Softball notes: Marengo, Prairie Ridge, Huntley earn No. 1 seeds as IHSA postseason is set to begin

Marengo’s Gabby Christopher hits McHenry County-area record 18th homer; Indians have 61 home runs as a team

Prairie Ridge’s Emily Harlow is congratulated by her teammates after she hit a home run during a Fox Valley Conference softball game against Huntley on Monday, April 29, 2024, at Prairie Ridge High School.

Marengo (Class 2A), Prairie Ridge (3A) and Huntley (4A) will enter the postseason as No. 1 seeds as they look to add to already impressive springs. The 1A and 2A postseason begins this week, while 3A and 4A playoffs start Monday.

Marengo is hosting regionals and sectionals and has won 15 regional titles in the past 16 seasons. The 2A Marengo Regional also includes Johnsburg (No. 6 seed) and Marian Central (7).

Elsewhere in 2A, Richmond-Burton (3) will travel to the Aurora Christian Regional, with Aurora Christian (2) and Sandwich (5) as the other top contenders. R-B has won three regional titles in a row.

In 3A, Prairie Ridge will face Woodstock (No. 8) in the Harvard Regional semifinals, played at Lions Park. Harvard (4) meets Crystal Lake South (7) in the second semifinal.

Huntley’s Meghan Ryan waits for the throw as Prairie Ridge’s Kendra Carroll dives back to first base during a Fox Valley Conference softball game on Monday, April 29, 2024, at Prairie Ridge High School.

Also in 3A, Crystal Lake Central (2) and Woodstock North (3) are the top two seeds in the Kaneland Regional. Central plays host to Kaneland (6) in the first semifinal, while North will see Burlington Central (5) in the second.

Cary-Grove (9) will host its own regional in 3A and faces Chicago Amundsen (7) in the semifinals. The Trojans would likely run into Wauconda (2) if they reach the title game.

Huntley will aim for its ninth straight regional title in the 4A Larkin Regional, with its opening game against Jacobs (8). McHenry is a No. 4 seed and was on a six-game winning streak entering Monday. Huntley defeated McHenry in both regular-season matchups.

Elsewhere in 4A, Dundee-Crown (3) will host a regional, beginning with a semifinal against Lake Zurich (5). The Chargers could run into Barrington (2) in the championship game.

Hampshire, a No. 2 seed, also hosts its own regional. Rockford Auburn (4) is the regional’s remaining best seed.

In 1A, Alden-Hebron (10) starts the postseason against Rockford Lutheran (7) in a Durand Regional first-round game.

Full schedules can be found at

Christopher, Marengo making home run history: Marengo sophomore shortstop Gabby Christopher clobbered her 18th home run of the season in the Indians’ final regular-season game Saturday, a 12-1 win against Jacobs.

Christopher’s three-run shot gave her the program’s single-season home run record and put her at the top of the list of the area’s top power hitters of all time. Christopher passed Veronica Ruelius, currently an assistant on the Indians, and Mariah Dionne, who both hit 17 home runs for Marengo.

Marengo’s Gabby Christopher cruises home on a home run against Harvard in varsity softball at Marengo Thursday.

Christopher’s 18 homers also is the most in McHenry County history. Ruelius and Dionne were the previous record holders. Crystal Lake South grad Alexis Pupillo, now at Northern Iowa, hit 16 in her last high school season in 2022.

As a team, Marengo has 61 homers this spring, which puts them among the top home-run hitting teams in IHSA history. According to, Marengo’s 61 homers are tied with Providence Catholic (2018) for the 12th most all time. Barrington’s 2021 team is 11th with 62.

Lilly Kunzer is second on the team with 13 home runs and Mia Feidt, AJ Pollnow and Emily White have seven apiece. Kylee Jensen has six homers, and Jozsa Christiansen, Macy Noe and Arianna Rodriguez all have one.

Huntley, Marengo repeat as conference champs: Huntley and Marengo repeated as champions in the Fox Valley Conference and Kishwaukee River Conference, respectively, with both teams earning outright titles.

Huntley defeated Dundee-Crown 6-3 to wrap up its fourth straight FVC crown, getting 16 strikeouts from junior pitcher Gretchen Huber. Marengo swept Sandwich in a pair of one-run games (15-14 and 6-5) to earn back-to-back KRC titles.

The Red Raiders finished 16-2 in the nine-team FVC with their only losses to Prairie Ridge 1-0 and Crystal Lake Central 4-3. Huntley lost more than one conference game for the first time since 2019 – when it went 13-3 and won its first state championship – and is 69-3 in FVC play since the start of 2021.

The Indians finished 13-1 in the eight-team KRC, just missing back-to-back undefeated seasons in the conference. Their only conference loss was to Harvard 3-2 on May 2, which was the Hornets first win over Marengo in 17 years.

Have a Question about this article?