Goranson aims to get it going at Oakton

A familiar name in local softball circles is taking over the reins of the Oakton College softball program.

Jim Goranson, the only father who has had two daughters serve as honorary captains for the Daily Herald’s Cook County all-area softball team, will direct the Des Plaines junior college team.

For the last three seasons, Goranson has served as the head coach at Regina High in Wilmette.

“The goal is to always leave something in better shape than when you started with it,” said Goranson, whose children all graduated from Elk Grove High School. “And I firmly believe that Regina softball is better now than when I started there.”

Now Goranson hopes to jump-start Oakton into the national softball spotlight at the junior college level.

The former St. Viator football player watched his daughter Nikki help Kankakee Community College place second and third in the nation among junior colleges in 2011 and 2012.

Nikki was the Daily Herald all-area honorary captain in 2009 while her younger sister Dani, now a freshman pitcher for Michigan State, was the honorary captain in 2012.

“The administration at Oakton has made a commitment to upgrade the facilities for the softball program.,” Goranson said. “The baseball team at Oakton (under coach Bill Fratto) is already among the top teams in the nation and we would like to see the softball team head in that same direction.”

Goranson, who also directs the Illinois Bash softball program, is hoping for the support of the Mid-Suburban League and surrounding northwest suburban high school softball teams to build his Oakton program.

“There is so much talent in the MSL and this area that a lot of kids may get overlooked while making the step to the next level,” Goranson said. “We will be the steppingstone to bridge those kids going from high school to college.”

In addition to Dani, Goranson had two other children compete at the Division I level, His son Jim, played football at Illinois and Georgetown while daughter Melanie competed in track and field at Western Illinois.

His most decorated son, Michael was awarded a Purple Heart for his actions in Iraq as a Marine as well.

Sports Notes trivia

Daughters Nikki and Dani of the above-mentioned Jim Goranson played for Ken Grams, Elk Grove’s Hall of Fame softball coach. Dick Trent has been Grams’ longtime assistant. Name a former assistant who pitched on the Grams’ 1982 state runner-up team.

Women’s softball

Valdosta State freshman Hanna Lythberg was one of three Blazers named to the 10-player Gulf South Conference all tournament team.

Lythberg, The GSC pitcher of the week, threw back-to-back shutouts and helped her team (40-9) earn two narrow victories over Delta State and West Florida while winning the GSC tourney.

Lythberg, who now holds a 1.50 ERA, gave up 10 hits in the two games. She struck out seven, walked only three batters and induced 26 groundouts. With the wins, Lythberg’s record now stands at 15-3.

Ÿ North Central College freshman Andrea Starr (pitcher/outfielder) had 17 hits, 3 doubles, 2 home runs, 15 RBI and a .347 batting average this season for the 35-12 Cardinals.

She also started 14 games on the mound and went 10-4 with a 3.25 earned-run average in 69 innings pitched. She struck out 48 batters and walked only 12.


Ÿ Knox outfielder Erik Smoy (Hoffman Estates) was selected to the All-Midwest Conference South Division first team for the third time.

Smoy finished the season with a .364 average, 2 home runs, 47 hits, and 37 RBI. He led the team with a .419 on base percentage and he was sixth in the MWC in RBI.

Smoy struck out just four times in 132 at-bats, ranking him eighth in the nation as the toughest hitter to strike out.

Ÿ Oakton College sophomore outfielder Joe Walsh (Palatine) was named to the Division II Region IV All-North Central District all-region Team.

He was also named the region’s player of the year. For the season, Walsh batted .412, boasted 51 runs batted in, and led NJCAA Division II in doubles with 26.

On May 12, he suffered a serious injury during the championship game of the NJCAA Region IV Sectional Tournament against Black Hawk College-Moline, when he was struck in the head with a line drive. Walsh was taken to the hospital and has since been released.

Oakton’s Josh Jyawook (Fremd) was also selected to the all-region first team.

His 412 batting average and 20 stolen bases were tops among all Oakton players.

Ÿ Oakton sophomore pitcher John Perez (Maine West), who went 5-1 with a 2.92 earned run average on the mound, was chosen to the Division II All-North Central District Region IV All-Region Baseball second team.

UW-Whitewater junior right-handed pitcher Scott Plaza (Prospect) earned First Team honors on the WIAC all-tourney team.

Plaza went 6-0 this spring, and had the third best earned run average in the league at 2.23, with 26 strikeouts and 5 walks.

As one of four right-handers, Plaza helped the Whitewater staff compile the best earned run average in the league at 3.64.

Whitewater (33-5) was the only team to have more than twice as many strikeouts as walks.

Ÿ Concordia-Chicago senior pitcher J.P. Kulick (Buffalo Grove) closed out his team’s 13-3 win over the Milwaukee School of Engineering by retiring the side in order in the seventh. He finished the game with a flourish, getting the final out on a batter swinging at a third strike to wrap up the Northern Athletics Conference title-clinching victory.

