All-Area Softball

Herscher’s Chloe Jefferson throws a pitch during the Tigers' IHSA Class 2A Watseka Regional game against Milford. Jefferson did a bit of everything for the Tigers and was one of two Herscher teammates to be named to the 2019 Daily Journal All-Area team.

Kayla Hon | Beecher | Pitcher | Senior

The 2019 Daily Journal Co-Player of the Year, Hon just wrapped up quite possibly the most fruitful pitching career the area ever has seen with her second IHSA Class 2A State Championship victory.

Hon compiled an area-best 26-1 record this season and won 70 games in her career. The Olivet Nazarene University commit also led the area with 263 strikeouts and a 1.27 earned run average on her way to an Illinois Coaches Association Class 2A first-team All-State nod and River Valley All-Conference selection.

Margaret Landis | Beecher | Center Field | Junior

Landis was one of the state’s best center fielders, both offensively and defensively. A first-team all-state and all-conference selection, the speedy junior set the table in the Bobcats’ lineup from the leadoff spot, boasting a .509 average and scoring the area’s second-highest run total (58).

Whether it was bunting for a hit or mashing one of her 17 extra-base hits, Landis was able to do whatever was needed of her when she stepped to the plate. And she used her speed defensively, tracking down fly balls most other outfielders wouldn’t dream of making a play on.

Ellie Lee | Beecher | Third base | Senior

Hitting in the middle of a ferocious lineup, Lee’s bat was the one that tied it all together for the Bobcats. Her 10 home runs were tied for third in the area, and she finished second with 57 RBIs.

Lee added 11 doubles to combine for 21 extra-base hits, which helped give her a juicy .764 slugging percentage. Another one of the Bobcats’ selections to the RVC All-Conference team, Lee will continue her softball career in Chicago next season at Roosevelt University.

Christina Lorenzatti | Beecher | Shortstop | Junior

A Marian Catholic transfer, Lorenzatti didn’t take long to adjust to life as a Bobcat. The team’s shortstop and two-hitter, she posted Top-10 numbers in both batting average (.540) and runs (53).

Lorenzatti found herself a spot on the RVC All-Conference first team and the ICA’s second-team in regard to Class 2A All-State. One of three Bobcat juniors on the all-area squad, the Bobcats will be strong at the top of the order and up the middle defensively yet again.

A.J. Picicco | Beecher | Catcher | Senior

As a junior, Picicco was given the nearly impossible task of replacing the best player in program history, current Wisconsin Badger Taylor Johnson, as the Bobcats’ backstop.

Picicco delivered. As the team’s most powerful voice, the senior catcher helped the Bobcats get back to the state finals in each of the past two seasons, including a championship this year. And she hit as well as she led, posting a .366 batting average with a dozen extra-base hits and 34 RBIs.

Kaylie Sippel | Beecher | First Base | Junior

There weren’t many times Landis or Lorenzatti reached base and weren’t driven in by Sippel, the Bobcats’ three-hitter. The lefty finished seventh in the area with 43 RBIs and also scored 46 runs, sixth in the area.

Another RVC first-teamer, Sippel joined Lorenzatti as a second-team ICA all-state selection. Her numbers, such as her .459 average, paint the offensive picture, but Sippel was arguably more valuable defensively, where she used her length to snag throws from all over, saving plenty of runs in the process.

Madi Bylak | Bishop McNamara | Shortstop | Junior

Bylak played a vital role during her sophomore season with the Irish, but the junior really burst onto the scene this year, when she moved to shortstop and the five-spot in the order.

She crushed 10 home runs, including a two-homer game in the Irish’s Class 3A regional championship against Manteno. She also drove in 50 runs, fourth most in the area, on her way to a Class 3A third-team all-state selection, Metro Suburban All-Conference team and a trip to the state finals.

Leigha Campe | Bishop McNamara | Designated Player | Senior

A four-year contributor for the Irish, Campe saved her best for last, batting .540, which was ninth in the area, and scoring 45 runs, seventh in the area, from the two-hole in the Irish lineup.

