Softball: Scouting Northwest

  • Schaumburg's Christina Candotti smiles as she rounds the bases after hitting a home run in last year's MSL title game.

      Schaumburg's Christina Candotti smiles as she rounds the bases after hitting a home run in last year's MSL title game. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • Buffalo Grove standout catcher Emily Carnes, here in action last spring against Elk Grove, is back in action for the Bison this spring.

      Buffalo Grove standout catcher Emily Carnes, here in action last spring against Elk Grove, is back in action for the Bison this spring. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

Updated 3/17/2016 1:26 PM

MID-SUBURBAN EASTBuffalo GroveCoach: Starr Dorsey (first season) Last year's record: 18-8, 10-6

Graduated players: Dea Barton, Caitlin Catino, Kelly Konwent, Cynthia Gorski


Returning players: Emily Carnes (Sr. C), Jasmine Avalos (Jr. IF), Katie Fontanetta (Jr. OF), Grace Gran (Jr. IF), Lauren Beiersdorf (So. OF), Olivia Morini (So. OF)

Newcomers: Alyssa Dephillips (Jr. P-IF), Katelyn O'Rourke (So. U), Jacqueline Bickhaus (FR. UT), Kylee Gucwa (Fr. UT), Sam Hansen (Fr. UT), Bailey Williams (Fr. UT), Hannah Young (Fr. UT)

Outlook: Rookie coach Starr Dorsey expects her first varsity team to be sound defensively. "We have a great knowledge of the game," said the former Auburn star. "I'm really looking for this team to grow offensively this year." The Bison graduated standout four-year varsity players Julie Camardo and Caitlin Catino (both at Wisconsin-Whitewater). Back behind the plate is senior all-area catcher Carnes, who batted .416 with 7 doubles. "We need to have better, smarter at-bats, especially when we have runners on base," Dorsey said. "We have a great group of core girls that have a lot of experience at the varsity level." Avalos, Fontanetta, Gran, Beiersdorf and Morini all have varsity experience. "I'm expecting them to show great leadership throughout the season. "We will really be looking to our lone senior (Carnes) to have another great year at the plate and behind it."

Elk GroveCoach: Ken Grams (36th season)

Last year's record: 29-8, 12-4

Graduated players: Brianna Leach, Marjorie Sloan, Aleece Duffy, Shannon Taucher, Melissa Picchi

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Returning players: Sarah Pauscher (Sr. 3B), Alex Masnica (Sr. OF), Kylie Thomsen (Jr. P/1B), Haley Itzenthaler (Jr. 2B), Abbey Sloan (Sr. OF), Anna Bonder (Sr. P-SS), Sabra Morton (Jr. P-OF)

Newcomers: Carly Crothers (Sr. 1B-OF), Mackenzie Flannery (Sr. OF), Keeley Cronin (Jr. OF-C), Jessica Kearns (Jr. IF), Amy Pietruszynski (Jr. OF)

Outlook: The Grenadiers graduate four-year starters Leach (MSL East Player of The Year) and Marjorie Sloan along with three-year starters Duffy, Taucher and Picchi. But they do return all of their pitching innings (Thomsen, Bonder and Morton) from last year and some key hitters from last year's MSL East championship squad. "We have good pitching depth and experience," said Elk Grove hall of fame coach Ken Grams. "And we have good team speed. "We lost some very important run producers from last year, but do return five .300 plus hitters from last year." Pauscher hit 471 with a school record 19 homers and 60 RBI. Masnica batted .371 with 5 home runs and 44 RBI. The Grens set a team record for home runs in a season last year (57). "It will be difficult to approach that number again," Grams said. "But it's encouraging to realize that we return about 60 percent of that, and we hope for the best."

HerseyCoach: Molly Freeman (ninth season)

Last year's record: 11-24, 2-12

Graduated players: Payton Anderskow, Anna Johnson, Jessica Schmiederer, Danielle Dickerson, Cassie Zouras, Dani Sychowski, Izzy McGuiness

Returning players: Kim Labahn (Sr. 1B-P), Katie Wingerter (Jr. SS), Sofia Cano (Jr. OF), Remy Gerew (Jr. 3B), Jackie Bednar (Jr. C), Kaitlyn Denten) Jr. P-OF), Hannah Graff (So. 2B)


Newcomers: Maddie Flynn (Jr. 1B-OF), Gabby Samperi (So. IF/OF), Renee Portenlanger (So. P-1B, Jodie Hermann (So. 2B-OF), Brianna Luciano (Fr. IF-P), Mikayla Tsagalis (Fr. 2B-SS-OF, Sarah Bailitz (Fr. P-1B).

