively, she worked real hard to improve her numbers and it paid off." Perhaps the most remarkable accomplishment by Barton is that the four-year varsity starter played every inning of every game the last four seasons.
Tess Bolger Barrington
When you think intensity, you think of Tess Bolger. "Tess is my kind of player," said Barrington coach Perry Peterson. As a three-year varsity player, Bolger is hitting .417 with 45 hits, 11 doubles, a team-leading 3 triples, 7 home runs, 45 runs scored and 38 RBI. She owns a .514 batting average with runners in scoring position. "When the pressure was on, Tess was at her finest," Peterson said. "And her vocal leadership was the best we have witnessed in many years." Bolger, who will attend Michigan State, also leads the Fillies with 15 stolen bases.
Sara Brunlieb Rolling Meadows
Brunlieb graduates as the all-time winningest pitcher in Rolling Meadows softball history. The Wisconsin-Oshkosh bound pitcher won 49 games in her four-year varsity career. This season she had a 2.65 ERA with 137 strikeouts and 14 wins. "Sara was a tremendous leader for us," said Rolling Meadows coach Tony Wolanski of the senior ace who broke 3 pitching records at Meadows. "She made her teammates better and was the one player who kept this team together. Her character and positive attitude will be missed next season."
Julia Camardo Buffalo Grove
Camardo pitched Buffalo Grove to its first Mid-Suburban League division title since 1999 and she also used her bat to help the cause. The Bison cleanup hitter batted .347 with 5 doubles and 3 homers. "Julia was our No. 1 pitcher and she did a real nice job on the mound, especially being only a sophomore," said Bison coach Jamie Paul. "She didn't have a lot of varsity experience but she really made a tremendous improvement over last year." Camardo struck out 181 batters. "She worked real hard in the off-season to come back stronger," Paul said. "Julia was also a leader on the team even though she was only a sophomore. She showed good leadership qualities and we look forward to the next two seasons with her."
Caitlyn Catino Buffalo Grove
Whether it was diving into a fence trying to prevent a home run in center field or sliding into second base for a double, Catino was always giving 100 percent effort. The sophomore enjoyed her second straight all-area campaign, batting a team-high .465 with a team-high 40 hits. "Caitlin was just an offensive weapon for us," said BG coach Jamie Paul, who guided the Bison to their first MSL East crown since 1999, "She's a triple threat -- she can slap for a bunt or hit for power. And she is one of the fastest girls on our team." In her two years on the Bison varsity, Catino has not missed a game in center field.
Miranda Cavin Conant
It's off to Oklahoma State for Cavin, one of the top catchers in Conant history. The four-year starting receiver, who caught her all-area sister Brianna (now at Wisconsin-Green Bay) for three years (2010, 2011, 2012), helped lead the Cougars to MSL championships in 2011 and 2012 under coach Cathyann Smith. For her career, Miranda Cavin batted .435, with 186 hits, 162 RBI, 21 homers and 42 stolen bases. The three-time all area selection has been an integral part of the Cougars' success the past four years. "She is a competitor every coach dreams of having," Smith said. "Miranda has kept teams from stealing on us for the past four years due to her incredible arm and ability to read runners. She goes out of her way to help her teammates and has one of the biggest hearts of any athlete I have coached. Miranda's passion for the game is what makes her a true Division I athlete who will be a great asset for Oklahoma State."
Keenan Dolezal Barrington
Dolezal sparkles as the Fillies' ace, sporting a record of 28-1 and leading the Fillies to their first MSL championship since 2008 and to their eighth state finals appearance. In 187 innings pitched, Dolezal struck out 222 with an ERA 0.82. "Keenan has the confidence of her teammates, and in the end, that is all that really matters," said coach Perry Peterson. Dolezal recorded 8 shutouts, 2 no-hitters and 1 perfect game to clinch the MSL West division title on the final day of the regular season. "Even more remarkably, opponents only hit .150 against Keenan this spring," Peterson said.