Campe found herself on the ICA’s All-State first team, as well as the Metro Suburban All-Conference squad. Known best for her ability to slap hit and bunt for hits, Campe used her speed to reach base and set the heart of the Irish order up for run-scoring opportunities.

Gillian McDermott | Bishop McNamara | Third Base | Senior

McDermott perhaps took the most advantage of the scoring opportunities Campe helped provide, as the third baseman led the area with 61 RBIs, thanks, in part, to her 12 home runs, which were second in the area.

Those numbers, along with a .429 batting average, helped garner her all-conference and second-team all-state honors. In addition to her offensive abilities, McDermott also flashed the leather at the hot corner and was an integral leader on the Irish’s fourth-place squad.

Jaelyn Vickery | Bishop McNamara | Pitcher/First Base | Senior

Vickery inherited sky-high expectations as an Illinois commit when she transferred from Lockport as a junior. She was the consummate team player, sacrificing gaudy power numbers by moving into the lead-off spot, where the senior scored an area-high 59 runs.

She still displayed her knack for slugging, amassing eight home runs (seventh in the area) and 41 RBIs on her way to all-conference and second-team all-state honors. Vickery was defensively terrific at first base and stepped into a pitching role this season, where she posted a 9-4 record.

Alex Benoit | Bradley-Bourbonnais | Shortstop | Senior

Playing some of the region’s best pitchers in the SouthWest Suburban Conference didn’t stop Benoit from being one of the state’s most efficient hitters, as the senior shortstop was able to amass a .514 batting average and 1.337 on-base plus slugging percentage.

The all-conference and Class 4A second-team All-State selection set a Boilers record with 27 stolen bases. She was just as vital in the field, where Benoit used her speed to make jaw-dropping plays and serve as the Boilers’ heart and soul. Benoit will continue her softball career at Hope College.

Elizabeth Schriner | Bradley-Bourbonnais | First Base | Senior

One of the state’s most feared and disciplined hitters, Schriner graduates with a strong legacy left behind. Whether it be single-season or career marks, Schriner ranks at or near the top of a handful of offensive categories as she moves on to Rock Valley College.

The second-team all-state selection was the Boilers’ main power source, slugging 10 homeruns with a .520 batting average and 44 RBIs, all Top-10 area figures. Schriner also had about twice as many walks (nine) as strikeouts (five).

Hadleigh Loitz | Grant Park | Infield | Junior

One of just a few first-team All-RVC selections who doesn’t reside in Beecher, Loitz was one of the conference’s most lethal all-around talents, leading the Dragons to an IHSA Class 1A Regional crown.

The junior raked all season, posting the area’s fourth-best batting average (.576) and an eye-popping OPS of 1.310. She led the Dragons in virtually every offensive category and was slick in the field as well, posting a .942 fielding percentage.

Chloe Jefferson | Herscher | Catcher/Pitcher/Shortstop | Senior

No matter what coach Mike Cann asked Jefferson to do this season, the senior stalwart did it and did it well. She earned first-team all-state honors in Class 2A and was an easy choice for the Interstate Eight All-Conference team, thanks to a bevy of jaw-dropping numbers.

She slugged an area-best 14 home runs, drove in 49 runs (fifth in the area) and scored 40 more (ninth in the area). The most impressive offensive stat for Jefferson was she had more extra-base hits (27) than she did singles (21) on her way to a .509 batting average. A true team player who became the Tigers’ ace after Morgan Scivally’s season was ended by injury, Jefferson will continue her softball career at Illinois State University.

Morgan Scivally | Herscher | Pitcher | Senior

Although Scivally’s season was ended prematurely because of a gruesome freak injury against Bishop McNamara in May, the Tigers’ ace still was able to post some of the area’s best stats on her way to all-conference and second-team all-state honors.

She tied for ninth in the area with 12 wins and piled up 164 strikeouts, fifth-most in the area, in 116 2/3 innings, and posted a microscopic 1.86 ERA. Scivally recovered from a lost junior year to injury by opening up this season with a no-hitter against Mahomet-Seymour. She now will turn her eyes to Champaign, where she will pitch for the University of Illinois.