Outlook: As she begins her ninth season, former Illinois-Chicago and Fremd softball standout Molly Freeman expects an exciting season from the Huskies. "We have only one senior (LaBahn) but have several returning players that we are very excited about," she said. Among those returning are all-area selections Denton and Wingerter. Denten hit .449 last spring batting in the No. 3 spot with 7 homers, 7 doubles, 3 triples and 23 RBI. Wingerter, who has committed to Northern Illinois, led the offense in every category including her .472 batting average, .507 on-base percentage, 866 slugging percentage, 60 hits, 12 doubles, 3 triple, 9 home runs, 33 RBI and 44 runs. "We will be very strong on defense, and are looking forward to see what our young batters will do," Freeman said. "Our goal is to make a strong push for the East division title."

ProspectCoach: Jim Adair (sixth season)

Last year's record: 12-18, 5-11

Graduated players: Casey Lenski, Ally Schuldt, Emily Saenz, Emma Gilhooly, Jenny Krengiel, Kelly Marshall, Erica Nelson Returning players: Alyssa Cacini (So. P-SS), Lauren Caldrone (So. 3B), Lindsey Lecomte (Sr. C-OF), Delilah Malczewski (Sr. P-1B), Cate Meersman (Jr. C-3B)

Newcomers: Anna Blaue-Seltzer (So. 3B-OF), Hannah Brummer (Sr. 2B-OF), Eileen Donohue (Jr. 2B-3B), Lindsay Houghton (So. 1B-OF), Alex Kanter (So. 2B-OF), Aly Makuch (Jr. OF), Alexa Meinzer (So. P), Jackie Orel (So. C-OF), Colleen Palczynski (So. 1B-OF), Daniela Rizzi (So. 2B-OF), Jennifer Strickland (Jr. IF-OF)

Outlook: With only two seniors on a roster of 16, the Knights have a lot of young talent. Among the youth is sophomore Cacini, an all-area selection as a freshman, who batted 431 from the leadoff spot. Sophomore Calderone, a Northwestern recruit, played every inning as a freshman last spring at third base and hit .291. "We've got an outstanding group of younger players who are very talented and bring a lot of energy to everything they do," said coach Jim Adair, who is in his final season as the Knights coach (retirement). "With so many sophomores in the starting lineup, we might experience a little bit of a learning curve early in the season, but I wouldn't be surprised if we played great right from the beginning of the season." The Knights took third in the MSL East last spring and hope to contend again. "The girls really came together during the first week of practice," Adair said. "And we're all excited to see what we can do in game situations."

Rolling MeadowsCoach: Tony Wolanski (13th season)

Last year's record: 2-28, 0-16

Returning players: Paige Conner (Jr. SS), Elizabeth Elkins (Jr. OF), Mallory King (So. 3B), Meghan Slowik (Sr. 2B-OF), Amanda Elkins (Jr. C), Megan King (Sr. 1B-2B), Jen Kokotis (So. CF So.), Lydia Schultz (Jr. P)

Newcomers: Emily Schmidt (Fr. 3B-SS), Sara Benner (Fr. P-1B), Megan McCafferty (OF), Caroline Slowik (Fr. (IF-OF)

Outlook: Mustangs veteran coach Tony Wolanski says his team hopes to improve in every aspect of the game. "We want to learn how to compete," he said. Schultz and Benner will do most of the pitching with Megan King helping out as the No. 3. "We have three pitchers working hard and we will use all of them depending on the situation," Wolanski said. "We are hoping with Lydia's experience (two years) that she can take the next step and have a nice season." Connor, Benner and Elizabeth Elkins will provide plenty of punch in the lineup batting in the third through fifth spots. "These three will be counted on to lead our lineup and produce runs," Wolanski said. Slowik, who along with King played on the Mustangs girls basketball team which won 19 games, will play both infield and outfield. "She is a great defensive player," Wolanski said. "She is a great leader whose versatility will help us." Mallory King had a solid freshman season and is expected to continue to improve. Amanda Elkins returns as the starting catcher and looks to have a breakout season. "Amanda has great leadership skills and does a nice job behind the plate," Wolanski said. Megan King will start again at first base and will be one of the three captains. Wolanski said Benner and Schmidt can help in all aspects of the game and Kokotis will have a chance to win the center field job as she enters her second season on the varsity.

