For the second season in a row, Morghan Dieringer is the Southland’s “Queen of Ks.”
The Lincoln-Way West senior bettered her 2013 total of 205 by striking out 252 in 2014 in helping the Warriors to another 30-win season.
Dieringer’s name is at the top of every category in the school’s individual and career pitching record book.
“I still remember when we pulled Morghan up as a freshman and she threw her first varsity inning against Sandburg,” Warriors coach Heather Novak said. “She showed right away she would be a competitor.
“Morghan’s ability to make the ball move and her tremendous work ethic resulted in her dominance.”
Dieringer leaves West as the all-time single-season leader in fewest runs allowed (47), lowest WHIP (0.73), strikeouts (252), lowest opponents batting average (.134), lowest ERA (1.08), shutouts (10) and complete games (20).
Career-wise, she’s tops in shutouts (22), wins (62), innings (498), lowest WHIP (0.94), strikeouts (651), lowest opponents batting average (.186), lowest ERA (1.80) and complete games (49).
“I can’t say enough about Morghan and the impact she has had on Warriors softball,” Novak said. “She has set the bar extremely high for future pitchers in our program.”
Not far behind …
One Southland pitcher likely to chase the same kind of numbers is Providence’s Kendal Judge.
As a sophomore she posted a 16-7 record for the Celtics, striking out 245 in 152 innings and posting a 1.29 ERA. Among Judge’s impressive outings were shutouts vs. Mother McAuley and Lincoln-Way West.
“I was most impressed with the way Kendal improved from last year to this year and how consistent she was in every game,” Celtics coach Jay Biesterfeld said. “If we had more regular production from our lineup I’m not sure she would have lost too many games.”
All of Judge’s losses were in one-run affairs, the lone exception a 4-2 decision to Lincoln-Way East. She had a one-hitter through five innings against Marist before leaving because of an injury.
“She always pitched in the big games and didn’t disappoint,” Biesterfeld said. “We’re very excited for the next two years with her.”
The IHSA will have the first say in its sectional complex assignments as to whether another Class 4A semifinal of the two SouthWest Suburban rivals is possible.
Talent-wise, though, both have good numbers returning.
East expects back the outfield of Jenny Van Geertry, Alan Selvaggio and Olivia Prieto, infielders Eleni Kioussis, Nicole O’Donnell, catcher Blake Ruiz and pitcher Nikole Van Gennep.
Van Geertry would be a four-year varsity player in 2015.
“It has been amazing to watch her grow as a student and athlete,” East coach Elizabeth Pawlicki said. “Each year her batting improves as she gets smarter and smarter at the plate. I can only imagine what she will do as a senior.”
Sandburg expects back starting outfielders Kristen Zarate and Maddie Hanley, second baseman Bri Soltis and first baseman Katie Krzus.
Krzus (422) was the Eagles’ leading hitter in 2014.
“Katie led by example,” Sandburg coach Jim Fabianski said. “Her at-bats were quality. She didn’t strike out very much at all against some really good pitching. Her leading by example is going to be pretty powerful.”
The big question with Sandburg is pitching after the graduation of Sarah Herold, Emily Griskell and Caroline Kuzel. However, Maddie Poole and varsity newcomers Nikki Saviano and Mikaela Arrendondo should provide well in the circle.