Girls Softball: Previewing Teams around the Kane County Chronicle coverage area

St Charles North celebrate their 2-0 win over Edwardsville Friday, June 10, 2022 in the class 4A IHSA state softball semifinal game.


Coach: Torry Pryor (fourth season)

Last season’s record: 5-21

Top returning players: Molly Giesen, sr., OF; Katie Schroeder, sr., C; Gwen Shouse, so., IF; Alexa VanderLuitgare, sr., IF

Top new players: Avery Lundblad, sr., P; Grace Sartain, so., IF; Jordan VanderLuitgare, jr., OF; Bella Zagotta, jr., IF

Worth noting: Batavia is looking for a rebound season after a disappointing campaign last year. Giesen, Schroeder, Shouse and VanderLuitgare all return to propel the program forward. They feature plenty of positional versatility among them. Giesen was an All-Area selection last season with a .389 batting average, .425 on-base percentage, .897 OPS and .472 slugging percentage. “Our defense is strong this season. We have versatile players because they can play multiple positions,” Pryor said.

Burlington Central

Coach: Lauren King (first season)

Last season’s record: 12-10, 9-9 FVC (tied for third)

Top returning players: Anna Sanders, jr., SS; Emily Rafferty, jr., C/P

Top new player: Allie Botkin, so., P/OF

Worth noting: The Rockets tied Crystal Lake Central for third in the FVC, finishing .500 in conference for the second year in a row. They lost a close game to Woodstock North 3-2 in the Class 3A Woodstock North Regional semifinals to end their season. Sanders will be a big part of the offense once again after hitting .400 with 27 runs as a sophomore. King is excited about her team’s pitching potential, as well as her team’s strong defensive abilities. “Our pitching is great and we have confidence in every single one of them,” King said. “We will continue to work on more consistent hitting, but we have been working hard at practice to show people what we can do.”

– Alex Kantecki


Coach: Annie Plackett (fourth season)

Last season’s record: 1-23

Top returning players: Rachel Carlson, sr., OF/SS; Nora Faulkner, jr., P; Sloane Fisher, so., INF; Emma Levin, sr., OF

Top new players: Megan O’Conner, fr., C; Kaitlyn Sprague, sr., SS/OF

Worth noting: Geneva is aiming for another season of growth with more experience coming back. Carlson, Faulkner, Fisher and Levin are going to be counted on to lead the group, while O’Conner potentially could see playing time in the near future. “Our team has matured with more returning players than newcomers,” Plackett said. “Our players worked hard in the offseason and have returned stronger and ready to play. We have a tough conference and each team presents a challenge for us. We are hoping to be more competitive this season.”


Coach: Madison Mikos

Last year’s record: 14-12, 9-3 Interstate 8 Conference

Top returning players: 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

Top new players: Nikki Bartkowiak, so., P/IF; Breanne Crosby, jr., IF; Sammy Dunne, jr., IF; Brynn Woods, fr., P/OF/3B

Worth noting: The Knights, who lost to Antioch 9-0 in a Class 3A supersectional, 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. “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.”

– Chris Walker


Coach: Dave Pfeiffer (second season)

Last season’s record: 10-12

Top returning players: Marissa Capparelli, sr., P/OF; Brooke Pfeiffer, sr., C/UTIL; Kayla Montes, sr., SS

Worth noting: Rosary appears headed for a strong season. While the graduation of Emily Hurst, who hit .712 with 11 home runs, is a sizable loss, the Royals have three seniors in Capparelli, Pfeiffer and Montes to set the tone. Capparelli had six wins and a 2.76 ERA. Pfeiffer, an All-Area selection, had plenty of pop with a .486 batting average and only two strikeouts in 84 plate appearances. Montes hit .429 and had six home runs last year. “As far as new kids, we have eight new team members, most of which have very little experience playing softball, so we are viewing this as a year of instruction,” assistant coach Rich Capparelli said. “We hope to get the most out of our three seniors with high-level travel experience while we teach the new girls on the team the fundamentals of the game as we continue to try to build the program.”

St. Charles East

Coach: Jarod Gutesha (eighth season)

Last season’s record: 25-7

Top returning players: Abby Arend, sr., INF; Sam Gaca, jr., C; Grace Hautzinger, jr., P/OF; Nikki Johnston, sr., UTIL; Cici Wilson, sr., INF

Top new players: Maddie Royer, jr., OF; Hayden Sujack, fr., C; Addison Wolf, so., UTIL

Worth noting: St. Charles East is loaded for what should be a competitive battle with St. Charles North for the DuKane Conference crown and beyond. The Saints return 11 from last year’s team. Five Saints have college commitments: Arend (Keiser University, Florida), Hautzinger (Rollins College, Florida), Johnston (MIT), Brianna Risley (South Mountain Community College, Arizona) and Wilson (Valparaiso). While Izzy Howe was lost to graduation in the circle, Hautzinger (9-2, 99 strikeouts in 2022) will be a major factor this year. At the plate, keep an eye on Wilson, who had a .415 average, .487 OBP, 1.094 OPS, 34 hits, three homers and 24 RBI last season. “This group has a ton of experience competing at a high level against top quality high school opponents and our players also are playing competitive offseason schedules,” Gutesha said. “They are a driven group of athletes that are connecting as a team early on, which will benefit us as the season progresses.”

St. Charles North

Coach: Tom Poulin (12th season)

Last season’s record: 27-4

Top returning players: Ava Goettel, sr., P; Leah VandeHei, sr., OF; Julia Larson, sr., 3B; Sophia Olman, sr., C; Paige Murray, so., P

Top new players: Ginger Ritter, fr., SS; Ivy Gleason, so., OF

Worth noting: The defending Class 4A state champions are reloaded and ready to defend their title. The North Stars, talent-wise, are simply stacked. Goettel, the reigning Kane County Chronicle Softball Player of the Year, is back for what should be a dominant senior campaign. She was 15-2 with a 2.09 ERA and 106 strikeouts in 110.1 innings last season. VandeHei is one of the best outfielders in the state (.500 batting average, 1.170 OPS, .602 slugging percentage, 22 RBI) and Larson locks down the infield defensively at third. Murray, who emerged as an ace last season, will be a fantastic 1-2 punch with Goettel. The North Stars will be the team to beat this year. “The leadership, experience and unselfishness of this group will be our strengths,” Poulin said. “On the field, we have the pitching and defense needed to be successful, along with a good mix of speed and power. We are excited about the opportunity to make the most of every day in order to defend the state title. One day at a time approach to things, as we always try to do.”