Avery Jackson | Kankakee | Shortstop | Freshman

While her older brother, Owen, slugged his way to Daily Journal Co-Player of the Year in baseball, Jackson made a name for herself in her first year of high school softball as the Kays’ offensive leader and figures to only improve with three years left.

The lone freshman on the all-area team, Jackson led the Kays in a bevy of offensive categories, including batting average (.516) and stolen bases (29), and her 42 runs were eighth-best in the area. She used her speed defensively as well with a .959 fielding percentage.

Lexi Bowdish | Manteno | Catcher | Senior

No one on this year’s all-area team racked up more accolades than the 2019 Daily Journal Co-Player of the year. Bowdish, a Butler commit, earned her third-straight first-team Class 3A all-state selection, as well as a third consecutive spot on the Interstate Eight All-Conference team and third straight spot on the all-area squad.

Bowdish led the area with an unbelievable .641 batting average, a number that shot up to .684 with runners in scoring position. But Bowdish wasn’t just a contact hitter, as her nine homers were sixth in the area. She totaled 25 extra-base hits, which led to an area-best 1.921 OPS.

Kori Fricke | Manteno | Pitcher | Senior

The other half of a legendary battery in Manteno, Fricke will go down in Panther lore herself. She made an all-state squad, all-conference team and all-area team for the third year in a row along with her catcher and will continue her softball career at Olivet Nazarene University.

In the circle, Fricke was sixth in the area in wins (17), ninth in strikeouts (79) and fifth in ERA (2.14). At the plate, Fricke was equally effective. She posted a .435 average and paired that with five homers and 39 RBIs.

Kaycie Wenzel | Manteno | Shortstop | Senior

Another senior leader for the Panthers, Wenzel was one of the area’s most feared leadoff hitters during the past few years. She was a perfect 30-for-30 in stolen bases, and her .495 batting average afforded her so many steal opportunities.

Atop the Manteno lineup, she tied for fourth in the area with 47 runs. Wenzel bookended her career with her first all-area selection since her freshman campaign. She also earned all-state honors for the second time, making the third-team in Class 3A, and was an all-conference selection.

Sam Gwiazda | Peotone | Shortstop | Junior

Out of all the talented shortstops in the Interstate Eight, Gwiazda just might be the most athletic. She did whatever the Blue Devils needed, leading the team in nearly every offensive and defensive category, including the area’s second-best batting average (.614).

Additionally, Gwiazda posted a .957 slugging percentage and OPS of 1.597. Despite leading off for a Blue Devils squad that struggled offensively, Gwiazda still was able to score 30 runs, thanks in large part to 15 stolen bases and 15 extra-base hits. Defensively, the junior shortstop recorded a near-perfect .973 fielding percentage.

Antoinette Hill | Reed-Custer | Pitcher | Senior

Whether it was at the plate or in the circle, the Comets were as successful as the Purdue commit was on any given day. In 27 starts, Hill won 18 games (tied for fourth in the area) and finished third in the area in both strikeouts (209) and ERA (1.47).

A two-time all-area and Interstate Eight All-Conference selection, Hill moved up from last year’s Class 2A All-State second team to a first-team nod this year. Offensively, she belted seven homers (tied for eighth in the area).

Grace Langellier | St. Anne | Shortstop | Junior

Not many lead-off hitters were able to create offense the way Langellier did for the Cardinals. She finished eighth in the area with a .537 batting average and notched 18 extra-base hits, 14 of those going as doubles.

From the top of the order, Langellier scored 34 runs and drove in 14, making her responsible for about a third of the Cardinals’ scoring. The All-RVC selection also swiped nine bases and will look to be one of the most dangerous returning players next year.

Leah Lindsey | Trinity | Catcher | Junior

The Eagles boasted their best record this season at 19-3, and Lindsey was a primary reason for that cause. She smacked a .487 batting average with an on-base percentage of .589 and struck out once in 95 plate appearances from the lead-off position.

The Illinois Christian All-Conference selection stole 13 bases from the lead-off spot and reached the 100-run mark for her career by scoring 47 times this season, fourth in the area. Behind the plate, she was half of a dynamic battery with pitcher Colby McDivitt.