WheelingCoach: Mike Caringella (seventh season)

Graduated players: Lauren Hart, Nikki Mikosz, Megan Olsen, Karlie Orlando, Sydney Kaplan

Returning players: Christie Ambrose (Sr. IF), Abby Greenspan (Sr. IF-OF), Kirstin Wilhelm (Sr. IF-OF), Olivia Walker (So. OF), Dakota Medrano (So. P-IF), Remy Jankowski (So. P-IF), Kaitlyn Schuetz (Jr, IF), Arielle Rosenston (Jr. OF)

Newcomers: Nicole Ferraro (Fr. OF), Hannah Bradford (Jr. OF), Brianna Cychosz (Jr. OF), Veronica Petzold (So. IF-OF), Jaclyn Broms (Jr. OF)

Outlook: As he begins his seventh season, Wildcats coach Mike Caringella says he once again has great senior leaders. "They are stepping up at practices, acting as great role models for our returning players and our newcomers," he said of Ambrose and Wilhelm. Two seniors who graduated are now playing in college -- Nikki Mikosz at Whitewater and Megan Olsen at Illinois Benedictine. Caringella said the Wildcats goals this spring are to stick together, play for each other, continue to grow, learn and develop every day. "And most importantly making sure the girls are enjoying themselves and having fun whilcce playing," he added. "It's not going to be an easy schedule ahead but we look forward to seeing which girls will step up to the challenge this season."

MID SUBURBAN WESTBarringtonCoach: Perry Peterson (24th season)

Last year's record: 32-8, 13-3

Graduated players: Keenan Dolezal, Julie Magro, Kat Panos

Returning players: Rachel MacDonald (Sr. C), Liz Sweeney (Sr. IF), Kelly Katis (Sr. IF-OF), Rachel Krzysko (Jr. OF), Jenna Fingerman (Sr. IF), Jamie Brown (Sr. IF-OF), Carly Kordich (Jr. OF), Haley Luczak (Jr. IF-OF), Brittany Glowacki (Sr. OF-IF)

Newcomers: Catherine MacMahon (So. P), Annie Leiding (Sr. OF), Abbey Jacobsen (So. C), Caroline Hoppe (So. P)

Outlook: The Fillies graduate only three seniors from their Class 4A fourth-place team. One team strength will be the returning offensive production. The Fillies hit the second most home runs (34) in school history last year (the school record of 54 came in 2013). Thirty of last year's homers came from returning players. Leading the home run parade were Fingerman (8 homers, .342, 27 RBI), Macdonald (5 homers, .451, 35 RBI), Krzysko (5 homers. 349, 33 RBI) and Katis (3 homers, .349, 25 RBI). Other top hitting Fillies last year were Sweeney (.354, 18 RBI), Brown (.316) and Kordich (.296, 30 runs). "Our strength of schedule in the preseason should prepare our team for conference play," said hall of fame coach Perry Peterson, whose career record stands at 714-172. "We play Westosha Central (Wisconsin big school state champion) on April 4th and travel to Orland Park to take on Sandburg on April 6." Barrington has 16 MSL division championships and a record 12 MSL titles. The Fillies began the season three wins shy of 1,000 in program history (997-347), ranking third on the all-time IHSA list behind Casey and Lockport.

ConantCoach: Cathyann Smith (16th season)

Last year's record: 23-8, 12-5

Graduated Players: Hailey Rothstein, DeeDee Durr, Alyssa Wachal, Elise Ambrose, Stephanie Taucher, Kim Zaucha

Returning Players: Sara Neuman (Sr. P), Dream Aaron (Sr. C), Morgan Bihun (Jr. 3B), Sam Gadomski (Jr. P-OF), Sidney Correa (So. 1B), Lauren Grzelak (Jr. SS-2B)

Newcomers: Makenna McCarthy (So. OF), Jackie Burchfield (So SS-2B), Paige Nallen (So OF-1B-P), Delaney Szwed (So. OF), Ally Lira (Jr OF-C), Jac Carlucci (So. P), Carly Rossdeutcher (Jr. 1B-U), Sara Kate Pasbrig (Jr P-1B-U)