Leigh Farina Fremd
One of the most prolific hitters in the Mid-Suburban League, Farina batted .436 with a team-high 45 RBI. She truly put her offense skills on display in the final weeks of the season when she had a stretch of 4 home runs in 6 at-bats against Glenbrook South and Elk Grove. "Leigh is one of the top hitters in the MSL," said Fremd coach Jim Weaver. "Speed and power, along with excellent at-bats, make her one of the toughest outs in the area." Farina, who has already committed to Illinois, led the Vikings with her 47 hits 11 doubles and 8 homers. "When she's locked in, there are few better," Weaver said. "Defensively, she has the ability to make every play and every throw from the shortstop position."
Shannon Felde Schaumburg
Here's a striking stat about Felde -- the sophomore did not strike out in 99 at-bats this season. It didn't matter if she was pitching, playing shortstop or hitting, Felde was always giving everything she had to get the job done for the Saxons. "Shannon was a tremendous asset to us in all aspects of the game," said Saxons coach Ellen Stoddard. Felde batted .535 with 53 hits, 36 RBI, 14 doubles, 3 triples, and 4 home runs. In Mid-Suburban League action, she hit .586 with 23 RBI. "Defensively, Shannon is solid, too," Stoddard said. "She made only 2 errors with 76 assists. Shannon loves the game of softball and works very hard at it. She is a competitor and I look forward to having her in our program for two more years."
Raegan Fingerman Barrington
Barrington coach Perry Peterson said Fingerman made the ultimate sacrifice for her Fillie teammates in 2013. With the off-season transfer of starting catcher Savonnah Osmanski (whose Arizona high school team won the Class 3A state title this spring), Fingerman committed herself to catching for her senior season. "And what a great job she did," Peterson said. Fingerman is 301/304 defensively behind the plate and threw out 30 percent of the runners attempting to steal against her. She's hitting .389 with 49 hits, 9 doubles, 2 triples, 2 home runs and 26 RBI. "Raegan is so dependable with both handling our pitchers and providing the clutch hit when we need it," Peterson said. Fingerman will play for Ripon College in Ripon, Wis.
Dana Giannelli Schaumburg
Giannelli was a model of versatility. "She is the type of player that will do anything to help her team out," said Schaumburg coach Ellen Stoddard. "Her primary position is outfield but she found herself seeing time at shortstop and catching along the way. No matter where you put her on the field, she will give you everything she has." Giannelli batted .417 with 19 RBI and 6 homers. Defensively, she was a solid player no matter where she was on the field, committing only 3 errors. She hit .424 with 10 RBI and 4 homers in the Mid-Suburban League. "Dana will truly be missed next season," Stoddard said. "Her positive energy and energetic attitude made those around her laugh. She had a great season."
Jamie Haze Palatine
Haze could leave opposing defenses in a fog with her big bat. The junior third baseman's 37 hits were third most on the team as was her batting average of .381. Haze's 37 hits were second most on the squad which took third place in the tough Mid-Suburban West. She will be one of more than a handful of seniors on next year's team. "Jamie was our cleanup hitter this year and she improved tremendously," said Pirates coach Jeff Manz. "She worked hard in the off season and came up with a lot of big hits this year. She will be a big part of next year's senior-heavy team."
Megan Hedstrom Palatine
Hedstrom will next play at North Dakota, but in her final high school season she helped make the Pirates one of the most competitive teams in the area. The senior hurler was 15-11 with 11 strikeouts and a 2.30 ERA. But she also was a major factor to the success of the Pirates' offense. Hedstrom batted .495 with 24 runs and led the team with 48 hits, 28 RBI, 5 triples and 11 doubles. She also belted 4 homers. She is a repeat all-area selection. "Megan is a great athlete with unlimited potential," said Palatine coach Jeff Manz. "She has great speed and power."
