Naperville Sun’s softball preview

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Last season: 22-8, lost to Downers North in sectional semifinal.

Outlook: Redwings return four-year starters Marissa Panko and Julianne Rurka, three-year starters Emily York, Steph Abello and Jessica Brown, and a 31-game winner in pitcher Molly Moran. The addition of Downers North transfer Rowan McGuire gives Benet tough outs through its first five hitters.

Metea Valley

Last season: 11-22, lost to Benet in regional semifinal.

Outlook: In rebuilding mode, Mustangs will count on returnees Laura Sense, Jenna Hall, Alise Perna, Katie Kennedy, Kara Leckinger, and Becca Fattes to help that process along. “Hopefully our young players will adjust quickly to varsity play,” Metea coach Kris Kalivas said.

Naperville Central

Last season: 32-4, lost to Downers South in regional final.

Outlook: Redhawks won their first DVC title since 1989 and return a ton of talent, led by Syracuse-bound Maddie Doane, along with a 22-game winner in Keegan Hayes and catcher Kaitlyn Skarecky. Julie Kestas, Lindsey Gonazalez, Lisa Tassi, and Megan Nerger also headline a quality core.

Naperville North

Last season: 14-16, lost to Downers South in regional semifinal.

Outlook: Five players set to play college softball lead eight returning starters for team aiming to rebound from sub-.500 season. Huskies are led by Pittsburgh recruit Alexis Solak, Kailee Budicin, Kelsey Warren, Casey Rechenmacher, Emily Hillier, Rachel Martin, Rachel Airdo, and Bailey Engel.

Neuqua Valley

Last season: 18-12, lost to Yorkville in regional semifinal.

Outlook: Wildcats feature mix of experience and young talent, led by returnees Colleen Hill, Jamie O’Brien, Megan Bilgri, Haleigh Yerkes, Kristin Catalano and Jenny Budds. Add seven new faces from a successful JV team in 2013 and Neuqua is aiming to compete among area’s best

Waubonsie Valley

Last season: 23-6, lost to WW South in regional semifinal.

Outlook: Last year’s Upstate Eight Valley champs boast Shannon Hohman who went 19-6 in the circle and hit .388 with 37 RBI last year. A solid-hitting lineup includes NIU-bound Melaina Koulos, Amanda Lack, Layne Thresh, Meghan Grannan, and Jordan Kurth.

The Latest
Ramirez, a Chicago native, retired from professional softball in August. She’s an assistant coach at DePaul.
Since he has been gone, the Bears have been done. The locker room hasn’t been the same, the coaches have been searching for answers, and the organization hasn’t a clue what to do.
It’s still a calumny Murdoch continues to poison the nation’s inkwell with fake Fox news; but I am ever so grateful for the day he was forced out the door of the Sun-Times, thus enabling this journalist to witness the golden age of Chicago’s two great American newspapers.
Naperville Central forced four turnovers en route to claiming the rivalry’s WildHawk Trophy for the first time since 2017 and winning at Neuqua Valley for the first time since 2014.