The Northwest Suburbs' All-Area Softball Team
Sam Allen Rolling MeadowsAllen, who will continue playing at Bryant and Stratton College (Wauwatosa, WI), returns to the all-area team for the second straight season. The fine-fielding shortstop did a little bit of everything for the Mustangs, who placed third in the Mid-Suburban East. Coach Tony Wolanski called her "an all-around great player for the Mustangs." Allen had another superb season at the plate, batting .420. She also showed her power with 5 home runs and her speed with 8 stolen bases. "Sam was our leadoff hitter who sparked us in many games," Wolanski added. "Sam also played a nice shortstop for the Mustangs."
Leyden Atlas BarringtonIn her final season at Barrington, Atlas demonstrated all five softball tools of talent. She hit for average and for power. Atlas' .485 batting average as the team's No. 3 hitter led to 36 RBI and she also pounded out 9 doubles, 1 triple and 9 home runs for an .869 slugging percentage and .541 on-base percentage. Atlas could also catch and throw from center field (1.000 fielding percentage). Finally, her foot speed led to 6 stolen bases and 37 runs. "Leyden saved her best season for her senior season," said Barrington coach Perry Peterson of the Hofstra recruit. "Leyden was recognized as an all-tournament honoree at the 2019 Illinois Coaches Association tournament. You could see how important this was to Leyden this year and she always came to every team practice and game ready to work and give her best for the benefit of her teammates. She was a terrific leader by example on how to perform in game situations."
Sarah Bailitz HerseyBailitz pitched Hersey to its first sectional title in program history when she defeated Libertyville 3-2 at Palatine High School. The four-year varsity starter and Dayton recruit led the Huskies on the mound and in the batter's box where she hit .471 with 9 doubles, 3 triples and 5 home runs. "Sarah has a tremendous bat," said Hersey coach Molly Freeman. Bailitz struck out 110 batters this spring while compiling a 14-2 record and a 9-0 record in the month of May. She also pitched in at first base. "Sarah's competitive spirit is on display every game," Freeman said. "Her need to win is shown to her team in each play she makes. Sarah is a true leader."
Sara Benner Rolling MeadowsWith one of the most powerful bats in the state, Benner went into the history books in her four-year varsity career. The senior third baseman batted .445 with 12 home runs and 43 RBI. Benner broke seven team records, including 37 home runs in her career. Coach Tony Wolanski said she meant more to the team than just her contributions with the bat. "Sara was our leader on and off the field," he said. "Her positive attitude and her work ethic will be missed. Sara will go down as one of the best players to play for the Mustangs." She will continue her career at Rock Valley College in Rockford.
Morgan Bielfeldt St. ViatorBielfeldt started last season as the Lions' catcher and really grew into the role as field leader. "She has worked year-round to improve her skills offensively and defensively," said Lions coach John Scotillo. Bielfeldt led the team in almost all the offensive categories including her batting average (.385), on-base percentage (. 467), slugging percentage (. 585) and home runs (4). The East Suburban Catholic all-conference selection picked off four runners and caught nine stealing. "Morgan has always had tremendous athletic talent," Scotillo said. "But this year she improved her catching skills and technique especially blocking balls, framing pitches and her footwork throwing."
Amanda Bryne Maine WestByrne was a standout catcher for Maine West for the third straight season. Along with her impressive hitting statistics, she is also an excellent backstop for the pitching staff. "Of the seven runners brave enough to run against her in our conference (Central Suburban North), there was only one who was successful," said Warriors head coach Jim Dvorak. "Of the 23 stolen base attempts for the overall season, Amanda threw out 12 and picked off three at first base." Bryne led the team with a .417 batting average and she also hit for power by collecting 10 doubles, 2 triples and 3 home runs.
Angelina Craig Buffalo GroveOnly a freshman, Craig hardly looked like it, as she settled into the No. 3 spot in the Bison batting order where she batted .514 with 37 hits, 7 doubles, 1 triple and 4 home runs. "Her athleticism and versatility have been a bright spot in our lineup," said Buffalo Grove coach Starr Dorsey. "She puts in a lot of work offensively and has a great eye at the plate." Remarkably, the rookie shortstop struck out only once all season. "We look forward to seeing her continue to work hard and improve over the next three years," Dorsey said.
