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Softball: Scouting the Fox Valley

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  • Huntley junior Haley Spannraft is one of the top returning pitchers in the area.

       Huntley junior Haley Spannraft is one of the top returning pitchers in the area.
    JOE LEWNARD | Staff Photographer

 
 

Bartlett HawksCoach: Jim Wolfsmith (12th year, 246-116)

Conference: Upstate Eight Valley

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2013 record: 25-10 (15-4 UEC Valley)

Top returning athletes: Kayla Haberstich (Sr., SS), Alex Morales (Sr., OF), Dana Paul (Sr., C), Holly Pagan (Sr., P), Sydney Johnson (Sr., 3B), Katie Fornoff (So., 2B), Alyssa Nowak (So., 1B), Lauren Janczak (Jr., OF/IF), Kelly Walsh (Sr., OF), Amy Johnson (Sr., P/1B).

Top newcomers: Suzie Miceli (Jr.), Danielle Kirby (Jr., P)

Season outlook: The Hawks return 7 starters, 5 of whom played significant time on the 2012 Class 4A state runner-up team as well as on last year's 25-win squad that lost to eventual state runner-up St. Charles East in a sectional semifinal. No. 1 pitcher, senior Holly Pagan, returns after going 14-6 with a 2.34 ERA last year. Pagan, who also hit .393 with 24 RBI, will play at Purdue-Calumet next year. Also back is senior SS Kayla Haberstich, a Dayton recruit who was one of the top hitters in the area last year at .464 with 9 homers and an area-high 59 RBI. Bartlett will need to replace graduated leadoff hitter Rachel Odolski, whose .492 OBP last year led to 42 runs. Sophomores Katie Fornoff and Alyssa Nowak will man the right side of the infield after successful freshman campaigns, while seniors Alex Morales (Purdue-North Central, .369, 27 RBI) and catcher Dana Paul (Eckart FL., .316) also return as does senior 3B Sydney Johnson. "We've got a lot of experience back," said coach Jim Wolfsmith. "We like what we have back. We've got veteran experience on the mound and some nice young players. We're really excited." Wolfsmith believes the Upstate Eight Valley race could be a dogfight, with two-time defending champion Waubonsie Valley and returning ace pitcher Shannon Hohman getting the early nod. "We should be in a position to contend for the division again," Wolfsmith said. "Neuqua and Waubonsie are always solid and South Elgin has some key returners."

Burlington Central RocketsCoach: Wade Maisto (2nd year of return; 16th year overall, 361-105)

Conference: Big Northern East

2013 record: 27-4 (12-0 BN-East)

Top returning athletes: Bekah Harnish (Sr., C/IF), Brooke Gaylord (Sr., P), Emily Kisch (So., P), Cortni Neubauer (Jr., OF), Tori Harvey (Sr., SS), Becca Gerke (So., 2B/OF), Kelly Wiater (So., IF/C).

Top newcomers: Kassi Gaylord (Jr., 1B), Shelby Young (So., OF), Kristina Ahlers (Fr., IF/OF), Lindsay Strohmaier (Sr., OF), Amanda Ratliff (Jr., Utility).

