Scouting DuPage County softball
Coach: Mark Olson
Last year: 12-20, 5-7 in West Suburban Gold; lost 8-0 to St. Charles East in Class 4A regional semifinal at Conant.
Top players: Alyssa McMahan, sr. 1B; Nicolette Napoli, sr. OF; Jessica Bach, jr. 3B; Allysa Pham, jr. C; Marie Baumgartner, jr. IF; Nicci Scorza, so. IF.
Scouting report: Youth will be served for Blazers softball this season with a limited amount of seniors. But Napoli and McMahan are three-year starters, and Bach, Baumgartner and Scorza all played significant time as underclassmen. Top newcomer freshman Sophia Hawkins will contribute both in the outfield and behind the plate. "We have a real nice group of girls with great character, but in terms of softball it will be a little bit of a baptism by fire for us this spring," Olson said. "In all honesty we will struggle some with so many young players, so the challenge will be to stay positive early if we're taking some lumps."
Coach: Jerry Schilf
Last year: 16-16, 10-8, fourth in East Suburban Catholic Conference; lost in Class 4A regional semifinals 2-0 to Plainfield East.
Top players: Megan Stoppelman, sr. P; Allie Goettsch, so., SS; Alexis Potapczak, so., 2B/3B; Brooklyn Baccega, sr., CF; Meagan McCormick, jr., C.
Scouting report: Stoppelman, a four-year starter verbally committed to University of Chicago, pitched the Redwings to a regional title her freshman year and a conference title her sophomore year. Sophomores Goettsch and Potapaczak are already getting college interest. McCormick is moving from third base to catcher, while Baccega is switching from left field to center field. "We have a good mixture of youth and experience, but we will go as far as Megan Stoppelman will carry us," said Schilf, whose squad will have to replace the power of All-Area sluggers Steph Abello and Emily York, who are now playing in college. Benet could be a tough out in the playoffs after moving down to Class 3A this season.
Downers Grove North
Coach: Eric Landschoot.
Last year: 24-7, 9-3, second in West Suburban Silver; lost in Class 4A regional finals to Plainfield East.
Top players: Katie Polaski, jr. 2B; Zoe Varsbergs, jr. 1B/OF/C; Jaclyn Pasakarnis, sr. SS; Kayelee Newstrom, sr. OF; Savannah Rodriguez, so. P/1B.
Scouting report: Downers North returns many of its top players from 2015, so the program is primed to continue its successful run of recent years. With two solid pitchers and a strong, experienced defense, the Trojans look to hold opposing hitters in check and make yet another competitive run in the Silver among a group of other very talented teams. With seven returning starters from 2015, runs should come in bunches while the pitching and defense attempt to keep opposing runners off the basepaths.
Downers Grove South
Coach: Ron Havelka
Last year: 36-2, 11-0, first in West Suburban Gold; Lost 5-4 in Class 4A supersectional to Marist.
Top players: Caroline Hedgcock, sr. P; Payton Buresch, jr. P; Megan LoBianco, sr. SS; Kristin Lea, sr., 1B; Kristen Bialek, sr. 2B; Nicole Bowman, sr. OF.
Scouting report: The Mustangs return seven starters from a team that reached the supersectionals in 2015 before losing to state champion Marist by a run. Back are both Division I committed pitchers, Hedgcock (Arkansas) and Buresch (James Madison), along with Bialek (Murray State), who had 33 stolen bases and 75 runs scored. Lea set a school record with 81 hits and tied an IHSA season record with 28 doubles last year while hitting .574 with 59 RBI. Havelka, who has guided the Mustangs for 24 years, has a loaded offense this year that also includes Hedgcock, who was 15-1 on the mound but also hit .543 with 10 HR and a school-record 68 RBI. Buresch was 18-1 last spring and is 33-1 on varsity with the Mustangs. "These girls made the supersectional as freshmen, sectional finals as sophomores and got back to the supers last year," Havelka said. "We're hoping to take one more step this year."
Coach: Dave Mello
Last year: 16-20 overall, 1-11 in Metro Suburban Conference; lost 8-4 to Wheaton Academy in Class 3A regional semifinals.
Top players: Diana Pikul, sr. 3B; Ellie Gonzales, sr. SS; Courtney Susmarski, sr. 1B; Alex Stoklosa, sr. C; Jill Mrugacz, sr. OF; Jocelyn Souvannasy, sr. P/2B; Clarissa Guevara, sr. Util.; Jenna Geraci, jr. P; Ellie Wassmann, jr. CF.