Cassie Cunniff ProspectCunniff never missed an inning of any game the Knights played this spring. And she had one of the most productive seasons of anyone in the Mid-Suburban League. Cunniff batted .587 with 54 hits, 14 doubles, 3 homers and 22 RBI. "Cassie has been a huge part of our softball program the past three years as our starting second basemen and our leadoff hitter," said Prospect coach Krystina Mackowiak. "As our leadoff hitter, the team depended on Cassie to get on base any way she could and use her speed around the bases to produce runs for us and she did just that." She also sparkled on defense. "Cassie's performance at second base was outstanding and often shut down offensive opportunities for opposing teams," Mackowiak added. "We will greatly miss Cassie next year and cannot wait to see what her future holds at Carleton College."
Rhiann Dick PalatineDick proved to be the perfect balance of mental toughness, competitiveness, and calmness in any game situation. "Rhiann hits her spots and mixes her pitches," said Pirates coach Nicole Capalbo. "She worked extremely hard in the offseason and gained the confidence she needed to be our starting pitcher this season. Our team loves playing behind her and she is one of the reasons our team was so successful this season. Dick also clicked with the bat, hitting .415 with 22 runs during the regular season. "Reaching 200 strikeouts in a season is a great milestone, and one that is reflective of the competitor that Rhiann is," said Pirates pitching coach Kristen Proffitt. "I'm excited to see what she brings for the rest of this season and for her senior year."
Grace Huff PalatineUndeniably one of the best softball players to ever wear the Palatine softball jersey and one of the best softball athletes in the state, Huff has essentially rewritten the program's record book. The Northwestern recruit batted .683 this season (11th best in state history). She was fourth all-time in the state with 257 careers hits, 18th for RBI in a season (75) and 15th in career batting average (. 580). "Grace is the spark plug and heart of our team," said Pirates coach Nicole Capalbo. "She is also one of the hardest working players, and has been a starter in every one of our varsity games for the past four years. She is selfless and wants to be the best role model and teammate for our younger players."
Ava Jordan FremdThe freshman made quite an impact in her first season wearing the Fremd uniform. And pressure situations hardly fazed the Vikings' outfielder. Jordan batted over .440 with runners in scoring position and over .400 with two outs and runners in scoring position. Ava's demeanor is controlled and reserved," said Fremd coach Josh Teschner. "But her ability on the field with a bat or a glove shines a bright light on this freshman." Jordan's clutch double down the line against Elk Grove was a walk-off winner in the bottom of the seventh. Jordan batted .415 with 20 RBI, 7 doubles, 4 home runs and 29 stolen bases in 30 attempts.
Kailey Kirkwood LeydenKirkwood's bat was easily one of the most dangerous in the area as she finished her senior season with a .588 average and .633 on-base percentage. "Kailey is a great kid from a fantastic family," said Leyden coach Kurt Schuett. "She cements herself as one of the greatest Leyden softball hitters of all time, and she will provide an immediate offensive boost to the softball program at Triton College." She had a 1.035 slugging percentage (12 doubles, 8 triples, 4 homers) and scored 52 runs with 42 RBI. "Kailey was one of this year's most prolific No. 3 hitters and one of the toughest outs in the state of Illinois," Schuett added. "Pitchers across the Chicagoland area will be happy to see Kailey graduate as she takes her potent bat to the collegiate ranks."
Brianna Luciano HerseyIt was easy to see why Luciano earned the Mid-Suburban East Player of the Year honor. Heading into the sectional championship, she hit .476 with 18 doubles, 3 triples and 6 home runs. Her defense was superb, as Hersey fans will never forget when she saved the sectional semifinal game against Palatine by making a great stop and then throwing out a runner at the plate to send the game to extra innings. "Briana has been an exceptional athlete during the last four seasons on varsity," said Hersey coach Molly Freeman. "When Brianna is not pitching (146 strikeouts) she is covering tremendous ground at shortstop." The Huskies' No. 3 hitter will continue her career at Winona State. "Brianna has an incredible love for the game and her positive attitude rubs off on all of her teammates as this year's Most Valuable Player," Freeman said.
