BROOKE WYDERSKI, Marist, SS, Sr.
• Wyderski again led the way at the plate and in the field for the Lady RedHawks and secured a second consecutive Player of the Year honor from this paper in the process. The Loyola University-bound shortstop batted a solid .492 with respective on-base and slugging percentages of .566 and .894 while racking up 65 hits in 132 at-bats over 39 games. Wyderski included 13 homers, 12 doubles and a triple among her hits, drew 19 walks, scored 55 times and drove in 50 runs. One of her best days of the spring was against East Suburban Catholic Conference foe St. Viator when she went 4-for-4 with two homers, six RBI and four runs as Marist swept a doubleheader. Wyderski also went deep twice in an ESCC twinbill versus Joliet Catholic Academy, and her game-tying round-tripper set the Lady RedHawks up for an eventual regional championship-clinching win over Lyons Township.
ZARIYA GONZLEZ,Marist,P, Jr.
• While Brooke Wyderski was an obvious headliner for the Lady RedHawks, their successful season wouldn’t have been possible without a great deal of assistance from Gonzalez, a versatile talent who was Marist’s No. 1 pitcher. The junior finished with a 25-5 record and one save while posting a 1.40 earned-run average over 215 innings. She struck out 159 hitters. As a batter herself, Gonzalez contributed a .339 average with 40 hits, 29 runs, 15 RBI and respective on-base and slugging percentages of .363 and .466. Two of Gonzalez’s hits left the park. Season highlights included three games with eight or more strikeouts, a one-hitter thrown against St. Viator and a distance-going effort in the Lady RedHawks’ 10-inning win over Richards in a Class 4A Reavis Sectional semifinal.
DAVINA GUTIERREZ, Chicago Christian, P, So.
• For the second straight season, Gutierrez was the workhorse of the Lady Knights’ staff as she pitched 173 innings and averaged nearly seven strikeouts per contest. She picked up 12 wins and registered an ERA of 3.52. Included among the triumphs were a no-hitter versus Walther Lutheran; a one-hit, 13-strikeout performance against the Lady Broncos; 10 strikeouts in a shutout of Wheaton Academy; nine strikeouts versus Rosary; and a regional championship-clinching decision over Mt. Assisi. And Gutierrez didn’t stop there — she also paced Chicago Christian’s offense during the season with her .374 average and slugged nine doubles.
SARAH HEROLD, Sandburg, P, Sr.
• The Lady Eagles’ pitching anchor was a major force behind the team’s second-place finish in Class 4A as she went 11-6 with a 2.67 ERA and 138 strikeouts in 110 innings. Herold also slammed 15 homers and knocked in 30 runs as a key figure on the offensive side. Herold tossed a pair of one-hitters during the year, had games of 13 and 12 strikeouts, and fanned six while pitching a complete game in Sandburg’s state-semifinal win over SouthWest Suburban Conference Blue rival Lincoln-Way East, which had beaten her late in the regular season.
SARA KIZIAK, Richards, P, So.
• The 2014 South Suburban Conference Red Player of the Year was an integral member of the Lady Bulldogs’ roster as Richards captured league and regional titles. Kiziak defeated all 10 SSC foes she faced, part of an overall 17-7 pitching ledger. Other notable pitching stats were a 3.03 ERA, 117 strikeouts in 141 innings and just 29 walks. Kiziak tamed some formidable lineups along the way as she notched victories over Lyons Township, Oak Park-River Forest and Lemont. She also pitched the Lady Bulldogs to a 4-1 win over Shepard that secured the regional crown. The sophomore was no slouch at the plate, either, as she batted a blistering .451 with a .577 on-base percentage, .696 slugging percentage and 46 hits as the No. 3 batter in Richards’ order. Seventeen of Kiziak’s hits went for extra bases, including 12 doubles.
KATIE KRZUS, Sandburg, 1B, Jr.
• Krzus showed her versatility as she went from being the Lady Eagles’ left fielder in 2013 to their starting first baseman in 2014 without missing a beat. She certainly retained her batting stroke as she compiled a .418 average with 49 hits, seven homers, 32 RBI and 30 runs. Krzus saved some of her best work for crunch time — her homer and four RBI played a pivotal role in Sandburg’s 5-1 win over Lincoln-Way East that landed it in the Class 4A final in Peoria last month. She went 3-for-4 in that contest.