Scouting report: The Bison graduated just one senior from last year's team, so plenty of experience returns. However, that one graduate, Dana Fritz, threw 105 innings in 2015 and will be missed. Geraci, who pitched 87 innings, will take on a bigger load but Souvannasy, Taylor Spizzirri and freshman Payton Pugliese will all see action on the mound. Offense should be a strength with Pikul (. 529), Ellie Gonzales (. 386), Susmarksi (. 306), Souvannasy (. 306) and Geraci (. 292) all coming off solid years at the plate, and Wassmann (29 steals) leading a speedy cast that also features Mrugacz and Stoklosa. "Our biggest weakness coming into this season would have to be our fielding since we made over 100 errors last season," Mello said. "However, we are determined to turn fielding into a strength this season." Fenton heads to the Warrior Southern Classic in Tennessee Easter weekend.
Coach: Nikki Simpson.
Last year: 13-22, 7-15 in Upstate Eight Conference; lost 10-0 to Fremd in Class 4A regional semifinals.
Top players: Tori Tyler, so., P; Marissa West, sr., 2B/SS; DoniBrooke Ross, sr., 3B/SS.
Scouting report: The Rams return everyone but three starters this year, which will give them an edge with leaders who have all have varsity experience. "With our seniors leading the team in the middle infield our defense should be our strength," Simpson said. "We also have a lot of experienced hitters this year as well." Three freshmen will see a lot of playing time in certain positions, and the Glenbard East pitching staff also is young this season with two sophomores leading the charge. Tyler, who pitched well last season, is ready to pick up were she left off, while fellow sophomore Elis Versetto also will see significant time and give the Rams some crucial innings on the mound.
Coach: Josh Sanew.
Last year: 9-22, 4-11 in the DuPage Valley Conference; won play-in game before losing 8-2 to Schaumburg in the Class 4A regional semifinals.
Top players: Kayla Quanstrum, jr. C; Trinity Medinah, so. SS; Gabby Melchiorre, jr. 2B/OF; Heather Anderson, jr. 1B/OF; Arianna Kourelis, jr. P
Scouting report: After a magical run to third place in the state in 2014, the Panthers have been hit hard by graduation in each of the last two years. Only three players return from last year so there are some needs to fill. "We have a good group of players that are very hardworking. We have some new faces that should be able to step in and fill some holes," Sanew said. "Defense will be the big question for us with so many new faces, while hitting will be our strongest point." Another big question mark will be pitching, but there is some depth on the mound. Glenbard North will have the most pitchers ever so Sanew says the Panthers can do some different things from that standpoint.
Coach: Julie Fonda
Last year: 25-9, 12-0, first place in Metro Suburban Conference West Division; lost 8-4 to St. Francis in Class 3A sectional semifinal at Montini.
Top players: Payton Carli, sr. CF; Ashley Cohen, sr., P/SS; Aly Miller, sr. C/3B; Reilee Flanagan, sr. RF/IF; Mady Carli, so. OF/2B; Kate Mora, so. 2B; Bailee Flanagan, so. 1B.
Scouting report: With All-Area performer Payton Carli -- recovered from a basketball injury -- and Cohen, Fonda has a pair of four-year varsity players back to lead a program used to winning and making deep postseason runs. Payton Carli hit .504 last year and swiped 40 bases. Miller missed last season with an ACL injury but will play a key role this spring. "We have a really good group. We have some experience mixed in with hungry youth," Fonda said. "The tradition here has been awesome and the seniors do a great job of teaching the others to play the game and to play hard." The Raiders again will be a Class 3A contender and Fonda expects Benet to be a force now that the Redwings have moved down a class from 4A. Riverside-Brookfield and St. Edward should put up a fight as Glenbard South looks to defend its MSC West title.
Coach: Mary McGrane
Last year: 12-19, 3-9 West Suburban Silver; lost 10-0 to Bartlett in the Class 4A regional semifinals (Rolling Meadows Sectional).
Top players: Katherine Porter, jr., IF; Amanda Posegay, sr., IF/OF; Kaitlyn Ohrnstein, sr., OF/IF; Bridget McGregor, sr., 2B; Lexi Gregule, so., CF.
Scouting report: One of the biggest strengths this spring for the Hilltoppers will be senior leadership, as all were starters last year and have embraced the challenge of getting the younger players ready for a tough schedule. "We have 13 players on the roster this spring and all are currently competing for spots on the field," McGrane said. "The lineup will look different the first few weeks of games so I can find out which combination gives us the best chance of competing on a daily basis. Our main goal this spring is to compete for seven innings each game." The team is young on the mound, and three sophomores will all see innings this spring. The Hilltoppers also will rely heavily on their defense to support the young pitching staff.
