CAROL STREAM – Cece Dopart might have a quiet demeanor about her.
But the Glenbard North senior's performance inside the pitching circle this spring certainly spoke volumes.
Ascending from the Panthers' No. 2 pitcher a year ago to the staff ace this spring, Dopart quickly became a dominant workhorse who played a starring role in her team's third-place finish in Class 4A.
"She has always been that shy girl," Glenbard North coach Josh Sanew said, "that says let me get out there and do my thing. She was a great leader on the mound by the way she gets after it.
"It's unreal, at times during the season, we were playing almost every day of the week. We wanted to make sure she wasn't getting tired and she would say, 'I pitched all summer long, give me the ball.' She waited her turn last year and she wanted the ball every chance she got. She was amazing."
Regular season highlights were a plenty, from yielding three combined runs in wins over powerhouse offensive clubs Benet and Downers Grove South to throwing a perfect game against West Aurora to recording every out via strikeout against Wheaton North.
Then the right-hander somehow found even another gear in the postseason, allowing just five earned runs while striking out 54 in five complete games as Glenbard North advanced to the state tournament for the first time since 2001.
In addition, Dopart seemingly was at her best in the pressure situations, working out of a handful of bases loaded jams, including two in the supersectional shutout victory over Oak Park River Forest.
"In those situations, I just want to make sure all of my pitches are perfect," Dopart said. "I just make sure I do all my mechanics correctly."
And when the dust settled and all was said and done, the final numbers were staggering. Dopart, whose record was 27-5, gave up 119 hits in 216 innings while fanning 324, compiling an ERA right around one.
"Cece was great," senior second baseman Alex Caliva said. "It makes it easy for a team to give it their all behind a pitcher like that. To have her pitching like that all season, it definitely made it easier for us and offensively, she helped us out as well. She gave us a lot of opportunities to come out and win."
Dopart tossed credit right back to her teammates after the Panthers finished third in Class 4A.
“I'm really proud of my team," she said, "and wouldn't have wanted to be here with anyone else since we had such great team chemistry. This was a great group of girls so I'm happy I got to experience it with them."
The senior was the latest in a string of standout pitchers for the Panthers, which has included the likes of Hannah Santora (graduate of Grand Valley State), Lilly Fecho (Purdue) and Lindsey Cherry (Lafayette).
"She averaged one and a half strikeouts per inning," Sanew said. "That's insane, especially with who we played. If [the rubber] was still 40 feet away, what numbers could she have put up?
"She does what she does best. She wants to come at you with power and strength. And I think the biggest thing, she loves to throw inside. So many pitchers now pitch away, away. When you can dominate the inside of the plate, you become so much more lethal."
The right-hander is set to continue her career at Eckerd College, a Division II program in Florida.