Outlook: Although the Cougars lost a core group of one of the best softball classes in school history, the Cougars are set to rebound with another strong season. Among the graduates are all-area first baseman Rothstein, who is playing at Carthage College. "Despite graduating a group of outstanding young ladies, we are excited about the new young players that will complement our senior battery of Sara (Neumann, pitcher) and Dream (Aaron, an all-area selection who hit a team-high 14 homers) on defense," said Cougars coach Cathyann Smith. Aaron has committed to Indian River State College. Another all-area returnee is second baseman shortstop Grzelak, who batted .400 as a sophomore. "Lauren will be handling middle infield duties and is one of the top returning hitters this season," Smith said. Bihun will play third base and bring power to the lineup. Gadomski will also work on the pitcher's mound along with Neuman while also handling some outfield duties. Lefty Pasbrig and Carlucci will see time on the mound as well. Lira and Rossdeutcher have the versatility to fill in areas on both offense and defense. Their bats will be important in the lineup. McCarthy, Nallen, Szwed and Burchfield have the speed and quickness to really make an impact on offense and defense. "These girls have the passion and skill to make an impression in the conference this season" Smith added.

FremdCoach: Jim Weaver (15th season)

Last year's record: 27-7, 12-4

Graduated players: Julie Josten, Lea Barrett, Hailey Goodwin, and Katie Niersbach

Returning players: Alyssa Garcia (Sr. OF), Abby Iuorio (Sr. OF), Julia Wacker (Sr. 1B), Reagan Schneider (Jr. SS), Jessica Mazur (So. OF-P-1B), Nikki Kehoe (So. P-U), Lexi D'Ambrosia (SO. C), Kylie Hess (Sr. OF-IF), Holly Straup (Sr. 3B-C), Becca Uhrich (Jr. 2B-C)

Newcomers: AnnMarie O'Sullivan (1B-DH), Maddie Mellin (OF), Hannah Ban (P-OF)

Outlook: With 11 returning starters from a 27-7 team, Fremd is ready to make another big run at the Mid-Suburban West title. "We are very excited about the upcoming season," said Fremd coach Jim Weaver, who owns a 370-120-2 career with 10 regionals championships and three trips to the state finals. "We have 11 players returning with starting experience and they will provide leadership and make up our core. We also have new exciting young players being added to the mix." Top hitters last season were Garcia (.526, 42 stolen bases), Iuorio (.493, 25 stolen bases), Wacker (.404, 47 RBI), Reagan Schneider (.400, 36 RBI, 15 SB), Mazur (.379, 27 RBI) and D'Ambrosia (.360, 20 RBI), Hess (.350), Straup (.294, 31 RBI) and Uhrich (.272, 22 RBI). On the mound, Kehoe was 14-5 as a freshman with a 2.88 ERA (opposing batters hit .250). "We expect to be strong defensively, with an electric offensive combination of great team speed and power," Weaver added. "We also expect our pitching to be much improved. As we continue to battle together, we'll be ready to make a strong move toward the playoffs."

Hoffman EstatesCoach: Lindsey Hamma (11th season)

Last year's record: 12-19; 4-12

Graduated players: Charlotte Allan, Caitlyn Farina, Alyssa Galan

Returning players: Jordyn Fera (Sr. 3B-SS), Veronica Cardella (Sr. OF-C), Brynn Connelly (Jr. P-OF), Mary Bean (C-3B), Giselle Velazquez (SS-P)

Newcomers: Alyssa Ayala (Sr. OF), Alexis Morris (Sr. OF-IF), Megan Amato (Jr. P-UT), Martina DeAstis (So. UT), Jackie Folmar (So. IF-OF)

Outlook: The Hawks return all-area third baseman and captain Jordyn Fera to provide leadership for coach Lindsey Hamma's 11th team at Hoffman. Fera led the team last season with a .408 batting average and a .448 on base percentage. Sophomore shortstop Velazquez joins Fera on the left side of the infield where she will be expected to provide vocal leadership along with Bean behind the plate. Connelly and Cardella will split time in center field as the anchors and vocal leaders of the outfield. Connelly will also add to the variety of looks the Hawks will challenge opponents with from the pitcher's mound, along with newcomers Amato, Velazquez, and Fera. "In a solid MSL conference, our squad knows it will need to play fundamentally sound defense, challenge the defense with every at bat and control their mental game," said Hamma, a former Chicago Bandit, University of Illinois and Buffalo Grove High School shortstop. "And we must communicate and support each other with maximum effort."