Coach: Lee Maciejewski
Last year: 19-10, 7-5 in West Suburban Silver; lost 3-2 to Marist in the Class 4A sectional semifinals at Richards.
Top players: Courtney Berlin, sr. P; Alysa Doneske sr., CF; Riley Burr, jr. 3B/P; Taylor Glenn, jr. 1B; Abbi Shaker, jr. C; Lilja Carden, so. RF; Julia Chatterjee, so. SS.
Scouting report: All four all-conference players from last year are gone, but the Red Devils still have six returning starters, including Berlin, a four-year varsity player whose strong pitching helped the program win its first regional in many years and lose by a single run to the eventual state champs in the sectionals. Seniors Lauren Excell and Haley O'Connell bring plenty of experience, while twin sisters Alicia Tracey and Allison Tracey will add to the Red Devils' depth this spring. Newcomer Eleni Tsokolas and freshman Caitlyn Doneske also will be expected to contribute this season. "I'm looking for a real good season," said Maciejewski, whose team added Marist to an already strong schedule. "Hopefully we'll be up to the task. I know the girls are pretty excited to get started."
Coach: Kelly Van Hout.
Last year: 6-27, 4-8 in West Suburban Gold; lost in Class 4A Richards regional semifinals 12-2 to eventual state champion Marist.
Top players: Holli Jones, sr. C; Sarah Hanson, sr. 1B; Kaitlyn Little, so. IF/OF; Ellie Fichtelberg, so. 2B; Madsion Kern, so. P; Marisa Marrera, so., P/SS; Colleen Collins, so., IF/OF.
Scouting report: Jones and Hanson provide senior leadership as well as a pair of strong bats. The Hornets will lean on several sophomores, but many of them -- including pitchers Kern and Marrera -- picked up valuable varsity experience last spring. "It's kind of nice for us to have a strong core group back," said Van Hout, who hopes her team can make some noise in the Gold this year.
IC Catholic Prep
Coach: Frank Reaber
Last year: 27-6, 8-4 Metro Suburban Conference; lost 5-3 in Class 2A supersectional game to Bishop McNamara.
Top players: Melissa Gonzalez, sr. C/3B; Vanessa Godinez, sr. 2B; Taylor Salvi, sr. OF; Kaitlyn Falduto, jr. P/3B; Josie Lytton, so. SS/C.
Scouting report: The Knights matched a school record with 27 wins last spring but were hit hard by graduation departures. All-Area pitcher Jessica Conenna took several school records with her to Northern Illinois University, and Falduto will be asked to pick up much of the slack on the mound. "We are a young team and looking to keep improving from last year," Reaber said.
Coach: Trent Schalk
Last year: 5-18, 3-14, fifth in Interstate Eight North Division; Lost to Westmont in Class 2A regional finals.
Top players: Erica Krause, sr. C; Melissa Ericson, sr. SS/P; Anna Palicka, jr. P/IF; Jen Cail, sr. 1B; Megan Carlson, sr. IF; Julia Ullmann, jr. OF.
Scouting report: First-year coach Schalk inherits a team that returns all of its starters from last year, including both pitchers. Many players have 2-3 years of varsity experience prior to this year, so experience is on their side. Senior outfielder Maria Ortiz joins a strong cast of returners to give the Lions plenty of depth. Lisle is focusing offensively on being able to produce more runs and having higher-quality at-bats, while Schalk also stresses training mentally to not have "our one bad inning" that occurred last year. "It's very exciting to have all of our starters back with many of them having more than two years of varsity experience. They have become very familiar with playing together, and with the relationships they have built with their teammates, I believe they will do some great things this year," Schalk said.
Coach: James Chellson
Last year: 17-17, 8-7, fourth in DuPage Valley Conference; lost in Class 4A regional semifinal to Willowbrook.
Top players: Julia Caesar, sr. 3B; Dina Falk, sr. OF; Monica Williams, sr. DP.
