Fox Valley All-Area Softball Team
Katie Arrambide, St. Charles East
Only a sophomore and already a two-time All-Area selection, Arrambide again came up big in the circle pitching the Saints to the Class 4A state tournament with a 3-2 win over Whitney Young in the supersectional. She will take a 16-7 record with 216 strikeouts and 44 walks in 153 innings into the state tourney. Broke Haley Beno's single season school strikeout record. Has a 1.73 ERA and 1.01 WHIP. Also batted .343 with 2 home runs and 22 RBI. Went 17-4 as a freshman with 165 strikeouts and a 2.15 ERA. "What she's done here lately shows what a competitor she is," Saints coach Jarod Gutesha said. "We've always known that but when you get to the later stages of postseason, everybody you see are all quality pitchers, they all have good stuff. But what separates at that point is who can handle the pressure."
Allison Bahlman, Batavia
This senior hit .412 for the Bulldogs while bashing 10 home runs. Drove in 33 runs and finished with a .765 slugging percentage and 1.229 OPS. Will attend the University of Colorado as a student studying nursing. "She has meant a lot to this program over the last four years," Batavia coach Torry Pryor said. "She's not a big talker, but she does lead us with her actions on and off the field. She is always happy even when things are not going the way she wants it to be. She will be truly missed."
Sarah Bowen, Hampshire
We'll get to Bowen's offensive numbers in a minute. Defensively? "She made some of the most remarkable plays in center field all season, parallel diving catches, robbing home runs over the fence," Hampshire coach Kelly Wasilewski said. Bowen also batted .411 with 5 home runs, 26 RBI, 33 runs and 20 stolen bases. "Sara is a one-of-a-kind kid that we will miss tremendously," Wasilewski said. "She is one of the best role models I have come across in my nine years of coaching. In four years Sarah never missed a practice. Sarah played through bumps and bruises. She truly understands what it means to be part of a team and the commitment and dedication it takes to improve as a player. For four years, Sarah was the last one out of the dugout after every game; picking up equipment left behind or empty water bottles, making sure to leave each dugout as clean as the way we found it. You can't coach any of that, but as a coach, those are characteristics you wish all your players could have. I cannot say enough positive things about Sarah, as a player and as a person."
Bri Bower, Huntley
This year's All-Area captain as a sophomore, Bower dominated in the circle while pitching the Red Raiders to the Class 4A state tournament for the first time. Bower struck out 14 to beat nemesis Barrington in the sectionals and then fanned 15 in a supersectional win over Hersey, holding both teams to 1 run. Going into the state tournament Bower has a 25-5 record with 339 strikeouts while walking just 28 in 197 innings. She has a 1.13 ERA and 0.725 WHIP. "She's refined her off-speed pitches and secondary pitches," Huntley coach Mark Petryniec said. "She's always had that fastball. She has that second and third and fourth pitch to go to in a big situation and the confidence to throw it. It's Bri's show now."
Casey Brennan, South Elgin
This two-time Upstate Eight player of the year and two-time All-Area selection is headed to Quincy after concluding a stellar career as the Storm's center fielder and leadoff hitter. South Elgin repeated as Upstate Eight champions this year as Brennan batted .404 and scored 41 runs. "She had another great year for us," South Elgin coach Brad Reynard said. "Hard to match the numbers that she put up last season and to be honest didn't see too many good pitches with opponents pitching around her. Defensively one of the best I have seen. Five-tool player. Teams didn't run on her period. She saved many runs from scoring just by the thought of her firing home. She is also a great kid and teammate. She works hard and is everything that is good about high school athletics."
Dani Brown, Aurora Central Catholic
This Loyola University recruit and returning All-Area choice pitched the Chargers to a 30-8 record and to a Class 2A sectional championship. Threw seven shutout innings in the supersectional before losing to Beecher in extra innings. Didn't allow a run in the first four postseason games while going 4-0. Finished with an 18-5 record and 220 strikeouts in just 127 innings and a 1.83 ERA. Threw or combined to throw 5 no-hitters. Batted .325 with 20 RBI. In sectional championship game, delivered the game-winning RBI with a two-out, bases-loaded hit to score three in a 3-0 win over IC Catholic Prep. "Dani worked her way back from arthroscopic knee surgery last summer," Chargers assistant coach Mark Wilkins said. "Had some hiccups with control early in the season, but really rounded into shape."
