Steph Abello, Benet
The junior catcher had a season that most seniors just dream about, and she gets another shot at improving on it. She led the team in RBI with 63 and home runs with 22. She also hit .481. The University of Illinois-bound player worked well with the pitching staff and was crucial to Benet finishing 30-3 this season.
Jessica Andree, Downers Grove South
The senior shortstop's efforts were crucial in helping the Mustangs reach a sectional final and win 25 games. She led the team in doubles with 14, slammed 7 home runs and racked up 38 RBI. She hit .423 and will continue playing softball at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee.
Sydney Benz, Glenbard North
The Panthers advanced to the Class 4A semifinals thanks to a number of key players, and their senior shortstop is certainly one of them. The leadoff hitter hit .393 with 12 doubles, 4 triples and 6 home runs. She'll play college softball at Louisville. Coach Josh Sanew believes she should be all-state because her stats are better than last year when she did receive all-state honors.
Kailee Budicin, Naperville North
The University of Dayton-bound senior catcher finished up as one her school's all-time leading hitters. She led this season's Huskies with a .532 average with 5 home runs and was second on the team in RBI and doubles. "She is just an amazing player that is such a competitor," said coach Jerry Kedziora. "She is the definition of a complete softball player."
Payton Carli, Glenbard South
The sophomore outfielder continued to provide the kind of play that was crucial to the Raiders going deep in the postseason again. Carli hit .496 with 16 RBI. Her quickness boosted the Raiders' lineup, and she finished with 20 stolen bases. "Payton has developed into an amazing leadoff hitter who will only get better next year," Raiders coach Julie Fonda said. "She has a very high softball IQ. The sky is the limit for her."
Jessica Conenna, IC Catholic Prep
The junior pitcher was an asset to the Knights at the plate and in the circle and is already committed to play for Northern Illinois University. She won 14 games with a 198 strikeouts to 68 walks ratio with a 1.21 ERA. She hit .570 with 37 RBI, and her efforts helped IC Catholic Prep reach a Class 2A sectional final.
Maddi Doane, Naperville Central
The Redhawks' leadoff hitter was a valuable spark to the Naperville Central offense that was the big factor in the team reach a supersectional. The senior center fielder hit .441 and led the team in RBI, home runs and triples and had 3 game-winning RBI. She will play next at Syracuse University.
Cece Dopart, Glenbard North
The pitcher had a senior season that most players can only dream about and obviously was very critical to the Panthers reaching state. Her impressive numbers included a 24-4 record, 285 strikeouts to 30 walks and a 1.00 ERA. "One of the best pitchers in the state, if not the best," coach Josh Sanew said. She will continue at Division II Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Fla.
Marissa Gagliano, Wheaton Academy
The senior shortstop finished her final season with the Warriors hitting .623 with an on-base percentage of .723 and she stole 24 bases out of 25 attempts. In the field she had a .977 fielding percentage and made just 3 errors in 124 chances. "She is a leader both on the field and off and has been instrumental in the success of the Wheaton Academy program," coach Paul Gagliano said. She will play at Radford University in Virginia.
Lindsey Gonzalez, Naperville Central
The sophomore second baseman will be crucial to the Redhawks continuing their success in 2015. She hit .467 with 27 RBI and 4 game-winning RBI. She also led the team in doubles with 16. A starter on last year's 32-4 team, Gonzalez already has won 60 games at the varsity level with two years left to add to her impressive numbers.
Keegan Hayes, Naperville Central
The soon-to-be Northern Illinois University pitcher won 17 games with more than 100 strikeouts as the Redhawks' No. 1 pitcher. She hit .313 and led the team with 5 game-winning RBI along with 9 doubles and 4 home runs. "Keegan Hayes is kind of the rock of the (recruiting class)," said NIU coach Christina Sutcliffe when the Huskies' recruiting class was announced late last year.
Shannon Hohman, Waubonsie Valley
The biggest thing that the Warriors like about the junior is she'll be back next season before heading to Miami University in Ohio. The Upstate Eight Conference Pitcher of the Year finished 16-6 with a 1.52 ERA and a 161 strikeouts to 55 walks ratio. At the plate she led the team in RBI and home runs and her efforts helped the Warriors finish 27-8. "Shannon is going to get stronger next year and just take care of keeping improving," coach Valerie Wood said.
Jamie O'Brien, Neuqua Valley
The Upstate Eight Conference Player of the Year hit .389 with a .445 on-base percentage and knocked in 22 RBI and will continue playing softball at Loyola University in Chicago. "Jamie's skills, leadership and work ethic are quite impressive and made a huge impact in our program over the past four years. She leads by example and is fun to watch," coach Melissa Wilson said of her senior shortstop.
Marissa Panko, Benet
Another reason why the Redwings were a dominant team this season was Panko. She hit .504 with 43 RBI and 10 home runs along with 8 stolen bases. The senior shortstop heads to Northwestern. "She has great athleticism that will impact our game immediately on both sides of the ball," said Northwestern coach Kate Drohan in a press release announcing the Wildcats' latest recruiting class.
Carley Pasquale, St. Francis
The junior outfielder had a big impact on the Spartans' offense hitting .467 with a .580 on-base percentage and she stole 16 bases. "This is a kid who really focused her talent this year," coach Ralph Remus said. "She loves to play the game and gives energy to the rest of the team. When she is always on base, it puts pressure on the opposing team."
Julianne Rurka, Benet
The senior third baseman was an integral part of a hitting attack that could put the hurt on opponents in just one inning. Rurka hit .484 with 47 RBI and 9 home runs. She will play at Providence. "With Julianne you are getting a student of the game and a coach on the field," said Benet coach Jerry Schilf in a press release by Providence announcing softball national letter of intent signings.
Dale Ryndak, Downers Grove North
The Daily Herald All-Area captain and Illinois Gatorade Player of the Year racked up numbers in the circle that go beyond impressive. The Arizona State-bound Ryndak finished 22-2 with a 219-11 strikeouts-to-walks ratio with 17 shutouts, 1 perfect game and 1 no-hitter. "I have been a high school coach for nine years. Without a doubt Dale Ryndak is the most talented and impressive player I have come across," coach Eric Landschoot said.
Sam Schmidt, Willowbrook
Already committed to play for Northern Illinois after next season, the junior shortstop's numbers this spring give plenty of reason why colleges were interested in her early. She hit .583 with 51 RBI, 16 home runs and 15 doubles. "There's no denying Sam has been essential to recent successes of our program. Her confidence and ability to change the game with one swing is truly amazing," said Willowbrook coach Rachel Karos.
Abby Solem, York
The sophomore third baseman made a big leap from her freshman season to this spring and helped the Dukes reach a sectional semifinal. She led the team in both RBI and home runs. Solem was second on the team in doubles with 13. "Abby is a very tough out in our lineup and does not chase a lot of bad pitches," coach Drew McGuire said. "Her play at third base is developing every day and she is becoming a tremendous threat on the field."
Lauren Trojnar, Montini
The Broncos reached a supersectional, won 27 games and went undefeated in conference. The junior pitcher was crucial to that success. She finished the season 20-6 with 103 strikeouts to 32 walks. She contributed at the plate with a .422 average and 22 RBI and stole 12 bases. "Lauren had a great year. She has been the heart and soul of our team for the past three seasons and just keeps getting better," coach Richie Costante said.