Scouting report: The Lancers look to their senior leadership to help set the expectations high for this year's team that has a good mixture of varsity experience and hungry underclassmen ready to make their mark. Leading the way are seniors Caesar, Falk and Williams. These multiyear varsity starters look to be the nucleus that helps lead the Lancers in 2016. "Without exception the Lancers look to make a strong push for conference champion and this will depend on a quick learning curve from our younger standouts," Chellson said. Sophomore outfielder Jessica Gaseor and newcomer Natalie Grubczak, a freshman pitcher, look to make an impact in the DVC this year. The strength of schedule playing DVC teams alone is enough to make any team battle-ready for the state playoffs, and the conference only got stronger this year with the addition of Metea Valley, Waubonsie Valley and Neuqua Valley, Chellson added.
Coach: Kris Kalivas
Last year: 11-20, 9-13, sixth in the Upstate Eight Conference (now in the DVC); lost 3-2 in Class 4A regional quarterfinals to Oswego East.
Top players: Kara Leckinger, sr., C/1B; Elise Titiner, sr. P; Megan Arcivar, sr., 1B/3B/P; Megan Archey, jr., SS/OF/2B; Lisa Harrington, jr., 3B/1B/C; Fran Senese, sr., 2B/SS; Sydney Bajusz, jr., OF; Emma Zenkel, jr., 3B/1B; Hailey Bacani, jr., C/OF; Megan Hinkle, jr., OF/SS/2B.
Scouting report: "We are looking for our seniors to be strong leaders and use their past varsity experience to raise the expectations for this season," said Kalivas, whose program lost Katie Kennedy, Peyton Voights and Monica Jauch to graduation last spring. Newcomers Emily Finger and Alyssa Joyner will be counted on heavily for the Mustangs, while Kalivas expects Makenzie Bond and Emily Nelson to split time between varsity and junior varsity this spring.
Coach: Mike Bukovsky
Last year: 28-6, 5-1, co-champion of Suburban Christian Conference Blue, lost in Class 3A sectional semifinal to Kaneland.
Top players: Alyssa Sclafani, sr., C; Isabell Alexander, sr., CF; Amy Bukovsky, sr., P/SS; Emily Lezcano, sr., LF.
Scouting report: The Broncos are preparing themselves for the challenge of a spring-break tournament in Chattanooga, Tennessee, against several top-ranked Tennessee squads and life in their new league, the Girls Catholic Athletic Conference. "Our lineup should be very balanced with a great mixture of power and speed," Mike Bukovsky said. "We also have a lot of pitching depth with returning varsity pitchers Naomi Alonzo, Nicole Cuchran, Amy Bukovsky and newcomer Brianna Clifton (a sophomore)." Montini has four seniors who are four-year varsity starters starting with Sclafani. She finished with 50 RBI and 8 home runs. She is her school's all-time leader in homers with 25. Alexander hit .486, scored 54 runs and had 24 stolen bases. Amy Bukovsky was 4-0 on the mound in addition to hitting .525 with 44 RBI. Lezcano finished with 34 RBI and 4 home runs. "With a combination of returning veteran players, and talented youth, we hope to challenge for the GCAC championship and have a deep playoff run," Mike Bukovsky said.
Coach: Andy Nussbaum
Last year: 26-9, 13-2, DuPage Valley Conference champion, lost to Downers Grove South in Class 4A sectional final.
Top players: Lindsay Gonzalez, sr., SS; Grace Biondo, so., OF; Caitlyn Patton, sr., IF; Annie Tassi, jr., IF; Meredith Siambekos, sr., OF; Staci Stark, so., P/OF; Halle Arends, fr., P/INF, Abby Veitch, so., P.
Scouting report: The Redhawks enter this season with three straight conference titles and key players responsible for last year's triumph have graduated. Nussbaum said many on this spring's roster need varsity experience. "I think we will be solid defensively. I think we will be a good hitting team. We will be young -- it will be important for our younger players to develop, and I think they have the talent to improve to the point that we will be very competitive," he said. Top returner Gonzalez will move to shortstop after starting at second base the past three seasons. As a junior, she hit .473 with 29 RBI and 8 triples.
Coach: Jerry Kedziora
Last year: 19-15, 9-6, second place in DuPage Valley Conference, lost in Class 4A regional final to West Aurora.
Top players: Kelsey Warren, sr., OF; Alex Hanselman, sr., P/1B; Dani Biesada, sr., P/2B/UT; Morgan Johannes, sr., C; Maddie Vassar, jr., 3B/SS; Janelle Honaker, so., SS/3B.