Maddie Bush, Crystal Lake South
One of the unsung standouts on a 31-3 Crystal Lake South squad, this senior second base finished with the third best average at .495 and third in RBI with 46. Only struck out four times in 126 plate appearances. Batted .556 with runners in scoring position. And as good as she was offensively, her coach says she's even better defensively. "Not only is she our best defensive player, but she is also one of our top offensive threats," Gators coach Scott Busam said. "She is the leader of the team. I can't even imagine how many hits she's robbed, or how many runs she's saved by making spectacular, diving, backhanded catches. Maddie Bush is a circus catch, highlight play waiting to happen. She is a spectacular, must-see defensive player. The Gators go as Maddie goes for sure."
Taylyr Crocilla, Streamwood
This senior who will continue playing softball at Marian College in Wisconsin has been a fixture in the circle for the Sabres the past few years. She capped her career going 9-5 with a 1.73 ERA and 118 strikeouts in 80 innings. Struck out 17 against Stevenson. Also hit .481 with 21 RBI, 30 runs and 13 doubles. Played shortstop when she didn't pitch. "Taylyr is a game-changer when she is pitching," Sabres coach William Shogren said. "She allows our team to stay competitive regardless of who we are playing. When Taylyr wasn't pitching she took control of the field. At the plate, Taylyr had a lot of key at-bats to help us win games."
Emilee Erickson, Kaneland
One of the most dominating pitchers in the area, this junior two-time All-Area pick led Kaneland to a 30-7 season by going 18-2. The left-hander has both an excellent repoitre and the ability to hit her spots, striking out 209 batters and only walking 39 in 120 innings. Had a 0.81 ERA. Will play college softball at Winona State. "She busted her butt and worked hard and did a great job for us on the mound," Kaneland coach Mike Kuefler said. "She's going to continue to get better. She had a tremendous year."
Delaney Garden, Jacobs
Only a sophomore, Garden came through at the plate and in the circle for the Golden Eagles. Garden hit .462 with 13 doubles, scoring 31 runs. The left-hander finished with a 10-9 record, 3.20 ERA and 132 strikeouts. "Delaney pitched well for us this season, but unfortunately our silent bats were unable to give her a few more wins that she deserved," Jacobs coach Katie O'Brien said. "Delaney is a talented athlete that could play every position on the field, and that is hard to do as a lefty. She knows we rely on her to do a lot of different things, but she is adaptable and loves the game and the team enough to do whatever is needed. I'm looking forward to what she'll be able to achieve in the future."
Reili Gardner, Burlington Central
This junior center fielder batted .469 with 30 RBI, 31 runs and 14 steals in 14 attempts. She had a 1.250 OPS and more outfield assists (4) than errors (3). "Reili had an amazing season," Rockets coach Scott Richman said. "She resides in center field, but would be the best player on my team at any position other than pitcher. Also, her leadership skills are the most advanced and proficient of any member on the team. She commands her audience by being positive all the time while knowing what to say and when to say it. Reili's competitive drive never waivers. She takes a professional approach to practices, games, strategy conversations, and academics everyday."
Izzy Hernandez, Aurora Central Catholic
This junior third baseman and pitcher hit 3 home runs, almost as many as her strikeouts (5) for a 30-8 team that won a Class 2A sectional title and almost won the supersectional before losing in extra innings to eventual state champion Beecher. Hernandez batted .472 with 41 RBI and had a 1.242 OPS. Also pitched and went 11-1 with 88 strikeouts in 70 innings with a 2.16 ERA. "She is the heart and soul of this team," Chargers assistant coach Mark Wilkins said. "The best teammate. A true leader in every sense of the word."
Sam Keller, Geneva
This junior shortstop and Winona State commit hit the ball about as well as anyone this spring, batting .486 with a .598 on-base percentage and .867 slugging percentage. Had 14 doubles, 4 triples, 6 home runs, 38 runs, 9 steals and 20 RBI out of the leadoff spot. Her home run tied the Class 4A Plainfield North sectional championship game and then she later scored the winning run as the 14th-seeded Vikings won their first sectional title. "Sam is clearly the catalyst for our offense," Geneva coach Greg Dierks said. "She led the team in almost every offensive category and reached base safely in 29 out of 30 games. Her play at shortstop continues to improve as well. I thought she really stood out as one of the best players in the area this season."