Season outlook: The Rockets are coming off an undefeated Big Northern East season that ended with a regional final loss to perennial Class 3A power Marengo. While most coaches would lament the transfer of a Division I pitcher (Angie Morrow to Kaneland), BC coach Wade Maisto has the luxury of having two experienced and capable pitchers returning in senior Brooke Gaylord (13-3, 1.54 ERA, .500 BA, 8 HRs, 35 RBI) and sophomore Emily Kisch (10-1, 2.07 ERA, .337 BA, 3 HRs, 26 RBI), who were both all-area picks. Also back is senior C/IF Bekah Harnish, an NIU signee who hit .530 with 3 homers and 27 RBI in an all-area season, as well as junior OF Cortni Neubauer (. 330, 10 SBs). Senior Tori Harvey (. 310) and sophomores Becca Gerke and Kelly Wiater (. 284) also saw extensive playing time last season. "Our goals are to repeat as conference champions and to go further in the postseason," said Maisto, who will be assisted by his daughter, Erica, as well as longtime program coach Lowell Oranger and his daughter, Kayla, who just completed a successful four-year career at Texas-El Paso and was the leadoff hitter for the 2009 Rockets team that finished third at the Class 3A state tournament. "We have some very strong 3A competition in the area such as Kaneland and Marengo and we have also put together a very difficult nonconference schedule to help prepare us for the postseason." The Rockets are scheduled to play three games at Normal U-High, including one against Class 3A power Mattoon, next Saturday, and they will take on defending Upstate Eight Valley champ Waubonsie Valley in a doubleheader at the Rosemont Dome on April 2. In addition to two BN-East games against Marengo, BC will also take on Kaneland, West Chicago, St. Charles East, Geneva, Elgin, Barrington, Libertyville, St. Charles North, Huntley and DeKalb, among others, in nonconference games.

Cary-Grove TrojansCoach: Tammy Olson (21st year, 377-242-3)

Conference: Fox Valley (Valley)

2013 record: 19-6 (9-3 FVC Valley)

Top returning athletes: Amy Clemment (Sr., 2B/SS), Lauren Stanley (Sr., P), Caitlyn Adams (Jr., P/3B), Sarah Kendeigh (Sr., 1B/3B), Lisa Semro (Sr., OF), Jamie Deering (Sr., SS).

Top newcomers: Grace Pilz (Jr., C), Amanda DeGroote (Jr., P/OF), Rachel Langner (Jr. OF), Brianne Prank (So., DP/1B).

Season outlook: The post Lindsay Efflandt-Sarah Leudo era begins at Cary-Grove, meaning for the first time in four years the Trojans will have a new regular battery. But it doesn't come without some experience. Senior Lauren Stanley had to step into the No. 1 role for a major part of the 2013 season after Efflandt, now playing at Yale, was hit in the face with a line drive. Stanley pitched 80 innings last season and went 7-4 with a 1.67 ERA and 81 strikeouts. Junior Grace Pilz also saw some time behind the plate and would appear to be the heir to the position Leudo manned for four years. There is also some offensive firepower returning with senior Amy Clemment (2B, .327), senior Jamie Deering (SS, .284, 18 RBI) and senior Lisa Semro (OF, .278, 10 RBI) leading the way. "Lauren pitched two-thirds of the season last year and that was great experience for her," said Trojans' coach Tammy Olson, the dean of Fox Valley area coaches who is 23 wins shy of 400 for her career. "Grace Pilz also got some experience last year and now it's their responsibility. We've got a lot of experience coming back but as always we'll just take things day by day, looking at the next opponent. Improving one percent each day will make a difference at the end of the season." Olson, like most FVC Valley coaches, agrees that the division race should be wide open this season with her team, Prairie Ridge, McHenry, CL South and Huntley all in the mix. "It's going to be a much tighter conference," she said.

Crystal Lake South GatorsCoach: Scott Busam (11th year)

Conference: Fox Valley (Valley)

2013 record: 14-10 (4-7 FVC Valley)

Top returning athletes: Sam McLean (Sr., SS), Kim Woods (Jr., CF), Caitlin Fater (Jr., C/OF), Erin Yazel (Sr., OF), Jenica Terry (Jr., C/OF), Hailee Massie (Jr., P/OF/DP), Taylor Doppke (Jr., OF/DP).

Top newcomers: Brookelynn Maddox (So., 1B/3B), Samantha Schettl (Fr., IF/OF), Eve Perdikaris (Jr., 1B/3B), Taylor Kassel (So., 2B), Amy Ciaverlla (Fr., IF/OF).

