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Sports

Softball: Previewing Glenbard East, IC Catholic Prep, Montini, Timothy Christian, Willowbrook and York

York's Katherine Karnatz tags a Downers Grove North runner May 10 during a game at North. Karnatz drew two walks and scored once as the Dukes rallied from an early deficit only to fall 7-5.
York's Katherine Karnatz tags a Downers Grove North runner May 10 during a game at North. Karnatz drew two walks and scored once as the Dukes rallied from an early deficit only to fall 7-5.

The high school softball season has begun as teams start their quest toward the state finals in East Peoria. Here is a preview of area teams.

Glenbard East Rams

Coach: Dawn Chantos

2017 record: 11-19

Top players

NAME YEAR POS.

Tori Tyler sr. P

Sam Dooley sr. CF

Alivia Chuman sr. 3B

Elise Versetto sr. 2B

Ari King jr. C

Joselyn Molinar jr. OF

Alexia Gonzalez so. SS

Brooke Hernandez fr. 1B

Outlook: The Rams are looking forward to a big season with five seniors and eight returning starters.

Tyler is a returning all-conference pitcher. Dooley, who hit .353, is another all-conference pick that returns. Chuman, who hit .381, was honorable mention all-conference. Versetto hit .326.

“Returning so many starters is nice because the girls know each other and are playing well together as a team,” Chantos said. “Our seniors are strong, positive leaders that bring the team together.”

IC Catholic Prep Knights

Coach: Frank Reaber

2017 record: 21-13

Top players

NAME YEAR POS.

Josie Lytton sr. C

Kayla Faber jr. P

Natalie Murillo jr. 2B

Kayla Cervantes jr. CF

Alessandra Eccardt so. 1B

Dani Murillo so.

Emma Lytton so.

Brooklyn Campos so.

Rebecca Cash fr. P/3B

Outlook: The Knights graduated just one starter off a team that lost in the supersectional to Beecher, finishing one win shy of their first state trophy. Josie Lytton and Faber are returning all-conference players.

“Our school is in the top bracket for the MSC conference, yet we are one of the smallest schools, so we have some tough competition,” Reaber said. “However, we are strong in our pitching and catching and in our hitting.”

Montini Lady Broncos

Coach: Mike Bukovsky

2017 record: 28-7

Top players

NAME YEAR POS.

Nikki Cuchran sr. 3B

Bri Clifton sr. P

Emily Alexander jr. OF/SS

Lauren Latoria jr. 2B/P

Alyssa Filkowski jr. OF

Samantha Ferruzza sr. C

Elyse Spaccapaniccia so. C/1B

Ashley Lynch sr. C/1B

Outlook: No shortage in experience, and a lineup that could pile up the runs. The Lady Broncos have several third- and fourth-year starters returning from a team that won the GCAC Red Tournament, and regional and sectional championships. Leading that group is DePaul recruit Cuchran, an all-state pick who hit .619 with 11 homers, 20 doubles and 65 runs batted in.

Clifton, who will play collegiately at Nicholls State, has 41 wins and 279 strikeouts the past two seasons, and hit .491 with 34 RBIs last year. Alexander, another third-year starter committed to Tennessee-Martin, hit .434, Filkowski hit .421 with seven homers and 28 RBIs and Latoria hit .309. Added to that mix is Lynch, a transfer from Queen of Peace with power.

“We should again be a strong defensive team, and have more power than recent years,” Bukovsky said. “Our bench will be the deepest we have had in a while, and our team speed is much improved.”

Timothy Christian Trojans

Coach: Lindsay Slovey

2017 record: 3-11 in conference

Top players

NAME YEAR POS.

Liv Schuringa sr. C/1B

Lauren Gehrke jr. P/SS

Allison Heersink jr. SS/P

Outlook: Injuries have hurt the Trojans in the past, but Slovey is pleased to report a full roster and a lot of growth in her program. Schuringa, Gehrke and Heersink will lead the way.

“We will be a young team that is looking forward to a year of growth,” Slovey said.

Willowbrook Warriors

Coach: Rachel Karos

2017 record: 10-20

Top players

NAME YEAR POS.

Katie Smith sr. 3B

Emma Barrington jr. C

Sam Mishlove jr. CF

Amy Bussa jr. 1B

Maddie Campbell sr. P

Chloe Zunkel sr. OF

Shannon Knudtson so. SS

Caroline Dooley fr. P

Annemarie Knudtson fr. 2B/P

Outlook: Smith, an all-conference pick, leads five returning starters, and Mishlove is a third-year varsity player.

“I think as the year progresses we will improve in many areas, but defense will end up being a strength of ours,” Karos said.

York Dukes

Coach: Elizabeth Munn

2017 record: 18-14

Top players

NAME YEAR POS.

Kyra Kroll sr. CF

Izzy Smith jr. 3B

Katherine Karnatz jr. SS/OF

Mia Tran sr. 2B

Lauren Wojcik sr. P/1B

Jane Moran sr. OF

Outlook: Expectations are high for the Dukes with an experienced roster seven seniors deep.

Leading the way is Western Illinois recruit Kroll, who hit .520 with seven homers and 46 RBIs as a junior.

Smith, committed to Northern Illinois, hit .405 with 33 RBIs and Karnatz hit .383. Tran, with 30 RBIs last year, and Moran, with 22 stolen bases, are others to watch. Moran leads the York pitchers.

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