SABRINA MILLER, Mt. Assisi, 3B, Sr.
• The talented Miller was a big spark for the Screeching Eagles in their drive toward a regional title that ultimately fell one game short. That didn’t stop Miller from ending both her career and the program’s existence on a high note. She batted a sizzling .593 (51-for-86) while smacking 10 homers, scoring 36 runs, driving in 33 more and stealing 17 bases. Miller belted two of her round-trippers in a May victory over Regina; went 4-for-4 with five RBI in a rout of Queen of Peace; counted two homers among her three hits, knocked in five runs and tallied three times in a victory over Oak Lawn; and stroked a two-RBI single for Mt. Assisi in its loss to Chicago Chrisitan in the regional final.
MADISON NAUJOKAS, Marist, 2B, So.
• Proving her freshman campaign was no fluke, the Lady RedHawks’ young second baseman had another solid all-around year that helped Marist compile a 29-9-1 ledger. At the plate, Naujokas batted .445 with 65 hits, a .487 on-base percentage, .815 slugging percentage, 48 runs and 39 RBI. Twenty-eight of her hits were for extra bases, including 12 doubles and 10 homers. Naujokas delivered 5-for-5 performances against both Providence Catholic and Bishop McNamara, smacked five hits in a doubleheader sweep of Fenwick, homered twice in a loss to Benet Academy, and had three hits and four RBI opposite Carmel. Her two doubles and two RBI were key elements in the Lady RedHawks’ regional-championship triumph over Lyons Township.
MOLLY POHREBNY, Richards, C, Sr.
• The senior was, in the words of coach Julie Folliard, the Lady Bulldogs’ “rock behind the plate.” Pohrebny enjoyed her best varsity season in 2014 as she ranked second among Richards players with a .469 average, which was complemented by respective on-base and slugging percentages of .469 and .514. Twelve of her base hits were two-baggers. A three-time All-SSC Red selection, Pohrebny’s work as a backstop helped Lady Bulldogs pitcher Sara Kiziak get named the conference’s Player of the Year. Pohrebny will play for Moraine College next spring.
BETHANY SALAZAR, Evergreen Park, OF, So.
• The Lady Mustangs’ youthful outfielder built on her freshman-year success by hitting an eye-popping .664 as a varsity sophomore. Salazar included nine homers among her 79 hits, scored 54 runs, drove in 35 and swiped a dozen bases. With Salazar playing a starring role, Evergreen Park reached the 20-win plateau this spring. Her top games were a 4-for-4, three-run, two-RBI effort versus Riverside-Brookfield, and a three-hit, two-RBI showing against TF North, with one of those hits being a homer. Salazar also went deep with a two-run shot in the Lady Mustangs’ 11-10 loss to Wheaton-St. Francis in a Class 3A regional contest.
SARA TOBIN, Richards, OF, Jr.
• Tobin collected several honors as a junior, one of which was being chosen as Female Athlete of the Year at Richards for 2013-14. She also received the Christa Carbray Johnson Bulldog Spirit Award, which was voted on by her teammates, and was an All-SSC Red selection. Tobin’s softball season included a .364 average, .425 on-base percentage, .636 slugging percentage, 33 runs, 13 doubles and three homers as a batter, and a 5-2 record, 2.23 ERA and 35 strikeouts in 38 innings as a pitcher.
EMILY WETZEL, Richards, SS, Jr.
• The junior earned her third All-South Suburban Conference Red designation by providing the Lady Bulldogs with a potent bat, speed on the bases and solid defense at shortstop. Wetzel batted .483 with 42 hits, a .560 on-base percentage, 1.022 slugging percentage and team-best 34 runs. Over half of her hits went for extra bases as she finished with 11 homers, nine doubles and three triples. Wetzel’s three-run homer and four RBI lifted Richards past Evergreen Park early in the season and she burned Reavis in late May with a 4-for-4, two-RBI performance in another Lady Bulldogs triumph.
BROOKE WILSON, Marist, OF, Jr.
