Coach: Haley Albamonte
Last year’s record: 3-21, 1-13 (Lost to Huntley 9-0 in 4A regional semifinal)
Top returners: Lauren Gates, sr., OF; Megan Gates, sr., INF; Ayla Gould, so., P/UT; Abby Stoffa, sr., C
Key newcomers: Sydney Myles, fr., OF/INF
Worth noting: The Barbs return 10 players and are hopeful they can stay healthy and find some depth in the circle to lighten the load on Gould, who tossed 113 innings as a freshman last spring. “Our success will be determined on how healthy girls stay and being able to keep two arms in the circle,” Albamonte said. “Having some versatility and options this year with pitching will allow us to use Gould elsewhere in the field.”
Coach: Jill Carpenter
Last year’s record: 19-14, 8-6 (Lost to Belvidere 8-2 in 3A regional semifinal)
Top returners: Addison Dierschow, so., P; Tia Durst, sr., SS; Addie McLaughlin, so., CF; Brooklyn Snodgrass, sr., 3B/C
Key newcomers: Kairi Lantz, fr., C/3B/1B
Worth noting: The Spartans are blessed with a lot of interchangeable parts, feel good about many players in several positions and see defense as their strength this season. On the flip side, the team has little varsity experience in the pitcher’s circle, and its own players will need to adjust to hitting varsity pitching. With seven underclassmen on the roster, the Spartans will be gaining experience by playing. “We need to get a few bats going to support Durst and McLaughlin, who will hold down the top of the order,” Carpenter said. “If we can do that, we will be very competitive in just about every game we play.”
Coach: Erica Swan
Last year’s record: 12-19, 7-11 (Lost to Sandwich 3-2 in 2A regional quarterfinal)
Top returners: Violet Northrup, sr., CF; Emily Trzynka, jr., SS/OF/P; Christine Venditti, sr., C/3B
Key newcomers: Elizabeth Davis, fr., P/1B; Lillian Provost, fr., OF/2B
Worth noting: The Cogs have more depth and versatility both defensively and offensively this season than they’ve had in the past. “I think the past few seasons we have had moments where all the moving parts were coming together,” Swan said. “This season, we’re all systems go.” Venditti (Rock Valley College) is the first among several Cogs, including Trzynka and fellow juniors Kiearah Mitchell, Reagan Tomlinson and Faith Thompson, as well as some underclassmen, who are working hard to play beyond high school.
Coach: Dayna Breese
Last year’s record: 6-12, 3-9 (Lost to Dakota 11-1 in 5 innings in 1A regional semifinal)
Top returners: Grace Bolin, sr., SS/3B; Crystal Haack, sr., 3B/C; Malia Hampton, jr., 1B; Madison Krumweide, so., P/OF; Brooklyn Rylko, jr., LF/CF; Faith Wellman, sr., RF/CF
Key newcomers: None
Worth noting: The Hawks lost a lot of great talent from a season ago and are young this spring. “However,” Breese said. “I can’t explain enough how dedicated and hardworking this team is. Whatever we lost in talent last year has been replaced with the best work ethic this year.” Breese is particularly excited to work with players who share a love of the game and a willingness to learn. “I am so excited to see what this season holds,” Breese said. “And how the really ‘green’ team will fare against big competition. Either way, I am extremely proud of them already.”
Coach: Denver Davis
Last year’s record: 7-12, 6-6 (Lost to Earlville 6-4 in 1A regional quarterfinal)
Top returners: Avery Boehne, so.; Madison Bogle, sr., SS; Emily Frazier, jr.; Mahala Gonzalez, sr.; Chelsea Hatfield, sr.; Lauren Jordal, sr.; Geena Sanford, sr.
Key newcomers: None.
Worth noting: Bogle returns to lead the offense, Gonzalez gives the team a proven right-handed arm in the circle, and Boehne is a southpaw who gives the team two strong options. Boehne also is expected to produce at the plate. “I do believe [we’ll] be a contender for more wins this season,” Davis said. “We lost three seniors last year, but we have 11 returning varsity players that will fill that void.” Juniors Alex Edwards, Ella Hale and Bella Klotz and sophomores Libby Johnson and Allie Peterson also return.
Coach: Madison Mikos
Last year’s record: 14-12, 9-3 (Lost to Antioch 9-0 in 3A supersectional)
Top returners: Angelina Campise, so., IF; Katie Congoran, jr., IF; Gabriella Gonzalez, sr., IF; MacKenzie Hardy, sr., C/IF; Morgan Iwanski, sr., P/IF; Kyra Johnson, sr., P/IF; Emily Olp, sr., IF/C; Kailey Plank, sr., IF; Corinne Pugh, jr., C/IF; Isabelle Stombres, jr., OF; Lexi Workman, jr., OF
Key newcomers: Nikki Bartkowiak, so., P/IF; Breanne Crosby, jr., IF; Sammy Dunne, jr., IF; Brynn Woods, fr., P/OF/3B
Worth noting: The Knights return 11 players and have at least four newcomers who are expected to fit in nicely this spring for a team that fell a win short of advancing to state. Plank (Winona State), Hardy (Wisconsin-Stevens Point) and Olp (36 RBIs last spring) are among the returnees for a program that needs to overcome the contributions from graduates such as Grace Algrim and Olivia Stoker. “We are looking forward to a great season,” Mikos said. “We are hopeful to keep all our players healthy and playing to the best of their ability.”
Coach: Hannah Bazan (2nd season, 8-10)
Last season: 8-10 overall, 4-8 Little Ten
Top returners: Bre VerCautren, so., P/SS; Haley McCoy, jr., OF; Felicity Thornton, jr., C; Taylor Johnson, so., 2B; Olivia Taylor, jr., OF/2B
Key newcomers: Kadyn Haage, fr., 3B/C; Izzy Podner, fr., P/IF; Kammy Ambler, fr., 1B/3B
Worth noting: This is the second year of the cooperative of the three schools, where Somonauk serves as the IHSA’s official host joined by Hinckley-Big Rock and Leland. Bazan is happy to have a sizeable number of 22 players in the program but has no seniors to go with four juniors, three sophomores and a whopping 15 freshmen. “Just like last year, we’re very inexperienced, so we’ll learn how to grow better game to game,” Bazan said. “But I like the fact that we have solid numbers in our program now, and we can keep building on that into the future.” The Bobcats will field 12 participants from Somonauk, six from Leland and four from H-BR, where sophomore standout VerCautren attends. As a freshman, VerCautren was the team’s primary pitcher and leading hitter with a .393 batting average to go with a .493 on-base percentage. Somonauk junior student McCoy was next in line, hitting .345 in her sophomore season.
• Bill Lidinsky contributed to this report.