Kristine Herdegen Fremd
Whenever a teammate needed a boost, Herdegen was there. "Herdy is our vocal leader," said Fremd coach Jim Weaver. "She is 100 percent into every pitch of every game, and lives and breathes Fremd softball." She also gave Fremd a boost with her bat, collecting 7 home runs, 7 doubles and 25 RBI with her .388 batting average. "Kristine is another player who had a breakout year offensively through a ton of hard work in the past year," Weaver said. "And she is one of the better throwers in the conference from behind the plate." Herdegen will play for Parkland College in Champaign next year.
Telly Hunter Conant
A two-year varsity starter, Hunter was skilled both at the plate and in the field. The junior first baseman-outfielder led the team with her .438 batting average. She collected 35 hits, 25 runs, 26 singles, 7 double, 1 triple and 26 RBI as Cougars' cleanup batter. "Telly is a quiet force at the plate and in the field," said Cougars coach Cathyann Smith. "She has the versatility to play both infield and outfield for us due to her arm strength and strong glove." Hunter also played a key role on Smith's 2012 MSL championship team. "Telly really came through offensively for us this season," Smith said. "And she will continue to be an integral part of our program next year as a senior."
Sara Kern Wheeling
For the past four years, Kern has been one of the toughest outs for Mid-Suburban League pitchers. The ever-so-reliable center fielder also made some outstanding outs with her glove. Kern will move on to play at Missouri-St. Louis next season, following a season in which she batted .412 with 24 runs, 25 RBI, 22 singles, 13 doubles, 4 triples, 1 homer and 9 walks. In the outfield, Kern had a 0.957 fielding percentage, collecting 40 outs and 4 assists from 46 chances. "Sara respects the game and her opponents," said Wheeling coach Mike Caringella. "She always worked to improve her skills and she controlled the game from the outfield. Sara will be missed on and off the field."
Loren Krzysko Barrington
Krzysko finished her career as the most dynamic long ball hitter in school history, clubbing a school-record 18 home runs in 2013 and reaching unparalleled heights with 42 career home runs, placing her fourth on the all time IHSA home run list entering state tournament play this weekend. This spring, she is hitting .504 with 66 hits, 20 doubles, 2 triples, 59 RBI and a school-record 59 runs. As the school's Female Athlete of the Year, Krzysko saved her best season for last. "I am so proud of Loren and what she has contributed to the program," said Barrington coach Perry Peterson. "The young girls in our town all want to hit the ball like Loren Krzysko, and that may be the greatest compliment one can be given." Krzysko will play at Arkansas next fall.
Nicole LaBeck Hoffman Estates
The Hawks' senior captain didn't miss a beat after returning from an ACL injury. She batted .343 with 10 RBI in her third varsity season and made an immediate impact when she returned to the diamond a few weeks into the season as the starting second baseman. "Nicole is our vocal leader and challenges everyone to compete to her full potential," said Hawks coach Lindsey Hamma. "We have relied on her consistency in the field to stabilize our defense." LaBeck's clutch hits in the three spot were vital to the Hoffman lineup. "Nicole's work ethic, determination, and leadership have set the tone for our team over the past three years; she leaves some big shoes to fill, and we will miss her," Hamma added.
Gina Larucci Maine West
Larucci not only caught a strong game for the Warriors, she also had a strong bat. The Warriors starting catcher for the last three years batted .461 while collecting 29 RBI, 26 runs, 10 doubles, 3 triples and 5 homers. "Gina was great behind the plate and calling games," said Maine West coach Amy Gonzales. "She had a strong season on offense. She is a true athlete and has been a strong leader in this program." Larucci helped lead Maine West to its sectional championship her junior year. She will be attending Elmhurst College in the fall.
Brianna Leach Elk Grove
Only a sophomore, Leach was one of the more consistent hitters in the Grenadiers' lineup this season. Definitely a "run-producer" type of hitter, she led the team with 37 RBI in 36 games with a .419 batting average. Leach also belted 4 home runs. "Brianna provided a good number of key hits in important situations many times during the season," said Elk Grove coach Ken Grams. "She certainly progressed to the point that she was the hitter we wanted at the plate in those pivotal moments. Defensively, Brianna just got better and better as the season moved on."