Gabi Nilles, West Aurora
This junior catcher has committed to Lewis. Led West Aurora to another 20-win season. Her 55 hits in 120 at-bats came with only 5 strikeouts. Batted .514 with 22 RBI and 29 runs. Stole 20 bases in 21 attempts. Defensively she only allowed 2 stolen bases. "No one runs on her," West Aurora coach Randy Hayslett said. "I truly believe she has the best arm in the area. No one we played had a better catcher honestly."
Teagan O'Rilley, Huntley
A junior third baseman committed to the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, O'Rilley's highlights included a grand slam in the seventh inning against Barrington as the 33-7 Red Raiders won their first sectional title. Heading into this weekend's state tournament, O'Rilley is hitting .437 with 15 home runs, 11 doubles, 40 RBI and 39 runs. Has a .981 slugging percentage and 1.547 OPS. "Teagan has been one of the harder outs to get in the Fox Valley this season," Huntley coach Mark Petryniec said. "Not only has she broken our home run record, but also the season base on balls record. She has a fantastic eye at the plate and is a phenomenal two-strike hitter. We look forward to having her another season."
Geneva Pollman, South Elgin
This senior left fielder led South Elgin with a .462 batting average. Had 10 doubles, 3 triples and 6 home runs for an .835 slugging percentage and 1.394 OPS. Scored 39 runs and drove in 32. Also came in relief to save 3 games for the 26-7, Upstate Eight champion Storm. Had a 1.72 ERA and 23 strikeouts in 20 innings. "At times carried us when needed a big hit," South Elgin coach Brad Reynard said. "She also had a great year defensively in left field."
Alexis Pupillo, Crystal Lake South
This freshman catcher burst on the scene leading the Gators with 69 hits including 17 doubles, 3 triples and 6 home runs as Crystal Lake South finished 31-3 and won its first outright Fox Valley Conference title since 1986. She scored 46 runs, drove in 43 and had a .531 average with a 1.417 OPS. Coach Scott Busam was just as impressed with her defense behind the plate. "She can throw runners out at any base at any time," Busam said. "As a freshman at the top of this lineup, her numbers are freakishly impressive. She's utterly fearless, and not only a great catcher, but a skilled, crafty base runner."
Rose Roach, Kaneland
Nobody hit the ball harder than this sophomore shortstop who is committed to Auburn. Roach hit .543 with a .976 slugging percentage and .586 on-base percentage for a 1.563 OPS. Roach blasted 17 doubles, 7 triples and 8 home runs for the 30-7 Knights. Also an All-Area selection as a freshman, Roach drove in 47 runs and scored 56. "She's the real deal," Kaneland coach Mike Kuefler said. "She continues to grow and get better as a softball player. It's a testament to what that kid does outside of high school. It definitely shows. We're blessed with two more years."
Grace Sobieski, St. Charles North
This senior shortstop batted .378 for the North Stars with a .469 on-base percentage, 25 hits, 11 RBI, 16 runs, 4 doubles and 7 stolen bases. Captain and three-year varsity player. Will play college softball at St. Leo. "Grace had a fantastic season for us," North Stars coach Tom Poulin said. "We will miss having her with us. Grace really came through at the plate this season and was very solid defensively. But more importantly, she has grown and learned so many valuable lessons over the years that I believe will help make her successful at the next level -- in the classroom and on the field."
Maddy Stout, St. Charles East
A senior four-year starter who will play next year at the University of Indianapolis, Stout impacted the game both at the plate and defensively with her range and strong arm in center field. Also an All-Area selection as a junior, Stout has hit .443 with an .817 slugging percentage, 1.297 OPS, 9 home runs, 14 doubles, 35 RBI and 41 runs heading into Friday's Class 4A state semifinal against Joliet West. "From top-level pitching to midlevel pitching, she's a kid that consistently put up the same numbers throughout," Saints coach Jarod Gutesha said. "Whenever she's up she's a threat to drive the ball. She's hauled some serious balls down in center field. She's got a determination about her. She's 100 percent all the time."