• Already committed to Loyola University, Wilson a played a significant part in the Lady RedHawks’ 2014 success. She batted .427 with 47 hits, 34 RBI, 32 runs, nine doubles, 12 walks and respective on-base and slugging percentages of .488 and .636. Game highlights included three-hit, three-RBI displays in wins over Nazareth Academy and Fenwick; the latter contest featured Wilson poking a homer and double. Her bases-clearing triple was instrumental in Marist’s conquest of Joliet Catholic Academy in an East Suburban Catholic Conference clash.
AMBER ANDERSON, Mt. Assisi, OF, Fr.
• This freshman often played like a seasoned veteran as she helped the Screeching Eagles contend for a regional championship in the program’s final season. Anderson batted .425 with 31 hits, four homers, 20 RBI and nine stolen bases. Her biggest day unquestionably came at Queen of Peace’s expense — Anderson torched the Pride by slugging a grand slam, blasting a three-run homer and totaling eight RBI.
CAROLINE ANDRADE, Evergreen Park, INF, Jr.
• Another big offensive contributor for the Lady Mustangs was Andrade, who shone in her inaugural varsity season. She posted a .578 average that was constructed off 59 hits, five of which left the park. She scored 38 times and registered 34 RBI. Andrade went 3-for-6 with a three-run homer, five RBI and three runs in a wild 20-14 conquest of Queen of Peace, and her two-run homer and RBI single were primary ingredients in Evergreen’s 11-0 rout of Timothy Christian in a Class 3A Wheaton-St. Francis Regional semifinal.
AMY BALICH, Mother McAuley, SS, So.
• Solid on both offense and defense, Balich was a pivotal figure for the Mighty Macs in 2014. Balich batted .395 with a .605 slugging percentage, 22 runs and 20 RBI. With the glove, she was guilty of just four errors, which translated into a crisp .947 fielding percentage. Balich’s best days came against Stagg, Shepard and Minooka, all of whom surrendered a pair of two hits to her. And in each instance one of the safeties was a run-producing extra-base hit, including a two-run homer versus the Lady Chargers.
TERRI DEARTH, Mt. Assisi, 3B/DH, Sr.
• One of the Screeching Eagles’ most durable offensive players, Dearth batted .531 with 43 hits, 10 homers, 37 RBI, 27 runs and 14 steals. She just missed hitting for the cycle against both St. Edward and Queen of Peace — she was minus only the single in the former, where she knocked in three runs and tallied twice herself. Dearth had a three-run homer, double and two-RBI single opposite the Pride. In a 9-0 whitewash of Oak Lawn, Dearth went 3-for-3 with a homer and two RBI, and also pitched five innings of two-hit ball.
MORGAN FLEMING, Mother McAuley, 3B, Jr.
• An emerging talent for the Macs, Fleming supplied them with a .412 average, .700 slugging percentage, 25 runs and 22 RBI. With assistance from its third sacker, McAuley collected 23 victories and a regional title. Fleming belted homers in wins over St. Ignatius and Tinley Park, and had a couple of hits while accounting for three runs in a defeat of Regina.
BREANNA GRAFFEO, Shepard, INF, Jr.
• A three-year varsity starter and a two-time All-SSC Red selection, Graffeo was called “the most disciplined hitter on the roster” by Lady Astros coach Kelsey Clifford. Her batting average fell just five points shy of .500 as she totaled 35 hits, 35 runs, 28 RBI and 16 doubles while striking out only four times in 105 at-bats. Graffeo was a defensive standout, too, as she successfully handled 38 chances while accruing a .905 fielding percentage. Her 4-for-4, five-RBI, two-run day against Hillcrest in an 11-0 Shepard win was Graffeo’s most notable outing of the season, but she also played a major part in a 7-2 victory over Argo with two hits and a hand in four of the runs (two scored, two driven in).
JENNA HAASE, Evergreen Park, C, Jr.
• Another offensive force behind a 20-win Lady Mustangs squad, Haase compiled a hefty .546 average off 53 hits, five of which were homers. She topped Evergreen with 41 RBI and crossed the plate 30 times herself. Her best multiple-hit exhibitions came against TF North (3-for-3, three RBI, two runs), Oak Lawn (3-for-4, two doubles, three RBI), Shepard (4-for-5, homer, four RBI) and Argo (3-for-4, two RBI).