Casey Lenski Prospect
Only a sophomore, Lenski proved valuable with her arm and her bat. She led the team with a .376 batting average and was 4-2 on the mound. "Casey is quickly proving herself to be one of the area's best players," said Prospect coach Jim Adair. "She's extremely strong, can pitch or play just about anywhere, and really loves the game." Lenski led the Knights in hits, doubles, RBI (19) and homers with a .448 on-base percentage and .576 slugging percentage . "She hit 3 home runs but just missed about 10 more," Adair said. "Casey is a great player to have on your team because she's fun to be with, yet can focus on the job at hand, and has an incredible desire to win. She's only going to get better and better in the years to come."
Lauren Logan Palatine
A standout in the batter's box -- catching or hitting -- Logan finished a standout career by hitting a team-high .535 with 41 runs. Her 17 RBI, 18 walks and 5 homers also led the Pirates. Logan also had 46 hits, 9 doubles and 1 triple. "Lauren was a great all-around player," said Pirates coach Jeff Manz of the three-time all-area selection. Logan caught the last two years (with only 1 error) after serving as the first baseman as a freshman and sophomore. "Lauren is a great team player who is unselfish and has the best eyes at the plate I have ever seen," Manz said of the Missouri-St. Louis recruit. "She will go down as one of the best softball players in Palatine history."
Becca Maher Elk Grove
The Grenadiers' most versatile player, Maher put together an excellent junior campaign with a team-high .493 batting average, 41 RBI and 31 extra base hits (12 doubles, 6 triples). "There isn't any part of the game that she doesn't do at a high level," said Elk Grove coach Ken Grams. "Becca has quick hands and good discipline at the plate. She is aggressive defensively with a strong arm, runs well and possesses an awareness of situations that sets her apart." Maher's 54 hits were the third most in an Elk Grove single-season. She also led the team in runs scored and was second in RBI, despite serving as the leadoff batter. "The softball decisions Becca makes game to game leave little doubt that she is, very simply, a really good softball player," Grams said.
Mandi Matsumoto Fremd
Fremd coach Jim Weaver jokingly called Matsumoto the world's fastest human. Her speed was hardly a joke for opponents. The slap-hitting Matsumoto stole a team-high 29 bases while leading the Vikings' offense with her. 515 batting average. "She makes the Fremd offense go," Weaver said "Our offense finally took off after she came back (from a shoulder injury suffered in first game). We were 5-5 without her in the lineup, and 18-2 with her. She raised her game and is now a threat to drop the ball in front of the defense, or hit it over them. You have to play the whole field on Mandi now, which has raised her game to a new level." Matsumoto committed to Southern Charleston University prior to her junior season.
Michelle Mazur Fremd
Mazur is headed to Southern Georgia, having committed before her junior season. The Vikings' first baseman had home runs in three consecutive games late in the season and finished with four overall. The .300 hitter also had 276 RBI and scored 23 runs. "Michelle's numbers have been a little down this year due to the fact that teams pitched around her so much," said Fremd coach Jim Weaver. "And they didn't really give her anything to hit. That has had a direct positive impact on our lineup by getting the other hitters around her better pitches to hit. She is one of the most dangerous hitters in the MSL."
Michele Molini Prospect
In the future, a triple by a Knight will mean that player got to the Molini base. "Michele has been such a solid fixture in our infield for the last four years that we're going to name our third base after her," said Knights coach Jim Adair. Molini will play basketball at Wisconsin-Whitewater but softball was also her game at Prospect. In her final season, Molini scored 20 runs with 13 RBI, striking out only 8 times in 105 plate appearances. "In addition to another year of excellent defense, Michele had a great year at the plate and it's going to be hard to replace not only her game, but her leadership both on and off the field. Because of who she is and what she brings to the game every day, Michele was an easy all-conference and all-area selection."
