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Sports

Softball: Previewing Hinsdale Central, Hinsdale South, Lyons, Morton, Nazareth and Riverside-Brookfield

Dynamic two-way threat Nadia Ranieri hit .516 with seven doubles, two homers, 53 runs scored and 23 RBIs last year for sectional finalist Riverside-Brookfield. On the mound went 16-3 with 175 strikeouts in 129.1 innings.
Dynamic two-way threat Nadia Ranieri hit .516 with seven doubles, two homers, 53 runs scored and 23 RBIs last year for sectional finalist Riverside-Brookfield. On the mound went 16-3 with 175 strikeouts in 129.1 innings.

The high school softball season is on hold for now, but that won't stop us from taking a look at what teams will look like. Here is a preview of area teams.

FENWICK FRIARS

Coach: Sarah James

2019 record: 21-14

Top Players

Name Year Pos.

Andrea Fuentes sr. P

Sadie Briggs sr. P

Ciara Herbert sr. OF

Gianna Amundsen jr. P

Outlook: The Friars graduated three four-year varsity players, including starting shortstop and top hitter Rachel Martinez, but are not low on returning starters with 10 seniors. All-conference outfielder Herbert hit .370 last year. Amundsen, like Herbert voted team captain, had 36 strikeouts on the mound. Fenwick has won three straight regional titles, but seeks its first sectional title since 2013.

"We have high expectations this season," James said. "All 10 seniors have leadership qualities. After earning the regional championship title for a few years now, they are set on a mission to win sectionals and make a run for state."

HINSDALE CENTRAL RED DEVILS

Coach: Brittany Zust

2019 record: 3-18

Top Players

Name Year Pos.

Lainey Harvey jr. OF/1B

Brooke Bauer so. IF

Mary Grant jr. P

Outlook: Zust said she's excited to see the rebuild of the program come to life, with additions to the roster she believes will beneft the team. Harvey hit .296 last season playing outfield and first base; Bauer hit .306 playing infield. Grant logged 65 innings on the mound and hit .217 at the plate.

"Despite our recent events, I am praying we get some games in so the girls can get a chance to prove themselves," Zust said. "They are a dedicated and hardworking bunch of ladies."

HINSDALE SOUTH HORNETS

Coach: Shannon Fuller

2019 record: 7-20

Top Players

Name Year Pos.

Sam Pacentine sr. P/LF

Abbey Leban jr. P

Stephanie Rochowicz so. P

Megan McGinley jr. C

Mary Lavorato jr. C

Nikki Berger so. U

Emily Corson sr. 1B

Kaylin Drake so. 2B

Skylar Hayes jr. 3B

Erin Leake sr. 1B/U

Aaliyah Scott sr. 2B/OF

Brooke Steinhaus sr. 1B/3B/OF

Nicole Kaleta fr.

Outlook: First-year coach Fuller has 10 returning players from last year's team, including Pacentine, Lehan and Rochowicz on the mound. Pacentine played left field last year when she wasn't pitching. The Hornets also appear to have a ton of utility players capable of playing multiple positions.

"I have incredibly high expectations for this team," Fuller said. "The girls know that in order to progress this season, everyone in the program must work hard, communicate, and help to push the bus forward together."

LYONS TOWNSHIP LIONS

Coach: Nicole Paluch

2019 record: 10-15

Top Players

Name Year Pos.

Lily Hanafin so. P/1B

Ava Kostecki jr. P/CF

Payton McQueeney sr. C

Emily Joseph so. 3B

Ava Paganis so. 2B

Anna Bryant so. 1B/3B

Outlook: The Lions graduated three-year starting shortstop and leadoff hitter Katelyn Malinowski, but Hanafin leads the returners. Hanafin hit a team-high .391 last year and also led Lyons in hits (23), homers (five) and RBIs (23) while striking out 58 batters in 45 innings. Kostecki struck out 112 batters in 84.1 innings while posting a 2.49 ERA, McQueeney is a wall behind the plate, and Joseph is a strong defender who could get moved to the outfield. Paganis, who started almost every game at second base as a freshman, could be moved to shortstop.

"The Lions are eager to get the season underway, and excited to grow as a young team this season," Paluch said. "We look forward to learning from any mistakes along the way, jelling as a team and playing at a competitive level throughout the season."

MORTON MUSTANGS

Coach: Tommy Blood

2019 record: 13-14

Top Players

Name Year Pos.

Mina Salazar sr. 2B

Alexis Maldonado sr. P

Paulina Viveros sr. C

Artleth Cruz sr. SS

Ailany Reyes sr. CF

Kiana Roman sr. OF/P

Desiree Gonzalez jr. OF

Alisa Habercamp jr. 3B

Outlook: The Mustangs return six starters, led by four-year varsity starters and all-conference players Salazar at second base and Maldonado on the mound for fourth-year head coach Blood. Viveros is a three-year varsity starter and returning all-conference catcher. Cruz, Reyes and Roman are other key players back.

"I have seen the leadership of my seniors really take control of this team," Blood said. "They have really bonded together and it shows on the field. I’m excited to see the fight in my girls this year. We have learned to play hard, respect our opponents and the game of softball. Our goal is to play one game at a time as hard as we can and learn from our mistakes."

NAZARETH ROADRUNNERS

Coach: Vicki Sobol

2019 record: 12-24

Top Players

Name Year Pos.

Toni Rodriguez jr. 3B

Jazmyn Casas so. SS

Emily Monahan jr. 2B/OF

Ally Layne jr. P

Olivia Mardirosian jr. P

Alli Mangan so. OF

Gianna Lopez jr. P

Ava Calderon fr. IF/OF

Nicole Salata sr. OF

Outlook: First-year head coach Sobol, who has been in the program for three years, takes over a Nazareth team that graduated standout Jordan Barnes, but with 12 returning players is poised for a bounce-back season. Rodriguez (.368, 26 RBIs), Casas (.398, 22 RBIs) and Monahan (.336, 29 RBIs) have all played on varsity since they were freshmen. Layne and Mardirosian return for their third season on varsity. Mangan and Lopez are both returning from injuries.

"We see so much potential in the team," Sobol said. "We are expecting to come back this season with a vengeance."

RIVERSIDE-BROOKFIELD BULLDOGS

Coach: Doug Schultz

2019 record: 27-5

Top Players

Name Year Pos.

Nadia Ranieri sr. P/OF

Emily Noel sr. C

Abby Favela sr. SS

Olivia Blood sr. 2B

Aliana Chiquito sr. OF

Jaqueline DiMonte sr. P/OF

Isabella Garcia jr. IF/DP

Emily Bloom jr. P/OF

Hannah Organ so. P/IF

Ava Vjestica jr. IF/OF

Outlook: The Bulldogs return nine players, six of them starters, from a 27-win team that reached the sectional final. Leading the way are returning All-Staters Ranieri, who hit .516 with 53 runs scored and went 16-3 with 175 strikeouts on the mound, and power-hitting catcher Noel, who hit .431 with 12 homers, 37 runs scored and 50 RBIs. Favela is a three-year starter; Blood, Chiquito, Garcia and Organ are two-year starters. Vjestica, a newcomer to R-B, started on Montini's 2018 Class 3A state championship team. A challenging schedule includes Marist, Lockport and Sandburg.

"We are looking to continue to grow after having a historic season last year," Schultz said.

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