Season outlook: The Gators expect to be in the thick of the Fox Valley Conference Valley Division race with a core of players returning who should make them competitive each day. "We're looking balanced this year," said coach Scott Busam, who will be assisted for the 10th straight year by Mark Hardie, as well as 2009 CLS graduate Kaitlin Hardie, who just completed a four-year career at Winona State University. "We've got a good amount of returning juniors and seniors and some underclassmen that I think will supplement the older kids nicely." Senior SS Sam McLean (. 432, 3 HRs, 24 RB) and junior pitcher Hailee Massie (8-6, 1.82 ERA) were all-area players last season and junior CF Kimmy Woods (. 354, 11 RBI) was honorable mention. Busam spoke highly of newcomers Taylor Kassel (So., 2B), Brookelynn Maddox (So, 1B/3B), Samantha Schettl (Fr., IF/OF) and Amy Ciavarella (Fr., IF/OF), a switch hitter, as well. The Gators will have to make up for the loss of junior 3B Lauren Gauger to an ACL injury. One area of concern is pitching depth as Massie is the only returnee with extensive varsity experience. "We're focusing a lot on defense and how to scratch out more runs," Busam said. "But we're very excited about our chances this year." Busam said the FVC Valley race should be up for grabs. "I think now that we lost (to graduation) two of the best pitchers in conference history (Cary-Grove's Lindsay Efflandt and Prairie Ridge's Kirsten Stevens) it could be a free-for-all," he said. "Everybody has a shot to contend for the conference title. I couldn't pick a favorite."

Dundee-Crown ChargersCoach: Tracy Beatty (7th year)

Conference: Fox Valley (Valley)

2013 record: 3-20 (0-12 FVC Valley)

Top returning players: Lauren Mercado (Sr., 3B), Mandy Moore (Sr., P-2B), Mallory Schilf (Sr., OF), Casey Weeks (Jr., 1B), Lauren Girard (Jr., P)

Key newcomers: Isabel Rodriguez (Jr., SS), Megan Emerson (Fr., OF)

Outlook: Chargers' coach Tracy Beatty has been impressed with the team's preparation coming into this season. "I have a group of core seniors that have worked really hard and play very well together," she said. "We hope to play each game with confidence and come out to the field ready to play every game." Beatty is looking for her team to make things happen at the plate. "We hope to come to the plate and be very aggressive," she said. D-C also benefits from the return of much of its infield and outfield. "I have an infield and outfield and experience at those parts of the field," she said. "Hopefully they will play with a lot of confidence. I think we will be stronger defensively. I have key players coming back in positions they have started in. Lauren at first base, Casey at third base and Mandy at second base all have two years of varsity experience." Girard's varsity pitching experience also will be a big plus. "Lauren is strong and consistent on the mound," said Beatty. Moore was second on the team in batting average (. 324), hits and runs scored last year, and led the team in triples (3) and extra-base hits (7).

Elgin MaroonsCoach: Dr. Nick Bumbales (1st year)

Conference: Upstate Eight River

2013 record: 14-15 (7-12 UEC River)

Top returning athletes: Jennah Perryman (Sr., P/SS), Anna Eckholm (Sr., 3B/SS), Kelly Bremer (Sr. C), Jessica Rago (So., P/1B), Sabrina Stockman (Jr., 2B/OF), Melanie Berg (Sr., OF), Nora Stanley (Sr., OF).

Top newcomers: Madison Latham (Jr., 1B.OF), Destiny West (Jr., 1B/OF), Jenna Lombardo (Jr., INF), Fantasia Griffin (Sr., INF), Paige Walker (Jr., INF/OF), Donnetta Shanklin (Jr., 1B/OF).