Emily Sulikowski, Crystal Lake South
This senior third baseman, a three-time All-Area selection, rewrote the Crystal Lake South record book for career home runs (28), RBI and batting average. Added 14 homers (season record) and 69 RBI while batting .496 with a 1.462 OPS this year. Hit .526 with runners in scoring position. "Emily has become the most prolific hitter in Crystal Lake South history," Gators coach Scott Busam said. "She is an absolute terror to pitchers, and if there are runners on base, she will hit them in. She's a wonderfully humble person, and arguably the kindest, most sincere player I've coached in my 18 years. Additionally, she's been a mainstay at third base for us, and a reliable defender."
Sofia Tenuta, Huntley
This senior catcher helped the Red Raiders to a school-record 33 wins -- and counting -- as Huntley will play in the state tournament for the first time this weekend. Tenuta is hitting .413 with 11 doubles, 12 home runs and a team-high 48 RBI. Has an .802 slugging percentage and 1.246 OPS. Repeat All-Area selection who had 8 home runs and 62 RBI as a junior. Will play college softball at Iowa Central Community College. "Sof has been a model of consistency over her four-year high school career," Huntley coach Mark Petryniec said. "She has hit for average and power in all of her seasons. She has been a pleasure to coach and we will miss her next season. We cannot wait to follow her career at the next level."
Emily Viebrock, Geneva
A junior first baseman, Viebrock led Geneva with 30 RBI as the Vikings rebounded from a 1-7 start to win the school's first sectional title as a No. 14 seed. Batted .376 with a .541 slugging percentage, 2 home runs, 2 triples and 8 doubles. Only made 1 error at first base. "Emily continued to find new ways to help us win ballgames," Geneva coach Greg Dierks said. "This year, along with her offensive contributions, she played nearly flawless defense at first base and she took over as a leader of the team. Her consistent play and positive attitude helped us overcome a slow start to our season and her 30 RBI helped us to win many close games."
Alex Wooten, St. Charles East
This senior second baseman swung one of the most consistent bats in the area for the 25-10 Saints. She'll take a .450 batting average and 1.249 OPS with 20 doubles and 4 home runs into this weekend's Class 4A state tournament. Scored 24 runs and drove in 40 including three of the team's four runs in a tight 4-3 win over Lake Park in the sectional championship game. Will play college softball at UW-Parkside. "She can hit for power but she can also go into two-strike protect mode where she gets the bat on the ball and moves it and when you do that good things happen," Saints coach Jarod Gutesha said. "She's never an easy out."
Aurora Central Catholic -- Lizzie Albert (so.), Olivia Hernandez (fr.)
Burlington Central -- Allison Catenacci (jr.), Abby Sanders (sr.), Peyton Curtis (jr.)
Bartlett -- Charlotte Linnartz (sr.), Anna Tomillo (sr.)
Batavia -- Cassidy Carby (so.)
Cary-Grove -- Kelly Johnson (jr.), Katy Wierczorek (jr.)
Crystal Lake South -- Brooke Kuffel (so.), Christina Toniolo (sr.)
Dundee-Crown -- Hannah Gestrich (sr.)
East Aurora -- Vivian Bahena (sr.)
Elgin -- Abby Sensor (sr.), Aaliyah Morales (jr.)
Geneva -- Shelly Deisz (so.), Madison Femia (jr.), Sydney Erdmann (sr.)
Hampshire -- Miki Snider (so.), Morgan Haefling (sr.)
Huntley -- Grace Kutz (sr.), Reece Hunkins (fr.)
Jacobs -- Katie Armstrong (sr.), Sarah Lynch (so.)
Kaneland -- Donatela Sommesi (jr.), Hailey Roach (sr.)
Larkin -- Ashley Miller (jr.), Katie Turner (so.)
Rosary -- Brooke Capparelli (so.), Chloe Saltijeral (jr.), Emily Hurst (sr.)
St. Edward -- Delaney Nolan (fr.), Sarah Mendoza (sr.)
St. Charles East -- Krista Sbarra (sr.), Lauren Luna (jr.), Paige Ligocki (sr.)
St. Charles North -- Sydney Eby (jr.), Ashlee Chantos (fr.)
South Elgin -- Cara Cruthers (fr.), McKenna Eichholz (jr.), Sidney Strama (sr.)
Streamwood -- Tessa Freedman (so.)
West Aurora -- Payton Lundberg (sr.), Sophia Delgado (sr.), Gab Drager (jr.)