Bower finished 31-6 in the circle with a 1.17 ERA and 460 strikeouts – the ninth most in state history, according to IHSA.org – over 220 2/3 innings, leading the Red Raiders to third place at the Class 4A state tournament, the team’s second state trophy in as many years. Bower also was a force at the plate, hitting .364 with 13 homers, seven doubles and 42 RBIs. Bower will play next year at NCAA Division I Mississippi State.
Delaney Garden, Jacobs, sr., P
Garden was a three-year starter for the Golden Eagles and helped lead Jacobs to a runner-up finish in the Fox Valley Conference with a 16-2 record and the team’s first regional title since 2012. She led the team in batting average (.549), on-base percentage (.580) and slugging (.744). In the circle, she was 9-1 and had a 20-strikeout game against Cary-Grove. Garden will play next year at D-II Lewis University.
Abbey Nesnidal, Jacobs, jr., P
Nesnidal shined in the circle and at the plate in her junior season, batting .457 and leading the team with hits (48), triples (two), homers (five) and RBIs (44). Nesnidal was 10-3 in the circle and had a pair of 16-strikeout games. Nesnidal is committed to D-I Bellarmine University.
Brooke Kuffel, Crystal Lake South, sr., P
Kuffel stepped into the circle as South’s No. 1 pitcher this season and finished 11-8 with a 2.53 ERA and 179 over 113 2/3 innings, leading the Gators to a Class 3A regional championship. At the plate, Kuffel was one of the Gators’ best hitters with a .450 batting average, .573 on-base percentage, 11 home runs, six doubles, 35 RBIs and 35 runs scored. Kuffel will play next year at Wisconsin.
Addison Mass, Johnsburg, jr., P
Mass had a breakout junior year, leading the Skyhawks to the co-Kishwaukee River Conference championship with Richmond-Burton. Mass went 11-3 with a 1.94 ERA and 169 strikeouts over 115 1/3 innings and tossed one no-hitter. At the plate, she was one of Johnsburg’s most productive hitters, hitting .403 with 22 runs, 16 RBIs and and 11 extra-base hits, including eight doubles.
Alexis Pupillo, Crystal Lake South, jr., C
Pupillo was one of the area’s most feared hitters and tied Bower for the most home runs in the area with 13 in only 21 games played. The junior backstop led the Gators in batting average (.594), on-base percentage (.687), slugging percentage (1.422), homers, doubles (10), triples (2), RBIs (37) and runs (46).
Kate Linkletter, Johnsburg, sr., corner IF
Linkletter led the Skyhawks with a .523 batting average, .628 on-base percentage and 1.184 slugging percentage, hitting 10 homers, seven doubles and three triples. She also had 23 RBIs, 32 runs scored and 10 steals. Johnsburg shared the KRC championship with Richmond-Burton. Linkletter will play next year at D-I Wisconsin.
Lauren Sena, McHenry, sr., corner IF
Sena helped lead the Warriors to their fourth straight regional title as the team’s primary leadoff hitter at first base. Sena hit .433 and posted a .481 on-base percentage, leading McHenry with 39 runs scored. She had 21 RBIs and 21 extra-base hits, including 12 doubles, five triples and four homers. Sena will play next year at D-I Valparaiso.
Rachel Baker, Richmond-Burton, sr., middle IF
Baker was second on the Rockets with a .486 batting average, slugging .914 and driving in 25 runs with 29 runs scored. The second baseman helped lead R-B to its second consecutive KRC championship, knocking seven doubles and seven homers in 21 games to go with a team-high eight steals. Baker will play next year at D-III Wisconsin-Stevens Point.
Brooke Klosowicz, Johnsburg, so., middle IF
Klosowicz, a shortstop, helped form a dynamic duo with Linkletter on the left side of the infield for the Skyhawks, hitting a solid .506, along with a .524 on-base percentage and 1.050 slugging percentage. She led Johnsburg in hits (40), home runs (11) and doubles (10), with 26 RBIs and 23 runs scored in 22 games played.
Kyra Lard, McHenry, sr., OF
Lard led all area players with a .656 batting average for the Warriors, who captured their eighth regional title in the past nine seasons. She led McHenry in on-base percentage (.686), slugging percentage (1.225) hits (61), RBIs (47), runs (39), triples (11), doubles (13) and homers (six). Lard, who also had 18 steals, will play next year at D-III Wisconsin-Lacrosse.
Katie Mitchell, Huntley, so., OF
Mitchell had a breakout sophomore season – her first high school season after missing her freshman year because of the COVID-19 pandemic – leading the FVC champions with a .482 batting average, .530 on-base percentage, 66 hits, 50 runs and 40 steals. Mitchell also had six extra-base hits, including an inside-the-park home run against Harlem in the Class 4A sectional final.
Sarah Lynch, Jacobs, sr., OF
Lynch was another three-year starter for the Eagles and played wherever coach Katie O’Brien needed her, logging innings in the outfield, as well as pitcher, catcher and shortstop. Lynch hit .423 and led the team with 13 doubles, tying the team record, and runs scored (46). She smacked four home runs and made no errors all season, despite playing multiple positions. Lynch will play next year at D-III North Central College.
Jesse Klicker, Richmond-Burton, sr., UTIL
Klicker led the high-powered Rockets offense with a .556 batting average, .600 on-base percentage and 1.236 slugging, while also going 6-1 in the circle with a 4.90 ERA and 53 strikeouts in 65 2/3 innings. Klicker tied for the team lead with 30 RBIs and led the way with eight homers, eight doubles, seven triples and 38 runs scored. Klicker will play next year at D-III Wisconsin-Stevens Point.
Kennedy Grippo, Crystal Lake South, so., P
Jori Heard, Huntley, jr., P
Channing Keppy, McHenry, fr., P
Kiley Ryan, Woodstock, jr., P
Mia Spohr, Richmond-Burton, so., P
Carys De Lucia, Richmond-Burton, sr., corner infield