Season outlook: The Maroons return a plethora of talent, especially in the infield, for "new" coach Dr. Nick Bumbales, who takes over the program for Chad Dahlman, who stepped down after 4 years to spend more time with his family. Leading the list of returnees is senior Jennah Perryman, who decommitted to Ball State late in the summer, according to Bumbales, after Ball State coach Craig Nicholson took the Arizona State job. Perryman will now join her sister, Hannah, at Missouri-St. Louis next year. She hit .352 with 10 home runs and 33 RBI last season. The all-conference and all-area pitcher/infielder was also 8-11 with a 1.67 ERA in the circle. She struck out 125 batters in 109 innings. Senior catcher Kelly Bremer (. 370, 5 HRs, 15 RBI) and senior infielder Anna Eckholm (. 429, 5 HRs, 23 RBI), both all-conference and all-area last season, give the Maroons a solid core in the infield, with junior Sabrina Stockman, who got in some varsity time last season, in line at 2B. Sophomore Jessica Rago returns to pitch and play 1B after hitting .303 with 4 homers and 18 RBI last season. She was also 4-4 in the circle as a freshman. Senior Melanie Berg also returns in the outfield, as does senior Nora Stanley. "We're a sleeper team," said Bumbales. "We return more all-conference players than any team in the conference and if we stay healthy we can be a team to be reckoned with at the end of the season." The Maroons are scheduled to play four games between now and Monday, but will most likely open the season March 27 with a game against Hampshire in the Rosemont Dome.

Hampshire Whip-PursCoach: Stacey Stepek (2nd year, 11-19)

Conference: Fox Valley (Fox)

2013 record: 11-19 (4-7 FVC Fox)

Top returning athletes: Sara Finn (Sr., C/SS/OF), Rebecca Hurst (Sr., 1B/P), Brittany Sujet (Sr. OF), Ashley VanAcker (Sr. OF), Haley Widmayer (Jr., P/2B), Aly Snider (So., C/SS), Ellie Lapi (So. 3B), Hannah Detiveaux (Sr., Utility).

Top newcomers: Peyton DeChant (Fr., SS/C), Erin Doyle (Fr., 2B/OF), Renee Malecke (Fr., 2B/OF).

Season outlook: Stacey Stepek begins her second year as Whip-Purs' coach with 7 returning starters, including senior Sara Finn, an all-conference catcher last season who hit .412 with 19 RBI and 21 stolen bases. She will matriculate to Wisconsin-Whitewater next season. Senior Becca Hurst hit .333 last year with 27 RBI. She will play next year at Wisconsin-Superior. Junior Haley Widmayer will take over in the circle after seeing limited action behind the graduated Jen Hurst last season. "We have five seniors so we're old in a sense but we're still young," said Stepek. "The girls are meshing and it's exciting. They're looking good. If our pitching holds up we should be competitive. We'll be young at spots but the girls look quicker, stronger and they've matured." The Whips will likely go with a freshman middle infield of Erin Doyle at 2B and Peyton DeChant at SS. DeChant has drawn rave reviews as a potential future standout. "We just have to keep her grounded," Stepek said. "She respects the coaching staff, she respects her teammates and she loves the game." Staying healthy will also be a key. "We only kept 11 so we need to avoid injuries," Stepek said. "We want to keep the kids who are committed to playing in the offseason. We've got more flexibility this year. We can move people around more. We'll out the ball in Haley's hands in the circle and hope she steps up as a junior." Hampshire will open the season Monday morning with a doubleheader in the Rosemont Dome against Class 3A sectional champ Wauconda.

Huntley Red Raiders

Coach: Mark Petryniec (11th year, 182-164)

Conference: Fox Valley (Valley)

2013 record: 22-12 (5-7 FVC Valley)

Top returning players: Mackenzie Brown (Sr., OF), Angela Tribuzio (Sr., C-DP-1B), Brittany Koss (Sr., 2B), Michelle Caputi (Sr., Utility), Haley Spannraft (Jr., P), Tamara Funke (Jr., 1B), Shannon Walsh (Jr., OF), Jessica Knutsen (Jr., C), Katelyn Behrens (Jr., Utility), Jessica Shields (So., IF-OF), Megan Baczewski (So., 3B/P)

Key newcomers: Taylor Stone (Sr.), Megan Larson (Jr.), Haley O'Mara (So.), Kateri Conklin (Fr., P).

