The DuPage County All-Area Softball Team
Halle Arends, Naperville Central
Arends capped an impressive four years on varsity with a .492 batting average with 16 doubles, 37 runs scored and an OPS of 1.196, while just as strong in the circle: 9-3 in the DVC, 16-10 overall with 194 strikeouts in 162 innings. She was named team MVP each of last two years. Arends homered in the regional win over West Aurora and finished with 49 pitching wins, 553 strikeouts and 8 shutouts.
Kaitlyn Bresingham, WW South
The first baseman has been all-DuKane Conference and All-Area three times and helped the Tigers program turn around. That included a 24-10 season in 2019 that featured a regional title. She batted .361 with 3 HR, 25 RBI and 28 runs. "She's poised, competitive and an outstanding example of how to compete and prepare for practice and games. No one outworks Bres, and her teammates value her as an unquestioned leader on this team," coach Jeff Pawlak said.
Carly Briggs WW South
Flawless at second base, the two-year all-DuKane Conference performer led the team's offense down the stretch. The junior had 41 hits for a .394 average with 3 HR and 25 RBI. "The ball just jumps off her bat," Pawlak said. "Since conference started she's been our best hitter. This is what she's capable of doing. She should be on everyone's radar throughout the summer and coming into the fall."
Caroline Caesar, St. Francis
The senior catcher was a huge reason the Spartans claimed the Class 3A sectional title and then improved to 28-3 by winning Monday's supersectional to advance to state. Through the regionals, the all-Metro Suburban Conference player batted .551 with 38 runs scored, 43 RBI and 12 home runs. "Caroline is a student of the game. She loves to play and leads the team by example," Spartans coach Ralph Remus said of Caesar, who will play at Hope College.
Rebecca Cash, ICCP
The Knights junior pitcher/third baseman is a two-year starter and two-year all-Metro Suburban Conference honoree. "She is a kid that always comes to play and does whatever I want and never complains no matter how hard I am on her," coach Frank Reaber said. Cash hit .456 this spring with 12 doubles, 3 triples, 7 HR, 39 RBI and went 9-5 with 103 strikeouts in 91 innings with a 3.54 ERA.
Carlee Jo Clark, St. Francis
The Southern Illinois University-bound senior starred in the circle and at the plate as the Spartans claimed the school's first sectional crown since 2005. "Carlee works harder than anyone to be the best she can be," Remus said. "She will not settle for anything less than her best, and she and her catcher Caroline (Caesar) are the team leaders." Headed into the sectional title game, the Metro Suburban Conference MVP hit .515 with 43 runs, 42 RBI and 10 HR, while going 21-2 with a 1.40 ERA.
Estelle Czech, Downers Grove North
The three-year varsity starter at pitcher/first baseman is committed to Boston College after going 16-4 with a 1.60 ERA, 232 strikeouts and 0.85 WHIP. "Estelle has improved each and every year and is a vital part of Downers Grove North softball success," Trojans coach Eric Landschoot said of the standout junior. "She is a hard worker who will do everything she can to become better than her competition." The all-WSC Silver selection was equally impressive at the plate, batting .432 with a .528 OBP, 7 HR, 27 RBI and 20 runs scored.
Lauren Derkowski, York
The sophomore hurler helped the Dukes get downstate as a freshman and was just as tough this spring. The Michigan-commit recorded 241 strikeouts and a 2.20 ERA, after winning 19 games last spring with more than 250 strikeouts. "Lauren Derkowski has led us on the mound this season with stellar performances. She has the grit, tenacity, compassion and commitment to always go out and give her best," York coach Elizabeth Munn said of Derkowski, who also batted .286 in 2019.
Alaina Eyberger, Naperville North
The versatile sophomore led off for the Huskies and played shortstop, third base and catcher while earning unanimous all-DuPage Valley Conference recognition. She had multiple hits in 13 games and Naperville North went 12-1 in those games. "Alaina led the team in seven traditional offensive categories and is a fun batter to watch. She has great bat skills," coach Jerry Kedziora said. Eyberger batted .385 with 7 HR, 32 RBI and 27 runs scored while posting an OPS of 1.121.
Emily Finger, Metea Valley
The Mustangs catcher was unanimous all-DuPage Valley Conference and shared the co-player of the year honor. She hit .393 with an on-base percentage of .495, led the team with 24 RBI and struck out just twice all season. "Emily has been a leader for us and is always willing to do anything needed in order to help our team be successful," said coach Kris Kalivas of the veteran who play at Carnegie Mellon next year. "She has been a four-year varsity starter and behind the plate she called her own game for half of the season."
Natalie Grubczak, Lake Park
As a senior the Lancers star was unanimous all-DuKane Conference and the league's pitcher of the year as the school claimed the first DKC title. She was 14-6 in the circle with 139 strikeouts and an ERA of 2.00. She batted .442 with 9 HR and 30 RBI. "Natalie has been an absolute workhorse on the mound this year. For a stretch this season she was carrying us offensively and defensively until the bats heated up," said coach Tom Mazzie, whose team advanced to the Class 4A sectional finals. "Hofstra is getting an absolute gem, they are lucky to have her."
