North brings back five starters
After a two-year hiatus, varsity softball has returned to South.
The Redwings played a junior varsity schedule last year because of a lack of girls and the 2020 campaigned was wiped out because of the pandemic.
“So having that gap just gave us an opportunity to catch up and close it a little bit,” coach Kelly Dohse said.
Two seniors that beging their fourth year in the program and will be counted on are centerfielder Khloe Murphy and infielder Michaela Heling.
Five starters return and four freshmen will also be counted on.
“The depth that I think we have this year is something we haven’t had in years past,” coach Chris Lenz said. “Everyone is going to have a different role on the team, so we’re really looking forward to the things that that’s going to allow us to be able to do.”
Abby Thaves and her second-highest batting average in the league have to be replaced (she also led the team in hits, doubles, home runs and runs batted in), but Ally Wagner is back.
The Crusaders will look to build around two all-conference players who return in Kami Wiltzus and Kara Thimmig.
They have to replace shortstop Julia Richardson, however, after she led the team in stolen bases, runs and walks in also making all-Big East.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Mara Babak, soph., North
She would have been on varsity last year as a freshman but was injured. “She’ll be a big contributor for us this year,” coach Chris Lenz said.
Kara Thimmig soph., Luth.
The first baseman earned honorable mention all-Big East as a result of a team-high 15 hits. She ranked second with 10 runs batted in and eight stolen bases.
Ally Wagner sr., North
The outfielder made second-team all-Fox River Classic for the second straight time. She was second on the squad in batting average, hits and RBI, and also picked up five wins as a pitcher.
Kami Wiltzus, sr., Lutheran
The pitcher struck out 82 in 72 innings and was 5-8 to make all-conference honorable mention.