Outlook: Huntley returns 8 starters and 9 total players from last year's 22-win squad. Junior Haley Spannraft was an all-conference and all-area pick after hitting .452 and going 17-11 in the circle with a 2.31 ERA. Sophomore Jessica Sheilds and junior Tamara Funke both hit .371, while senior Mackenzie Brown batted .333. "The players have a tremendous work ethic and came into the preseason ready to compete," said coach Mark Petryniec. "We have depth at every position this season, which should make us competitive pitching, fielding and hitting against our opponents." Huntley hit .338 as a team last year with 14 home runs and 180 runs scored. "We are looking to improve upon those numbers," the coach said. Defense has been a key emphasis in the preseason. "We feel if we cut down our defensive miscues, we will be more competitive in our close ballgames," said Petryniec. "Five of our losses last season were by two runs or less." Spannraft is in her third season as a varsity pitcher. "Haley made great strides from her freshman to sophomore season and we're looking for even greater improvement this season," said Petryniec. "Kateri Conklin is a great addition to our roster and will help limit the number of innings we were forced to use Haley the last two seasons." Sophomore Megan Baczewski gives Huntley further pitching depth. "If our pitching, hitting and fielding come together, we will be a very competitive team to play against this season," said Petryniec.

Jacobs Golden EaglesCoach: Jeremy Bauer (11th season, 231-112)

Conference: Fox Valley (Valley)

2013 record: 18-13 (6-6 FVC Valley)

Top returning players: Alyssa Lach (Sr., 3B), Sarah Murray (So., SS), Emily Borg (So., IF-P)

Key newcomers: Hailey Lonigro (Jr., utility), Katie Borchert (So., utility)

Outlook: Jacobs should be improved on the strength of having 6 of its 9 starters back. Nine of the 12 players this year were on the varsity roster a year ago. Coach Jeremy Bauer said defense should be a key strength. He also said senior third-baseman Alyssa Lach, along with sophomores Sarah Murray and Emily Borg are three Jacobs players to keep an eye on. Lach, a Butler recruit, is the area's leading returning hitter, having swung for a .543 average last season. "Our goal is to win the FVC and win a regional," said Bauer. "The biggest obstacle is the quality of teams in this area and the fact we will play some of them three times."

Larkin RoyalsCoach: Anne Vogt (3rd year, 5-57)

Conference: Upstate Eight River

2013 record: 3-27 (2-16 UEC River)

Top returning athletes: Sam Wahl (So., OF), Sarah Hansen (Jr., P), Bekah Harrington (Jr., 2B/C), Alex Bednarski (Sr., SS), Maria Rojo (Sr., P/INF), Rachel Martinez (Sr., 1B).

Top newcomers: Beth Aquinaga (So., OF), Sophie Young (Fr., C/1B), Emily Rojo (Fr., P/Util.), Jenny Beltran (Fr., Util.).

Season outlook: While some varsity experience returns, the Royals look to be a young team this season with three freshmen and two sophomores called up to the varsity. But that doesn't deter coach Anne Vogt's enthusiasm about the collective group. "We're half young and half juniors/seniors," Vogt said. "This is probably one of the most talented teams I've had and they're all working hard and very dedicated." The Royals' pitching looks to be deeper with junior Sarah Hansen bringing back varsity experience, and sophomore Maria Rojo and freshman Emily Rojo ready to contribute. "Pitching will be our big question mark," Vogt said. "Sarah Hansen looks better than ever and she's a very smart kid. We've got some other girls who have pitched before. I really think this will be one of most competitive years we've had recently. They get along well and it's a good group of girls who want to be part of our building process. The excitement at workouts is impressive at this point." Vogt will be assisted this season by former Larkin and Eastern Illinois standout Kiley Holtz and her dad, Doug, a longtime area assistant who spent the last four years at Elgin as an assistant coach and who has formerly coached at Larkin as well.