Annemarie Knudtson, Willowbrook
The hard-hitting second baseman has helped the Warriors program rebound the last two springs, including a 20-win campaign in 2019. "'Ree' is a great athlete and competitor who is consistent in her attitude and her approach to the game," coach Rachel Karos said of the sophomore. "She is fearless, she is the one you want them to hit the ball to on defense and the one you trust most with a bat in her hand when you need to get the offense going and get a run on the board." Through 29 games she batted .461 with 8 HR, 33 RBI, 14 doubles and 37 runs scored.
Lauren Latoria, Montini
Latoria batted .480 with 5 HR and 35 RBI, including a pair of grand slams. The four-year varsity starter led the Broncos in batting average, slugging percentage and RBI this year. The solid shortstop was an all-GCAC selection and will be attending Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in the fall. Latoria teamed with fellow senior Alyssa Filkowski to provide plenty of pop in a lineup that was hit hard by graduation following last year's title run.
Isa Lozada, Fenton
After starting at shortstop almost from Day One as a freshman, Lozada holds just about every school record and had her jersey retired prior to her final home game. She set school records with 61 runs, a .579 batting average and 62 hits, she also had 6 HR and 44 RBI from the leadoff spot, along with 6 triples, 28 stolen bases and a 1.636 OPS. "Isa is far and away not only the best player to ever play for Fenton, but also the most important, major player in the culture change of the program," Bison coach Dave Mello said.
Ella Little, Glenbard South
Little went 17-4 in the circle with 2 saves and an ERA around 1.30 for the sectional finalists and claimed the school's all-time strikeout record with 608. "When I think of Ella the words 'work ethic' come to mind," Raiders coach Julie Fonda said. "She has become an expert in her craft and that is a credit to her hard work and dedication. Ella is a complete player from her bat, to the mound, to defense to baserunning -- she has such a high softball IQ." At the plate she hit. 471 with 4 HR, 37 RBI and struck out just 5 times while scoring 32 runs.
Randi McKay, Downers Grove South
The 2019 DuPage County Team Captain capped off a stellar four years by starring in the circle and at the plate for a 31-win Mustangs squad that reached the sectional finals. The UW-Green Bay commit hit what proved to be the game-winning homer in a sectional semifinal win and improved to 22-2 in that game. "She's intense. She's the type of player a coach dreams of having on the team," coach Jim Cushing said.
Abby Meeks, Neuqua Valley
A three-year starter, she played second base as a lefty her sophomore year before becoming a leader in the infield at first base. Meeks closed out her varsity stint with 20 HR and 103 RBI. "Abby Meeks has been one of if not the best athlete that has come through our program. Not only has she been a standout defensively in the infield, but an offensive threat for the past three years," Wildcats coach Christina Chrencik said. This spring she hit .422 with 6 HR, 34 RBI, 35 runs and was named the 2019 DVC Co-Player of the Year. She will attend Indiana University to play softball.
Brianna Pechman, West Chicago
The freshman left fielder led the county in steals with 31 in 33 attempts and scored 33 runs for the Wildcats while batting leadoff. She batted .430 with a .515 OBP while garnering all-Upstate Eight Conference honors. "She is a dynamic player that completely changed our lineup. She puts a tremendous amount of pressure on the defense as a hitter and baserunner," coach Sean Gimpert said. "She set school records in runs, stolen bases, batting average and on-base percentage."
Sidney Rau, Downers Grove South
A sparkling center fielder, she also shared the Mustangs lead in runs scored at 47 along with Maggie Greco. Rau batted an even .500 heading into the sectional final with 51 hits, 7 HR and a team-high 57 RBI. "Sidney Rau has been outstanding offensively and defensively all year," coach Jim Cushing said.
Kaitlyn Scheitler, Glenbard North
So feared at the plate opponents often pitched around her, yet she picked up DuKane Conference Player of the Year honors after hitting .483 with 11 HR, 37 RBI, 36 runs and just 4 strikeouts. The slugger started four years for the Panthers and hit from Day One, compiling some impressive stats including: .493 avg, 162 hits, 106 runs, 30 2B, 7 3B, 31 HR, 135 RBI, and a .911 slugging percentage. "Kaitlyn is one of the best hitters I have ever coached and seen in my career. She had an amazing year even though everyone in the area new about her," coach Josh Sanew said.
Jacqui Abogado, Naperville Central, 3B, so.; Emily Alexander, Montini, CF, sr.; Karly Bernhard, Downers Grove North, OF, jr.; Abby Casmer, Lisle, SS, so.; Libby Eichberger, Metea Valley, OF/SS, so.; Izzy Fawcett, WW South, P, jr.; Ellie Hubbard, Wheaton North, IF, so.; Emma Johannes, Naperville North, OF, sr.; Jamie Kaiser, Lisle, C, sr.; Katherine Karnatz, York, SS, sr.; Kiley Koziol, Glenbard West, P/1B, so.; Caitlyn Kulczyski, Willowbrook, P, fresh.; Emma Lytton, ICCP, C, jr.; Kelsey O'Connor, Neuqua Valley, OF, sr.; Mackenzie Relihan, Benet, C, jr.; Anna Ruffolo, Addison Trail, IF, so.; Chloe Steinhaus, Neuqua Valley, SS, sr.; Alyssa Sturino, Lake Park, CF, sr.; Grace Wallner, Glenbard South, SS, jr.; Kaitlyn Wilson, Downers Grove South, 1B, sr.