Scouting report: A total of four four-year varsity players graduated from last season's squad, but Kedziora is optimistic that the players returning will keep the Huskies on the success track. That includes senior pitchers Hanselman and Biesada. The MIT-bound Hanselman was 13-11 with a 4.20 earned-run average. Biesada, who will play at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, was 6-4 as a starter. Kelsey Warren is back in the outfield. The Coastal Carolina-bound senior hit .390 and scored 34 runs and finished with 13 RBI as a junior. Other veterans expected to make an impact include senior catcher Morgan Johannes, junior infielder Maddie Vassar and sophomore infielder Janelle Honaker. Kedziora said freshman infielder/catcher Sarah Smith and sophomores Callie Ladone (OF/2B) and Maya Tucker (OF/P) are capable of making contributions in their first varsity seasons. "We hope that many of the returning players will improve on their great offensive seasons last year to continue to score runs. Hanselman and Biesada had plenty of experience last year and return to lead the staff. The focus will be to improve the defense," Kedziora said.
Coach: Christina Frontera
Last year: 16-20, sixth place Upstate Eight Conference, lost to Downers Grove North in Class 4A regional semifinal.
Top players: Jordyn Diaz, sr., OF; Julia Huebner, sr., IF; Marissa Potter, sr., P/IF; Jessica Boudreau, sr., IF, Julia Rainer, jr., P; Danielle Olson, so., C.
Scouting report: The Wildcats will be a combination of youth and experience. Third-year varsity player Huebner hit .355 last season with 19 RBI and will continue playing at Hillsdale College. Olson hit .351 as a freshman on the varsity with 18 RBI. Boudreau is also a third-year varsity player who hit .326 with 10 RBI as a junior. "Offensive success will come from a number of weapons in the lineup, including speed, power hitting, clutch hitting and a variety of bunting styles," said first-year coach Frontera. "Due to the experience of our veteran players and addition of new talented players, we're ready to compete as one of the top teams in the area."
Coach: Ralph Remus.
Last year: 24-5, tied with Montini for Suburban Christian Conference Blue title with Montini at 5-1, lost Class 3A sectional final to Kaneland.
Top players: Fiona Summers, sr., C; Bailey Zydek, sr., P; Shelby Winkelman, so., P/3B.
Scouting report: Pitching is looking like the Spartans' biggest asset right now with Zydek returning after posting a 6-1 record as a junior. "We are deep in pitching, but with a young team our defense and hitting will be a work in progress," Remus said. "I expect to see great strides in improving those aspects of the game as the season progresses. We are young, but we have some talent. The team also appears to be very hard workers, which will make this year fun and exciting."
Coach: Aaron Moore.
Last year: 6-20 overall, lost to Westmont in Class 2A regional semifinal.
Top players: Hope Zastrow, jr., C; Emily Gifford, jr., P.
Scouting report: Moore's object for the team this season is simple -- fatten up the win total from 2015. "We seem to get younger and younger each season, which continues to be a weakness for us," he said. "But the kids that came out are going to work hard and compete as hard as they can. We're looking to improve on our win total from last season, and I think if Gifford pitches well for us, we can do that." The team is also looking toward Zastrow and Gifford for offense. Zastrow hit .274 with 21 RBI and Gifford hit .293 with a .438 on-base percentage.
Coach: Val Wood
Last year: 26-9, 18-4, won UEC Valley, lost to Batavia in Class 4A regional semifinal.
Top players: Sabrina Calabrese, sr., 3B; Stephanie Wilczynski, sr., P; Sabrina Scardamaglia, jr., C; Michelle Calabrese, so., SS.
Scouting report: Many of those who contributed to last spring's big season are gone, but Wood believes the new players have potential if they continue to develop their game. "We have a lot of new faces on the team this year with some outstanding leadership from our upperclassmen. We are going to need to be creative in how we score runs this season. We will need to improve our short game as well as be aggressive on the basepaths," she said. "In order for us to be successful, we will need some of the underclassmen to step up and play to their full potential as well as our upperclassmen to continue to be consistent both defensively and offensively." Michele Calabrese returns after hitting .391 with 36 hits, 27 RBI and a .937 fielding percentage as a freshman.
Coach: Kim Wallner
Last year: 11-18-1, 8-14 in Upstate Eight Conference Valley Division, lost to WW South in Class 4A regional quarterfinal.
Top players: Sam Michiels, sr., 3B; Maddie Smith, jr., SS.
Scouting report: It's a new look for the Wildcats this season with Michiels and Smith the only two returning varsity players. "We almost did a complete overall this year. I had nine seniors (on last season's team) and then two others did not return to the team. So we are a rebuilding program this season," Wallner said. "We obviously will be very young and will need to get a few games underneath our belt early on, so hopefully the weather will cooperate." Due to injuries last year, pitchers Taylor DeHaeseleer and Cassidy Murphy, both juniors, and sophomore Isabella Zentner got some needed innings last season and that should help West Chicago. Wallner said freshmen Aimee Cejna, Gianna Hernandez, Christina Trigueros and Alyssa Szulczewski are capable of making an impact right away.