Krista Moore Barrington
Krista Moore played only one season of varsity softball, but what an amazing season it was for the senior second baseman. After crushing 2 home runs in the regional championship game, Moore led the comeback to propel the Fillies into sectional play for the 12th consecutive year. Moore is hitting .352 with 43 hits, 12 doubles, 1 triple, 5 home runs, 46 runs, 37 RBI and she is 8-of-8 in stolen bases. Defensively, Moore tabulated 60 putouts and 56 assists from her second base position. "It was a remarkable year for Krista," said Barrington coach Perry Peterson. "I am really proud of her accomplishments and I appreciate the commitment she has shown to perform at the highest level." Moore heads off to Texas Christian University in the fall.
Maggie O'Hara Barrington
O'Hara offers as much to the team as any coach could ever ask. She played eight defensive positions for the Fillies in 2013 -- everything except pitcher. "Maggie knew how important it was to be able to successfully adapt to what the team needed on a game-by-game basis," said Barrington coach Perry Peterson, "And she did it remarkably well this spring as she never committed a defensive error." Maggie is hitting .400 with 42 hits, 10 doubles, 6 home runs, 36 runs scored and 34 RBI. O'Hara will continue her softball career next fall as she has committed to play for the Maroons at the University of Chicago.
Elisa Payne Elk Grove
Hall of Fame coach Ken Grams called it a joy to watch Payne grow as a softball player during her three years as a starting outfielder. "The improvement she displayed from season to season has been evident statistically, physically and in her understanding and appreciation the game," Grams said. Payne batted .439 this spring and collected 28 RBI. "She epitomizes what every softball program hopes each player will develop into as they move forward from year to year," Grams added. "Elisa was consistent and reliable with her performances. She has a desire to improve and the results to back it all up."
Michelle Presslak St. Viator
As a three-year starter for St. Viator, Presslak has always been a leader by example. The senior first baseman was also a leader in some offensive categories this spring. She led the club with 24 RBI, 59 total bases and 6 home runs while batting .371. "The wonderful thing about Michelle is that she never got overly excited or overly down," said Lions coach John Scotillo. "That even temperament made her a natural team captain. She got some big hits (33 total) for us."
Angela Schmiederer Hersey
No matter where Hersey coach Molly Freeman put Schmiederer, she was good as gold for the Huskies. "Angela really is an outstanding defensive specialist," said Hersey coach Molly Freeman. "She started the season as a catcher, which is her strong suit. She is probably one of the best catchers I've ever seen. In the middle of the season, we needed her at shortstop and she really surprised me there." Schmiederer produced offensively, too. Her .342 average was second best on the team. She collected a team-high 14 and 10 doubles, and she belted 1 home run. "Everything Angela does is 100 percent," Freeman added. "When she got to shortstop, she was 100 percent there, too."
Ashlynne Schwantz Fremd
Schwantz proved to be one of the top pitchers in the area, and she carried a dangerous bat as she took a prominent role in the Vikings' order as the No. 2 hitter. Schwantz compiled a 20-4 record in the circle and hit .436 from the left side with 24 runs and 11 RBI. "Ashlynne has been our leader in the circle all season," said Fremd coach Jim Weaver. "She is a very steadying influence who always shows up ready to compete. Her offense jumped up this season to match her abilities in the circle to make her a complete player." Schwantz will study at Iowa next fall, majoring in education.
Ariel Valles Maine West
While in high school, Valles learned how to beat both deadlines and opponents. The senior, who defeated New Trier in the sectional final as a junior, had another stellar season on the mound as a senior in addition to serving as the editor and chief of the school newspaper. "Ariel had another great year as our starting pitcher," said Warriors coach Amy Gonzales. "She has always kept her composure even in difficult situations. As a leader in the program, she has helped with the team's success." Valles was 10-4 this spring with a .253 ERA and 65 strikeouts. The four-year varsity starter will attend Harvard in the fall.