PalatineCoach: Nicole Pauly (second year)

Last year's record: 12-20, 6-10

Graduated players: Nora Walsh, Cassie Kerlin, Ellie Kozlowski, Maria Howell, Erin Davis, Sam Muzzupappa, Julia Proctor

Returning players: Kenzie Craver (Sr. C-U), Emily Griffin (Sr. 3B-RF), Victoria Parrott (Sr. U), Brooke Bauer (Jr. 1B), Reggie Much (Jr. CF), Maddie Craver (So. 2B-P)

Newcomers: Stephanie Becker (Sr. U), Megan Breytenbach (Jr. C-OF), Sarah Grossman (So. P-3B), Emily Parrott (Fr. SS), Anna Selleck (Fr. C-OF), Grace Huff (Fr. OF)

Outlook: As she begins her second season directing the Pirates, former Palatine and Northwestern softball standout Nicole Pauly welcomes back six players, including senior all-area catcher-utility player Kenzie Craver and all-area P-IF Maddie Craver. Kenzie hit .451 with 41 hits and 19 RBI while Maddie batted .510 with 53 hits, 22 RBI and 35 runs. "Our team this year defines the words 'hard work and versatile'," said Pauly, also a former all-area basketball player who led the Pirates to a MSL West co-championship in 2005. "You will see hustle, grind, and focus from our girls and they will consistently compete with any team that we face." Only four seniors are on the roster. "Even though we are young, we are extremely athletic and "softball smart"," Pauly added. "And I believe that will give us an advantage playing in our tough conference." Maddie Craver struck out 68 with a 1.24 ERA last spring. "I am extremely excited about this team," Pauly said. "The close bonds the girls have already made allows us to continue to improve every aspect of our game with playing strong defense, pitching, and hitting." Pauly said the senior leaders and upperclassmen have been top-notch leaders. "They've done an amazing job with teaching the younger players our program's philosophies and expectations," she said. "And they have truly embraced our 'youthfulness.' I'm excited to see our team compete on the field this spring."

SchaumburgCoach: Ellen Abreu (sixth season)

Last year's record: 31-2, 16-0

Graduated players: Shannon Felde, Elaine Walker, and Roxanne Kakareka

Returning players: Paige Alt (Sr. P-1B), Christina Candotti (Sr. C-IF), Sarah Schwind (Sr. OF-P), Kaiden Jackson (Jr. OF), Micaela Encarnacion (Jr. OF), Michelle Birkholz (Sr. P-2B-SS), Natalie Napier (Jr. 3B-1B), Alex Cook (Jr. SS), Brittney Butt (Jr. C-OF)

Newcomers: Cate Poplar (So. IF-OF), Delaney Evans (So. IF-OF), Janalee Lyke (So. 2B-C)

Outlook: After its most memorable season in school history, the Saxons return looking for more success with nine returning players and three newcomers. "That will definitely contribute to this powerhouse team," said coach Ellen Abreu, a former standout pitcher and hitter at Fremd High School. "We will continue to have strong bats at the plate and solid pitching on the mound." Among the returning players are a pair of D-I recruits. Butler-bound Candotti batted .478 with 35 RBI and 28 runs for the undefeated Mid-Suburban League champs. Alt, headed to Georgia Coastal, went 21-1 (undefeated in regular season) while also batting .553 with 14 homers and 52 RBI. "The goal this season is the same as it has always been, win every inning and take it one game at a time," Abreu said. "I can't say there is one key player to watch on my team this season. I think I have a very solid lineup and anyone will be able to contribute at any given moment."

EAST SUBURBAN CATHOLIC CONFERENCESt. ViatorCoach: John Scotillo (third season) Last year: 5-32, 0-20

Graduated player: Krystal Harris

Returning players: Olivia Michalik (Sr. OF), Catherine Hafner (Sr. OF), Roxanne Kowalczuk (Sr. IF), Margaret Naughton (Sr. OF-P-IF), Cam VanValkenburg (Jr. OF), Grace Kaiser (Jr. P-IF), Genevieve Breslin (Jr. IF), Cara Haubner (Jr. C-IF), Adeline Swiderski (Jr. CIF), Aryana Ziakas (Jr. IF-OF), Haley Robinson (So. IF)

Newcomers: Amanda Murphy (Jr. IF-OF), Audrey Alaniz (Jr. IF), Victoria Scheidecker (So. IF-C), Jessica Taylor (So. P-IF), Maggie VanValkenburg (Fr. OF-IF), Cece Kaiser (Fr. IF), Tommy Jean Helms (FR. C-IF), Caroline Leazer​ (Fr. IF)