Coach: Sammy Marshall
Last year: 14-14 overall, lost to Montini in Class 3A regional.
Top players: Meghan Gagliano, jr., CF; Madison Ebeling, so., SS; Andi Pivaronas, jr., P; Courtney Kinnane, so., P; Haleigh Wagner, so., C.
Scouting report: The Warriors return two all-state players under first-year coach Marshall. Gagliano, who has already made her college choice Charleston Southern University, hit .411 as a junior. Ebeling, who has chosen Loyola University in Chicago, hit .473 in her first high school season with 13 doubles, 3 triples and 3 home runs. "I'm keeping an open mind about which players go where. There's a lot of great moving pieces right now and I want to get them in the right places," Marshall said.
Coach: Danielle Soraghan
Last year: 12-22, 8-6 in DuPage Valley Conference for second place, lost Class 4A regional semifinal to St. Charles North.
Top players: Maggie Will, sr., CF; Alleigha Burau, jr., SS; Sarah Gorzak, jr., P; Taylor Gaimari, sr., 1B; Natalie Shirley, sr., C.
Scouting report: The Falcons have the advantage of five returning starters who helped make Wheaton North a force in the DuPage Valley Conference last season. "The team looks forward to coming together and playing hard this season. We hope to play at a high level right out of the gates and keep the intensity all season long," Soraghan said. Will returns after hitting .303 as a junior with 6 home runs and 32 RBI. Burau hit .276 and scored 20 runs and returning starting pitcher Gorzak won 10 games.
Coach: Jeff Pawlak
Last year: 10-23, 2-13 in DuPage Valley Conference, lost to Downers Grove South in Class 4A regional semifinal.
Top players: Sydney Young, sr., CF; Maya Keating, sr., SS; Maddie Trost, sr., P/3B.
Scouting report: The Tigers have quickness on the basepaths this season and Pawlak wants to use it to his team's advantage. "We have some good speed in our lineup, especially at the top with some girls who get on base quite a bit and put a lot of pressure on the defense. We have some returning players who have an opportunity to build on their seasons from last year and step up," he said. "Our pitching will need to be consistent and be able to allow our defense to make plays. Throwing strikes and getting ahead will be a big factor toward our success as a team." Young, who will play at Bradley University in 2017, hit .365 last year with 27 stolen bases and a .416 on-base percentage. Keating, will play college softball at St. Cloud State University, hit .400 as a junior with 10 stolen bases and a .471 OBP. Trost, who heads to the University of Indianapolis after graduation, hit .340 in 2016.
Coach: Rachel Karos
Last year: 24-11, lost Class 4A regional final to Schaumburg.
Top players: Zoe Dannenberg, sr., P; Jordan Marczewski, sr., CF; Kalyn Schuda, sr., 1B.
Scouting reports: It was a huge season for the Warriors in 2015, but many of those responsible for it are gone and it will definitely be a new-look squad this spring. "We lost 12 seniors last year, so we had a lot of spots open on varsity," Karos said. "With that brings some young talent but not a lot of varsity experience yet. This team is hardworking and determined and I'm confident with each game we will get better and better."
Coach: Jennifer Nolan
Last year: 27-7-1, 9-3 in West Suburban Silver, lost to Oak Park-River Forest in Class 4A sectional final.
Top players: Amanda Kamatz, sr., CF; Abby Solem, sr., 3B; Gabby Magnifico, sr., IF; Kyra Koll, so., IF/OF; Sarah Maciejewski, sr., 1B.
Scouting report: Kamatz will lead off again this season and Nolan is hoping she can score a lot of runs, especially early in the game. Solem again brings strong hitting to the lineup, and Maciejewski brings power to the plate as well. "I am very excited about our offense this year. Not only do we have some big hitters returning, but we have several new faces that look like they are going to be great for us this season. We are going to be strong defensively as well," Nolan said. The Dukes coach said the team needs time to jell with so many new players on the roster. "I'm concerned that we are so young this season and many of these girls have not played together. We are taking some time with team bonding and getting to know each other. We are young, but we have a very talented team. My hope is that this team will have a winning season. These girls can go far into the playoffs and they can hold their own in a very competitive conference."