Gina Magro BarringtonMagro made the most of her first season, starting in all 35 games as the Fillies' first baseman. She batted .355 with 38 hits, 11 doubles, 4 home runs, 30 runs, 41 RBI and 6 stolen bases. Magro hit .418 with runners in scoring position (23-of-55). On defense, she collected 288 putouts, 7 assists and only 3 errors. "Gina is a tremendous person who comes from a family of athletes, including sister Julie who led the Fillies to the 2015 IHSA state softball finals," said Barrington coach Perry Peterson. "She had outstanding leadership skills and willingness to be the ultimate teammate, Her throwing skills are tremendous and her softball IQ is terrific." Magro will continue her career as a member of the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point women's ice hockey team.
Kalyn McCarthy FremdOne of the most dynamic freshmen to come through Fremd in quite some time, McCarthy is off and running, literally. With 51 stolen bases this spring, she sets up the Vikings' offense at a breakneck tempo. McCarthy batted. .452 with 41 runs, 15 RBI and 2 doubles. "Her ability to soft slap, bunt and swing away make her a unique weapon in the Fremd arsenal of talented freshmen," said Fremd coach Josh Teschner. "As a shortstop, Kalyn's range is wherever she wants to go."
Emily Parrott PalatineCoach Nicole Pauly Capalbo calls Parrott one of the best athletes to ever play shortstop at Palatine. And that means something, because Capalbo is one of the other all-time finest to play shortstop for the Pirates. "As a four-year varsity starter, Emily is not only strong on defense, but she is a threat on offense," Capalbo said. "She has many tools in her toolbox and can sneak bunt for a hit or drive the ball over the fence." Parrott, an Appalachian State recruit, batted .455 with 51 hits, 50 runs and 18 RBI. "Emily came up clutch in many games and set the table for the rest of her teammates to drive her in," Capalbo said. "She was one of the leaders that shined this season and many of the younger players see her as a positive role model that is very competitive and passionate about the game of softball. It has been an honor to coach Emily -- her knowledge about the game of softball is immense and she will be a great player and coach in the future. Emily will leave our program better than it was when she came in and has set the bar extremely high for future PHS softball athletes."
Katia Pendowski Elk Grove Pendowski put together her third straight standout season. The Grens' catcher set a school record with 73 RBI, breaking the former mark of 62. "Katia's offensive numbers in all categories in each of her three years have increased from the previous season," said Elk Grove coach Ken Grams. "These increases are a direct result of the work ethic and focus she brings to practice each day." Pendowski batted .508 and collected 60 hits, 14 homers, 8 doubles and 41 runs. "Katia possesses remarkable concentration in all that she does," Grams added. "Additionally she is a true student of the game. She has great understanding and anticipation. Her defensive skills have also improved with each season, which is a testament to her hard work."
Kendall Peterson BarringtonPeterson finished her high school career at the top of her game. She produced multiple single-season school records as a senior, a 35-game hitting streak, a .571 batting average, a .639 on-base percentage and a 1.114 slugging percentage. "All the hard work has paid off," said Barrington coach Perry Peterson. Peterson's two-way talents included a season of 60 hits, 57 runs, 18 doubles, 13 home runs, 53 RBI, 117 total bases and 7 stolen bases. At third base, Peterson played in all 35 games this spring and converted 60 of 61 chances. "Kendall is a fierce competitor and we were lucky to have her in our dugout," coach Peterson said of the Northwestern recruit who was an Illinois Coaches Association all-state performer as a junior and recognized as an all-tournament honoree at the 2019 Washington Panther Classic and the Illinois Coaches Association tournament.
Kaitlyn Reed PalatineReed, who batted .549 from the leadoff spot, gained high praise from Pirates coach Nicole Capalbo. "Kaitlyn is the most athletic player that I have had the opportunity to coach," Capalbo said. "She is strong, fast, aggressive and has great game knowledge. Her versatility as a player shined when we moved her from the outfield to start every game this season at third base." Reed collected 56 hits, 52 runs, 36 RBI and 7 homers (. 912) as a junior. "Kaitlyn is one of the hardest working players on our team and is constantly working on improving every aspect of her game both offensively and defensively," Capalbo added. "She came up clutch in many important game situations. Kaitlyn also developed into one of our team leaders and someone the younger players look up to. I am excited to see all the softball records that Kaitlyn can break during her tenure here."
