CAROL STREAM – Aside from the poor weather that threatens the early stages of the 2014 season, Josh Sanew has plenty of reasons to be smiling these days.
Coming off a 26-win campaign last spring, the Glenbard North softball coach welcomes five future collegiate players back to the diamond in what promises to be another successful season for the program.
The Panthers’ entire infield is back, with third baseman Stephanie Campos (Bradley), shortstop Sydney Benz (Louisville), second baseman Alex Caliva (Illinois State) and first baseman Heather Sperlazzo (Grand Valley State) around the horn.
Benz hit .459 a year ago with three home runs and 29 RBIs. Sperlazzo finished the year with a .391 average and 29 RBIs, Caliva hit .366 with nine doubles and Campos batted .314 with eight doubles.
Center fielder Sarah Petzold (Albany-New York) also returns to lead the outfield after hitting .337 with 17 RBIs last spring.
Inside the pitching circle, Cece Dopart takes over as the team’s No. 1 hurler after throwing 56 innings as a junior. She finished with a record of 8-0, with a sparkling 0.37 ERA and 67 strikeouts.
“We return six seniors and two juniors from last year’s team,” Sanew said, “so we have high expectations. We should be a very tough team.”
Glenbard North finished second in the DuPage Valley conference in 2013 behind Naperville Central, which went through league play undefeated. The Redhawks should again be a force behind Northern Illinois bound pitcher Keegan Hayes. Conference newcomer Lake Park, along with Wheaton Warrenville South, also are expected to join North as conference title contenders.