Senior pitcher Bobby Beelen (Wheeling) sophomore hurler Kurt Kempema (Schaumburg H.S.) are also former MSL players who have been big contributers to Concordia’s success this season.

The wins gave the Cougars their sixth straight season of 30 or more wins. The team won its 100th game for coach Adam Smith when the Cougars beat Illinois Wesleyan 5-0.

Smith is a former Schaumburg-Carthage College player. He also was named NAC coach of the year for the second time in three years.

Ÿ Schaumburg three-year varsity catcher Brayden Teele has committed to play baseball at Aurora University.

Ÿ St. Viator seniors Roy Pettingill (first baseman/designated hitter) and Adam Naliwajko (catcher) have committed to play baseball at Webster University in St. Louis, Mo.

Illinois Wesleyan commitments

Elk Grove senior Austin Amann (men’s basketball), Schaumburg guard Amanda Kelly (women’s basketball), Wheeling guard Jessica Zuba (women’s basketball), Conant’s Peter Gallagher (lacrosse) Conant’s Josh Rhodes (lacrosse), Hoffman Estates’ defender Alex Tooren (men’s soccer) and Conant’s Joe Faso (football) have committed to play for Illinois Wesleyan.

Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma

When the Fremd and Palatine softball teams played on May 10, a total of $3,428 was raised on Non Hodgkins Lymphoma Day.

Brenda Schwantz, mother of Fremd pitcher Ashylnne, headed up the event played in the honor of the late Dennis Lynch, the longtime Rolling Meadows teacher and coach.

Men’s volleyball

St. Viator senior setter Brennan Harrington, the Lions MVP in 2012, will sign a letter of intent to play volleyball at Saint Ambrose University in Davenport, Iowa.


Hoffman Estates senior free safety/outside linebacker Zack Hommowun, a team captain and all-conference selection in the Mid-Suburban League, has committed to Illinois College in Jacksonville Illinois.


Hersey senior Hunter Rollins, who took fifth place in 2012 and second this year at the IHSA State Individual wrestling finals, has signed a letter of intent to wrestle for Central Michigan University.


For the first time, TEAMMSLbasketball is offering summer camps for juniors (boys and girls kindergarten through fourth grade), girls (fifth though ninth grade) and boys fifth through ninth grade at Harper Community College.

Session 1 begins July 16 and Session 2 begins July 23. The emphasis of both sessions will be plyometrics, skill development and lots of games. Registration is now open and spots are limited. Go to

Flag football

You can join former Chicago Bear and Super Bowl champion Jim Schwantz for the inaugural season of the Northwest Flag Football League.

Coach Schwantz will lead all practices and the emphasis will be on the fundamentals of football.

Equal playing time for practices and games at all positions is guaranteed.

Registration is now open. Only 15 spots remain for the college league (third and fourth grade) and only 25 spots remain for the pro league (grades fifth and sixth).

The season begins Aug. 13 and ends Sept. 28 (every Tuesday and Thursday with no weekends or travel). For more information go to

Oakton camp

Kindergarten through high school seniors (boys and girls) are invited to hone their basketball skills at Oakton’s camp.

The coaches on the school’s experienced athletic staff and students at the Des Plaines campus will run the camp from June 24 to 27.

For a registration form or for more details, contact Oakton men’s basketball coach Mick Reuter at (847) 635-1753 or

Women’s volleyball

Schaumburg senior all-area Kelly Koutnik has signed a letter of intent to play volleyball for Grand View University in Iowa (NAIA).

Men’s track

North Central sophomore Travis Morrison (Schaumburg) placed 20th with a time of 30:26.43 at the First Chance Invitational to earn a spot in the 10,000-meter run of the NCAA Division III Outdoor National Championships to be held Thursday through Saturday at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse.

North Central junior Dionte Hackler (Schaumburg) is a member of the Cardinals’ 4-by-400-meter relay qualifying quartet that ranks 13th after securing a time of 3:14.78 at the Gregory Invitational last Friday.

Knights’ walk

The Knights 14th Annual Run/Walk for Fitness, a 5K Race/ two-mile walk, will be on Memorial Day, May 27 at 8 a.m. at the Prospect Field House.

It is $20 for adults and teens and $10 for middle school runners and all walkers.

All proceeds are to benefit future long-term Athletic Booster projects.

Preregistration and race packet pick up is Friday, May 24 from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. in the Jean Walker Field House foyer.

For information, call Kathleen Gabriel at (847) 567-1215.

Trivia answer

Cindy Sunagel was the pitcher for the 1982 Grens, who were directed that season by co-coaches Ken Grams and Doug Millstone. Sunagel and Dani Goranson share the Grens’ single-season school record of 29 wins.

Ÿ Please email Sports Notes items to or FAX to (847) 427-1173.

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