SKYLOR HILGER, OF, Shepard, So.
• Stepping into Franchesca Graffeo’s big shoes was no small task, but Hilger was up to the challenge of replacing the current St. Xavier University student-athlete. Hilger, a state-qualifying gymnast in the winter, was named to the All-SSC Red team after accumulating a .417 average and backing it with 43 hits, 29 runs, 17 steals and 12 RBI. She fanned just five times in 108 at-bats and fielded her position at a .865 clip while recording 46 assists and 10 putouts. In the Lady Astros’ doubleheader sweep of Kankakee during the regular season, Hilger went 3-for-4 in one of the games and totaled four RBI overall.
MELISSA KELLY, P, Shepard, Sr.
• A three-time All-SSC Red pick, Kelly earned the Iron Astro award after pitching 68 innings and also being an important member of Shepard’s offense. In the circle, Kelly went 7-5 with a 3.59 ERA, 40 strikeouts and only eight walks. One-fifth of the whiffs came in a complete-game victory over Kankakee. That season-long pitching effort was supplemented by a .551 batting average, 33 hits, 20 runs, 17 RBI and nine doubles. She fanned just five times in 78 at-bats. Graduating 38th in her class with a 4.45 grade-point average, Kelly plans to study nursing at Bradley University.
CAROLINE KUZEL, Sandburg, P, Sr.
• A solid relief pitcher, Kuzel proved her worth in the circle by carrying a 1.87 ERA over 78 innings. Kuzel, who gave up only 21 runs this past season, piled up 85 strikeouts as the Lady Eagles went on a late-season tear to reach the Class 4A championship contest.
MIA LOYA, P, Oak Lawn, So.
• The All-SSC Red performer posted a 7-4 ledger and 2.35 ERA while striking out 58 batters over 83 innings. Loya debuted in 2014 with a four-hit, eight-strikeout showing against Bremen and later silenced Beecher on one hit while fanning 10. She also tossed a shutout at the host school while earning all-tournament recognition at an event in Elgin. Besides being one of the Lady Spartans’ most reliable pitchers, Loya provided them with a consistent stick, as evidenced by her .343 average. She registered respective on-base and slugging percentages of .409 and .485 while totaling 34 hits, six doubles, two homers, three triples, 17 RBI and 16 runs. Loya’s homer against Richards accounted for all of Oak Lawn’s scoring in a 4-3 loss to the eventual conference champs.
REILY MCTEAGUE, OF, Oak Lawn, Sr.
• En route to claiming All-SSC Red honors for a second time, McTeague was also tabbed as the Lady Spartans’ team MVP after pacing them with a .370 batting average that was constructed on 40 hits, eight of which resulted in extra bases. She finished with 30 RBI, 28 runs and respective on-base and slugging percentages of .415 and .500. McTeague produced five-RBI games against both Queen of Peace and Elgin and went 4-for-5 with two doubles and four RBI in Oak Lawn’s season-opener versus Bremen.
MADDIE VOJACEK, Evergreen Park, P, So.
• In her first full varsity campaign, Vojacek picked up right where she left off after being a mid-season call-up for the Lady Mustangs in 2013. The sophomore’s 2014 pitching highlights included a two-hit, nine-strikeout outing against Eisenhower and a one-hit, seven-strikeout versus Timothy Christian that netted Evergreen its 20th win of the year in a Class 3A regional game.
TRISHA BELGRAVE, Chicago Christian
SAM KUBIK, Chicago Christian
KAYCEE PITTMAN, Chicago Christian
CAROLYN ROBERTS, Evergreen Park
HAYDEN LANDINGHAM, Oak Lawn
MARISSA LOYA, Oak Lawn
CAITLIN FITZGERALD, Queen of Peace
EMILY JANOZIK, Queen of Peace
ERIN JONES, Queen of Peace
COACH OF THE YEAR
JIM FABIANSKI, Sandburg
• Building on the success of last season’s Elite Eight berth, Fabianski guided the Lady Eagles to the Class 4A state final for the second time since 2010. Although Sandburg couldn’t duplicate its championship of that spring, the team’s runner-up finish came as something of a surprise given its so-so regular-season ledger. Fabianski is this paper’s Coach of the Year for the second season in a row.