South Elgin StormCoach: Stephanie Katzenberger (1st year)

Conference: Upstate Eight Valley

2013 record: 19-15 (11-8 UEC Valley)

Top returning athletes: Alyssa Buddle (Sr., C), Paige Allen (Sr., P/OF), Sam Helton (Sr., 3B), Mallory Mecklenburg (Sr., OF), Cassidy Westlund (So., C. OF).

Top newcomers: Alexa Rogalla (So., SS), Rachel Ziemba (Jr., P/OF).

Season outlook: The returning talent is abundant for new Storm coach Stephanie Katzenberger, and starts with returning all-area captain Alyssa Buddle, a James Madison recruit who is the top catcher and one of the top hitters in the area. Buddle hit .505 with 8 HRs and 39 RBI last season, helping the Storm to a regional championship. She also made only 2 errors behind the plate. "We don't have a dominant pitcher," said Katzenberger. "We have strong pitching and with somebody that experienced behind the plate it makes you feel a lot better." Also returning is senior Paige Allen, who will pitch and play the outfield. She hit .337 with 15 RBI last season and was the workhorse of the pitching staff with 111 innings. Senior Sam Helton (3B, .315), senior Mallory Mecklenburg (OF., .271) and sophomore Cassidy Westlund (So., C/OF, .322) give the Storm the core of what could be a very potent offense. "We have nine returning players so our experience will be one of our strengths along with our hitting and speed on the bases," said Katzenberger, who was the JV coach at Oak Lawn the past seven years after a successful eight-year stint at Walther Lutheran, where she won three regional titles. "We hope that consistent pitching, strong defense and timely hitting bring this team a lot of success on the field. This is one of the first programs I've come into where I see such a high level of talent. They're working hard and they have a ton of skill. It will be important for them to be mentally prepared and goal-oriented. A big thing with me is that nobody is going to hand you anything. You have to earn it. These senior girls are a strong tight group. I feel good about them." The Storm will open the season on Wednesday with a doubleheader in the Rosemont Dome against a team Katzenberger won't need a scouting report on -- Oak Lawn.

St. Edward Green WaveCoach: Jaci Corn (4th year, 41-44)

Conference: Suburban Christian Blue

2013 record: 13-14 (6-8 SCC Blue)

Top returning athletes: Julie Larson (Sr., 1B), Jasmine DeLeon (Sr., 2B/OF), Kelly Theriault (Sr., 3B/C/OF), Ryann Scully (Jr., C/3B/SS), Megan Strong (Jr., INF/OF), Allison Stratman (So., C/3B/1B/OF), Lindsay Zdroik (So., P/1B/OF).

Top newcomers: Rachel Lesh (So., INF/OF), Devyn Ernst (Fr., SS/C/OF), Emily Stapay (Fr., P/1B/OF), Carolina Vargas (Jr., 2B/OF), Clarissa Vargas (So., 1B/OF), Leslikarina Patino (So., INF/OF), Shannon McShane (Jr., 3B/1B/OF), Kennedy Clute (So., 3B/OF), Jackie Boydston (Fr., P/2B/OF), Kaitlin Freeman (Fr., C/OF), Ashley Soto (Fr., INF/OF).