Amanda Stanczuk PalatineWhen it came to bat strength, Stanczuk was one of the best around. She slugged for a 1.041 percentage with 22 doubles and 6 homers. "Amanda is one of the most powerful hitters that I have gotten the chance to coach," said Pirates coach Nicole Capalbo. "Every ball off her bat is hit hard to every field." Batting cleanup, Stanczuk broke the school's single-season RBI mark with 75. "Her fun personality helped her teammates relax and she was a great leader both on and off the field," Capalbo said. "It has been such a pleasure to coach Amanda. She is kind, driven, has a quiet confidence, and is the type of player that has many uncoachable qualities. She has set the bar extremely high for future PHS softball athletes." Stanczuk will attend the University of Wisconsin-Platteville.
Emily Taucher ConantA first-year varsity starter, Taucher was first in many of the Cougars' offensive categories, including 29 hits and scoring 18 runs. She finished the season with a .408 batting average and on-base percentage of .500. First-year coach Allie Bauch called the senior third baseman a leader on and off the field. "Emily is a selfless teammate who plays with heart every moment she is in that uniform," said Bauch, a former Cougars standout shortstop herself. "She has a great personality and her attitude, enthusiasm and leadership has shown our young team the importance of having fun but staying focused. Her presence will be missed next year."
Talia Torosian SchaumburgA three-year starter and student of the game, Torosian was always a threat at the plate no matter who was on the mound for the opposing team. The solid fielding shortstop served as a perfect example for newcomers for coach Ellen Abreu's club. "Talia has been a leader for us both on the field and at the plate," Abreu said of her multisport standout. Torosian finished with a .404 batting average. Of her 38 hits, 9 were doubles and 5 were home runs. She also collected 27 RBI with a .660 slugging percentage. "Talia is a hardworking driven individual," Abreu added. "She wants to do her best day-in and day-out."
AJ Trausch Elk GroveTrausch showed her power in her second season on the varsity by clubbing 16 homers, the second most in a single season at Elk Grove. The sophomore center fielder also batted .471 with 48 hits, 50 runs, 47 RBI, 12 doubles and a triple. "The best words to describe AJ as a player game after game are consistent and reliable," said Elk Grove coach Ken Grams. "As a defender, she reads the ball off the bat extremely well and she has an outstanding arm and makes great decisions." Trausch's .570 on-base percentage also led the team. "She is a hard worker and practices really well," Grams added. "Along with her batting average, her power numbers increased from a year ago (29 of her 49 hits were for extra bases)."
Makayla Tsagalis HerseyTsagalis has been a mainstay as the Huskies' leadoff batter and left field batter for the past four years. The speedy senior batted .602 with 14 doubles, 5 triples and 4 home runs this spring while helping Hersey to a third straight Mid-Suburban East crown and a first sectional title. She successfully swiped 19 bases. "Makayla put her speed on display to help score as many runs for her team as possible," said Hersey coach Molly Freeman. "Along with her outstanding offense she is our golden glove winner running down every fly ball that comes her way." Tsagalis will play at the University of South Dakota next season.
Allison Ardito (St. Viator), Nicole Ardito (St. Viator), Kelsey Brauer (Fremd), Gabby Demma (Maine West), Bre Deutscher (Leyden), Cali DiVito (Fremd), Elle Engelke (Leyden), Megan Fontanetta (Buffalo Grove), Yaritza Frias (Leyden), Savannah Gazda (Hersey), Abigail Gawlinski (Maine West), Elaina Kraus (Fremd), Jaimie Klicka (Elk Grove), Emily LaCaesye (Wheeling), Tara Mackey (Leyden), Olivia Masnica (Elk Grove), Elyse McLaughlin (Leyden), Brianna Migaczewski (Maine West), Elyse McLaughlin (Leyden), Cece Kaiser (St. Viator), Samantha Murphy (Barrington), Sophie Rainey (Schaumburg), Gianna Saverino (St. Viator), Emily Schmidt (Rolling Meadows), Katherine Stagnito (Barrington)