Tracy Welninski Fremd
Welninski was a call-up to the varsity midway through her sophomore season. This season, she was called upon to be a major contributor in the batting order and in the field. Welninski proved to be a major threat in both areas. She batted .419 with 26 RBI, 7 doubles, 4 homers and a triple. "Tracy is super talented and has put that talent to great use this year with excellent at-bats," said Fremd coach Jim Weaver. "She grinds out at-bats, and is a two-way threat with speed and power." Welninski scored 21 runs and stole six bases. "No one works harder on her game than Tracy," Weaver added. "And her diligence has paid off for us with a top level offensive season."
Holly Wengerski Maine West
Leadoff batters are always expected to set the tone for the offense, and Wengerski played that role perfectly this spring. The senior shortstop batted .523 and had some power with her .709 slugging percentage. "Holly would set the tone of the game," said Maine West coach Amy Gonzales. "And she did a great job at shortstop for us this year." Wengerski, who will attend Illinois State, served as the Warriors' starting shortstop for the third straight season. She had 9 doubles, 2 triples and a homer. She scored 34 runs and had 15 RBI. "Holly was one of the leaders on our team who was always positive," Gonzales added.
Player School Pos. Yr.
Sam Anderson Rolling Meadows SS Sr.
Erin Barton Buffalo Grove 3B Sr.
Tess Bolger Barrington CF Sr.
Sara Brunlieb Rolling Meadows P Sr.
Julia Camardo Buffalo Grove P So.
Caitlin Catino Buffalo Grove CF So.
Miranda Cavin Conant C Sr.
Keenan Dolezal Barrington P So.
Leigh Farina Fremd SS Jr.
Shannon Felde Schaumburg SS-P So.
Raegan Fingerman Barrington C Sr.
Dana Giannelli Schaumburg CF Sr.
Jamie Haze Palatine 3B Jr.
Megan Hedstrom Palatine P Sr.
Kristine Herdegen Fremd C Sr.
Telly Hunter Conant OF Jr.
Sara Kern Wheeling CF Sr.
* Loren Krzysko Barrington 3B Sr.
Nicole LaBeck Hoffman Estates 2B Sr.
Gina Larucci Maine West C Sr.
Brianna Leach Elk Grove OF Jr.
Casey Lenski Prospect 1B-P So.
Lauren Logan Palatine C Sr.
Becca Maher Elk Grove SS Jr.
Mandi Matsumoto Fremd CF Sr.
Michelle Mazur Fremd 1B Sr.
Michele Molini Prospect 3B Sr.
Krista Moore Barrington 2B Sr.
Maggie O'Hara Barrington RF Sr.
Elisa Payne Elk Grove CF Sr.
Michelle Presslak St. Viator 1B Sr.
Angela Schmiederer Hersey C Jr.
Ashlynne Schwantz Fremd P Sr.
Ariel Valles Maine West P Sr.
Tracy Welninski Fremd 2B Jr.
Holly Wengerski Maine West SS Sr.
Sam Acosta (Hoffman Estates), Paige Alt (Schaumburg), Dea Barton (Buffalo Grove), Beth Cunningham (Christian Liberty Academy), Katie Dehnert (Barrington), Aleece Duffy (Elk Grove), Jordyn Fera (Hoffman Estates), Alyssa Garcia (Fremd), Krystal Harris (St. Viator), Sam Hogan (St. Viator), Julie Josten (Fremd), Hannah Kerr (Schaumburg), Cassidy Kraimer (Barrington), Nikki Mikosz (Wheeling), Morgan Olszewski (Barrington), Rachel O'Malley (Conant), Maggie Pancini (Prospect), Sam Rosenfeld (Barrington), Amanda Salzman (Buffalo Grove), Michelle Sansone (Leyden), Ally Schuldt (Prospect), Grace Skorin (Rolling Meadows), Megan Sullivan (Christian Liberty Academy), Shannon Taucher (Elk Grove), Sarah Thompson (Conant), Tori Walzak (Palatine), Erin Ward (Barrington), Jenny Watson (Rolling Meadows), Hannah Whidden (Rolling Meadows), Lane Winkler (Rolling Meadows), Alysia Zaucha (Hersey)
Selections and player profiles by John Leusch