Season outlook: The Green Wave returns a solid core of players with varsity experience and will have more depth this year with an 18-player roster. Sophomore Lindsay Zdroik (8-8, 1.83 ERA, 100Ks in 103 IP) returns to the circle after a successful freshman season, when she also hit .277 and had 15 RBI. There are only 3 seniors on the team this season -- Julie Larson (1B, .279, 8 RBI), Jasmine DeLeon (2B/OF, .280) and Kelly Theriault (3B/C/OF), but they were all varsity starters a year ago. Also returning from the 2013 team are junior Ryann Scully (. 366, 2 HRs, 18 RBI), an honorable mention all-area pick last year who can play multiple positions, junior Megan Strong (INF/OF), and sophomore Allison Stratman (. 286, 13 RBI), who can also play multiple positions. "We start each season with a goal to win conference, win a regional and go as far as possible in the postseason," said Wave coach Jaci Corn. "We want to win. We have been working extremely hard on and off the field, trying to build team chemistry and mental toughness with confidence, focus and determination." This will be St. Edward's last go-round in the Suburban Christian Conference as the school joins the Metro Suburban next year. Corn lists Montini, St. Francis and Chicago Christian as the top teams in the Blue Division.

Streamwood SabresCoach: Nick Baird (6th year)

Conference: Upstate Eight River

2013 record: 5-23 (2-15 UEC River)

Top returning players: Kaitlyn Hedger (Sr., P-1B-OF), Mercedes Olmos (Sr., OF), Olivia Reyna (Sr., IF), Sarah Cimino (Sr., OF), Melissa Malcom (Jr., IF), Natalie Filippo (Jr., C-IF), Jessica Daley (So., P-IF-OF)

Key newcomers: Daniela Lopez (Sr., IF-OF), Gaby Zavala (Sr., OF), Josalynn King (Sr., OF-3B), Stephanie Soto (Sr., C-1B), Katie Purcell (Sr., P-1B), Sydney Mugnai (Sr., 3B-OF), Taylor Williams (Jr., 1B-OF-C), Andrea Rodriguez (Jr., IF-OF)

Outlook: Streamwood returns veteran varsity talent. Senior Kaitlyn Hedger is a four-year player, while junior Melissa Malcom, an all-UEC pick last year, is in her third season, as is junior Natalie Filippo. "We have some experience that has played on the varsity level," said Sabres' coach Nick Baird. "We have some pitchers that have been working hard in the off-season and will be able to keep us in games." Offensively, Baird sees a lineup that should feature some power capabilities. "We need to keep working on our small ball to be able to score on a more consistent basis," he said. Baird said the team is hard at work improving on the defensive end. "Our goal is to get better and improve every day as a program," he said. "We play in a very difficult conference and we want to compete against those teams on a daily basis."

Westminster Christian WarriorsCoach: John Wedell (4th season, 28-35)

Conference: Northeastern Athletic

2013 record: 12-9 (8-2 NAC)

Top returning players: Rachel Fugiel (Sr., P-SS), Mikyala Hodge (Sr., SS), Becca Fugiel (So., P-1B), Jackie Calabrese (So., C-3B)

Key newcomers: Jessie Sutter (Jr., IF-OF), Sarah Schmitt (Fr., IF)

Outlook: Westminster is coming off a 2013 campaign where it won a regional title and coach John Wedell earned a regional coach of the year honor. Senior Rachel Fugiel earned all-area and all-conference first-team honors after hitting .523 and scoring 28 runs. Sophomores Becca Fugiel and Jackie Calabrese were second-team all-conference picks. Becca Fugiel hit .538 and had 43 RBI, while Calabrese hit .323. Hodge hit .375 last year. "We are looking to repeat our performance at regionals and compete for a sectional championship, as well as having a shot at winning our conference," said Wedell. "With the return of our battery and infield along with the additions of Jessie Sutter and Sarah Schmitt, we should be able to pick up where we left off last year. Our team speed should be better along with our pitching, so we expect to be more competitive than last year." Wedell noted roster depth will be a factor that will need to be monitored. "Our concern is the lack of size in our roster, which will be challenged if we have any injuries or illness," Wedell said Alden-Hebron will be a conference team to keep an eye on. "Alden-Hebron will still be a force to be reckoned with, but we will do everything we can to give them a battle," he said.

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