Kennedy Bauer | Watseka | Catcher | Senior

Bauer’s outstanding prep athletic career wrapped up with another stellar campaign on the diamond. A three-time first-team All-Sangamon Valley Conference pick and two-time third-team all-state selection, the Warriors’ backstop was third in the area with a .567 average.

And she didn’t build her average on cheap hits. Bauer set school records for doubles in a season (14) and in a career (53). Additionally, Bauer showed a patient eye and owns the school single-season record in both walks (24) and on-base percentage (.677).

Magan Harris | Watseka | Pitcher | Senior

The Warriors’ co-MVP with Bauer, Harris made her third straight all-conference team and second consecutive appearance on the Class 2A all-state second team.

Harris socked seven homers this season and leaves Watseka with both the single season (10) and career (31) home run records. Her 39 RBIs this season and 169 career RBIs are also school records. In the circle, she finished in the area’s Top 10 in wins (13), strikeouts (215) and ERA (2.51).

Bella Egizio | Wilmington | Center Field | Junior

Another junior leadoff hitter, Egizio constantly set herself up to be driven in by the Wildcats’ powerful lineup, as she managed a .487 batting average, .570 on-base percentage and stole 17 bases.

That allowed Egizio to score 37 runs, tops on the team. The first-team All-Interstate Eight selection and second-team Class 2A all-stater was just as valuable patrolling center field, where she put up a steady .958 fielding percentage.

Katie Kucharski | Wilmington | Pitcher/Third Base | Junior

Another member of a talented junior crop in Wilmington, Kucharski was one of the area’s best both in the batter’s box and when toeing the rubber, serving as the most valuable Wildcat during the course of their 24-4 season.

Her .564 batting average, six homers and 42 RBIs all were in the area’s Top 10. In the circle, Kucharski went 19-1 with a 2.32 ERA and struck out an even 100 batters, also all in the area’s Top 10. For her work, Kucharski was awarded spots on the all-conference team and second-team all-state.

Special Mention: Karly Bainbridge, Beecher; Jocelyn Clodi, Bishop McNamara; Kylie Sullivan, Bishop McNamara; Evey Evans, Bradley-Bourbonnais; A.J. Talbot, Bradley-Bourbonnais; Kaylee Ketcherside, Central; Madison Emerson, Coal City; Natalie Teague, Coal City; Katy Edwards, Dwight; Shelby Serena, Gardner-South Wilmington; Rylie Hartman, Herscher; Mia Ruder, Herscher; Emily Glogowski, Kankakee; Jaiden Longtin, Kankakee; Maddie Lacer, Manteno; Lanie Malone, Manteno; Jacklyn Mowrey, Milford; Kaylee Warren, Milford; Kaitlyn Piekarczyk, Momence; Kendall Yuknis, St. Anne; Colby McDivitt, Trinity; Paige Pelletier, Trinity; Jenny Kucharski, Wilmington; Ava Narine, Wilmington; Kiley Sowa, Wilmington

Honorable Mention: Chandler Claus, Beecher; Alyssa Oldenburg, Beecher; Riley Ford, Bishop McNamara; Kennedi Pepin, Bradley-Bourbonnais; Katelynn Sebastiani, Bradley-Bourbonnais; Madelyn Meyer, Central; Hanna Offerman, Central; Maci Romero, Central; Abbie Cullick, Coal City; Sydney Singleton, Coal City; Rachel Health, Dwight; Isabelle Schultz, Dwight; Kylie Hawks, Gardner-South Wilmington; Allie McGuirt, Grace Christian; Jenna Orange, Grant Park; Amanda Williams, Grant Park; Karli Wenzel, Manteno; Maya McEween, Milford; Brooke Kelly, Momence; Calla Kmetz, Reed-Custer; Abrey Ricketts, Reed-Custer; Jaycie McLean, Trinity; Teagan Cawthon, Watseka; Natalie Schroeder, Watseka; Megan Mann, Wilmington; Lauren O’Donnell, Wilmington

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