By John Lemon
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Haley Beno, St. Charles East
After pitching St. Charles East to a runner-up Class 4A state finish as a junior with a 23-6 record, Beno returned for another outstanding season as a senior. Beno finished with a 20-5 record, 1 save, 182 strikeouts and an ERA of 1.74. In a 1-0 win over St. Charles North that clinched the conference championship for the Saints, Beno allowed just 2 singles and struck out 10. She will play at Olivet Nazarene next year. "Haley grew into a mature pitcher," St. Charles East coach Kelly Horan said. "Lights out when she needs to be. A team can only go as far as their pitcher can take them. With an ERA under 2 she kept her team in all the games."
Lanie Callaghan, Kaneland
The two-time All-Area player capped a fabulous four years at Kaneland by hitting .438 with 4 home runs, 21 RBI, 33 runs and 9 doubles. She had a .495 on-base percentage and .697 slugging percentage while playing another great season of center field. "Lanie has been a model of consistency throughout her four years with me both offensively and defensively," Kaneland coach Brian Willis said. "There has not been another batter in her time here that I would want up in a clutch situation. Her leadership grew through the years and she matured as a person and a softball player. Players like her don't come around often. I hope there is another one in the near future for Kaneland."
Sarah Collalti, St. Charles East
Saints coach Kelly Horan calls this senior outfielder: "A legit triple threat. Can slap/bunt but also contains great power." Collalti hit .470 in the regular season with a .613 on-base percentage, .610 slugging percentage, 2 home runs, 24 RBI, 42 runs and 24 stolen bases. She will play at Olivet Nazarene next year. "Sarah is probably the most underrated player out there," Horan said. "Her injury junior year that kept her out a month prevented her from so many honors. She was crucial to our success in 2013 and is the picture of consistency in 2014. Her power numbers have increased since sophomore year making her a legit triple threat."
Anna Geary, Geneva
The two-time All-Area selection played hurt all season and still hit .404 with 40 hits, 25 runs, 6 doubles, 3 home runs and 17 RBI while only striking out 5 times in 99 at-bats. As a sophomore she batted .429 and just missed a Geneva school record with 54 hits. "Geary was a warrior for us this year," Geneva coach Greg Dierks said. "She battled through pain in her knee and back and still had a great year. She was voted as MVP by her teammates because they are all aware of how tough it was to perform every day."
Mickey Goetz, St. Charles North
A three-year starter at shortstop for the North Stars is now a three-year All-Area selection with three very consistent seasons at the plate and in the field. As a sophomore Goetz hit .391 with 3 home runs and 23 RBI, returned to hit .333 with 30 runs and 24 RBI her junior year and finished her senior season by posting a .398 batting average with 27 runs and 28 RBI. "Mickey got better throughout the year," St. Charles North coach Tom Poulin said. "She is a leader by example."
Abby Howlett, St. Charles North
This junior first baseman broke out last year with a .510 batting average, 2 home runs and 39 RBI. She committed to Northern Illinois in the offseason, then returned for her third year playing varsity softball and put up more big numbers. The two-time All-Area pick batted .407 with a .703 slugging percentage with 11 doubles, 2 triples and 4 home runs. Drove in a team-high 39 runs. "Abby adjusted to hitting fourth and continued to improve her game in all areas," St. Charles North coach Tom Poulin said. "We are very proud of her growth as a leader this season as well. She is another ideal representative for our school and program. Abby excels on the field and in the classroom."
Tess Hupe, St. Charles East
This senior outfielder and three-year starter set the tone for the Upstate Eight Conference River champions from the leadoff spot, getting on base at a .532 clip while hitting .504 with an area-best 67 hits, 4 triples, 17 RBI, 22 stolen bases and 38 runs scored. In the team's biggest game of the regular season, Hupe went 3-for-3 and scored the only run in a 1-0 win over St. Charles North. "A lefty slapper/bunter who can swing," St. Charles East coach Kelly Horan said. "She's our rock. She's also great defensively." Hupe will play next year at the University of Illinois-Springfield.
Cara Jimenez, West Aurora
This unanimous all-DuPage Valley Conference selection hit .449 with 4 home runs and 30 RBI. Those numbers would have been even better if other teams gave her more to hit. "A feared hitter that many teams simply pitch around," West Aurora coach Randy Hayslett said. "Combines power with a keen eye at the plate -- patient enough to get her pitch to drive. Pounds the low strikes back up the middle as well as anyone. Very composed, always has the same steady approach at the plate. Always gets her at-bat. And she is getting better. A steady presence at third base with a very accurate arm. Intelligent ballplayer."
Kate Peterburs, St. Charles East
With a .429 batting average, .661 slugging percentage, 4 home runs, 35 RBI and 30 runs, few people could bash the ball like the Saints' cleanup hitter. A repeat All-Area performer. "Probably the best third baseman in our area," St. Charles East coach Kelly Horan said. "She is a tremendous player. Kate plays out of position for us (she is normally a third baseman) and is still one of the best first baseman out there. She's a great player that could be an All-American in college." Peterburs will play at Wisconsin Parkside next year.
Sabrina Rabin, St. Charles North
Now a three-time All-Area selection and two-time All-Area captain, the Northwestern-bound Rabin went 13-7 with 86 strikeouts while batting a team-high .469 with 6 doubles, 5 triples, 28 steals, 32 RBI and 35 runs. As a junior hit .534 with a .602 on-base percentage and stole 35 bases in 36 tries while finishing 18-4 with a 1.49 ERA. "Sabrina has had another outstanding season for us," St. Charles North coach Tom Poulin said. "Sabrina has had an extraordinary four years of varsity softball for us and we will miss her so much."
Annika Radabaugh, Geneva
An all-conference selection as a freshman, Radabaugh burst onto the softball scene with a record-setting season of crushing the ball. Radabaugh's 11 home runs broke the Geneva single-season record by 3. Finished with a .355 batting average, .766 slugging percentage, 9 doubles those 11 home runs, 27 runs and 31 RBI -- the last three team-highs. Hit safely in 17 of 19 conference games. "Annika had a remarkable year for a first-year varsity player," Geneva coach Greg Dierks said. "Her 11 home runs stand out but she also led our team in runs scored and RBI. Among the 11 home runs are blasts off both Most Valuable Pitchers as voted by the coaches (Haley Beno from St. Charles East and Shannon Hohlman from Waubonsie Valley)."