Outlook: Lions coach John Scotillo hopes the Lions can build on the strides they made toward the end of last season when they advanced to the regional championship. "We were very young last year (only one senior graduated)," Scotillo said. "We came into the season having to replace our entire infield and starting battery so it was very much a rebuilding year and a painful one at that. We did solidify a couple of spots but our rebuilding is still a work in progress. With just four seniors on a roster of 20, the Lions are still a young club. Only all-area pitcher Krystal Harris graduated. "I see our infield defense improving which will help our starting pitchers (Kaiser and Naughton)," Scotillo said. "They have worked hard this off season to get stronger. We were solid in the outfield last year and l see that continuing." VanValkenburg led the team in walks (13) triples (3) and outfield assists a year ago. She shared the lead in doubles with 7 and was second in runs scored (27) and base hits (33). Kaiser's 23 RBI led Viator. VanValkenburg and Kaiser each have freshmen sisters on the team (Maggie VanValkenburg and Cece Kaiser) who Scotillo hopes will have an impact on the club.

CENTRAL SUBURBAN NORTHMaine WestCoach: Mike McGovern (second season)

Last year's record: 15-15, 6-4

Graduated players: Alyssa Pegoraro, Katie Roycroft, and Ann Marie Weber, Brooke Winiecki

Returning players: Monica Liwag (Sr. OF) Jordan Hart (Sr. 1B), Nicole Byerly (Sr. C), Kayla Pociejewski (Sr. SS), Grace Feldkamp (Jr. P), Anne Lipinski (Jr. 3B-OF), Allison Pearson (Sr. 3B-SS-P)

Newcomers: Maren Garnett (Fr. 1B-3B-C), Gabriella Deema (Fr. 2B), Allison Eby (So. P-1B), Katelyn Aragon (So. OF), Nora McDonald (Jr. OF) and Allison Tworek (Jr. OF), Megan Swanson

Outlook: As he begins his second season running the program, Illinois-Chicago coach Mike McGovern expects his team to showcase more power, speed, hitting, pitching depth and defense than last year's .500 club. Five seniors return, including four key players (Pearson, Pociejewski, Liwag and Hart) from the Warriors' girls basketball team which won the school's 27th Central Suburban North championship. The other senior is catcher Byers. Pociejewski returns as an all-area selection who batted .471 with a team-high 10 homers, 40 RBI and 40 runs. Also back is all-area hurler Feldkamp, who was 10-9 with 138 strikeouts. Feldkamp also had 10 doubles, 7 triples, 5 homers, 23 RBI and 45 runs while hitting .565 with a team-high 51 hits. Liwag returns after missing last spring with a knee injury. "We've had some injuries but rehab is coming along very well with great trainers," McGovern said. "Our goal is to win conference and the last softball game of the year." Feldkamp, Hart, Eby and Pearson can all provide work on the mound. "The conference is strong and we respect every team," added McGovern, whose new assistant coach is Amanda Forssander.

WEST SUBURBAN GOLDLeydenCoach: Kurt Schuett (ninth season) Last year's record: 16-13,7-5

Key graduated Players: Sammi Caputo

Returning players: Kendall Duwal (Sr. P), Jodi DuBrock (Jr. SS), Abby Grande (Sr. OF), Becca Johnson (Sr. OF-2B), Kat Modrich (Sr. 1B), Alicia Vermilyer Sr. OF), Lauren Vermilyer (Jr. C-OF), Alicia Vermilyer (Sr. OF).

Newcomers: Carly Culotta (Jr. IF), Tara Mackey (Fr. IF-C)

Outlook: With seven starters back, coach Kurt Schuett is hoping his team can win more than 20 games this season. "The team to beat in our conference will be Downers South," Schuett said. "We hope we can repeat our feat in winning our own Eagle Invite (at the Ballpark in Rosemont with wins over Palatine, Jacobs and Glenbrook North last year). Among those back to help the help the Eagles go after these goals are Duwal (. 449 , .867 slugging percentage, 55 RBI, 5 home runs, 29 runs), DuBrock (. 374, .560 slugging percentage, 28 RBI, 6 stolen bases), who was a part of six double plays at shortstop and struck out only four times in 111 at-bats. Grande is a three-year starter while Johnson, Modrich (. 365), Lauren Vermilyer and Alicia Vermilyer are two-year starters.

-- compiled by John Leusch

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