ELMHURST – With the high school softball season beginning this week, the central theme for the three local teams is youth.
York, IC Catholic Prep and Timothy Christian all return to the diamond this spring without a ton of experience. In addition, the Dukes and Trojans also feature new head coaches, with Elizabeth Munn and Lindsay Slovey taking over those respective programs.
Here is a quick look at the three teams:
The Dukes are coming off a solid 2016 season in which they finished with an overall record of 16-11. The team also posted a .500-mark in the challenging West Suburban Silver conference, which featured the eventual Class 4A state champion in Oak Park.
“The team is young this year but is eager to compete and learn,” Munn said. “They continue to grow and learn together. I have set the bar high for these girls and they are working hard each and every day to achieve what I know and they know they are capable of.”
Junior Andrew Meagher and sophomore Julia Durkowski will handle much of the pitching duties. Other main contributors will include center fielder Kyra Kroll, shortstop Katherine Karnatz and third baseman Izzy Smith.
“Strengths include their speed and their competitive nature,” Munn said. “Practices have gone well so far and they are excited and ready to play.”
York has a busy slate of games scheduled for next week, beginning on Monday, March 27 against Trinity. The Dukes will also play Geneva, Waubonsie Valley, Niles West and Glenbard North.
IC Catholic Prep
The Knights, coached by Frank Reaber, won 15 games a year ago despite a challenging schedule which included a host of Class 3A schools in their conference. Senior Kaitlyn Falduto leads the team and will both pitch and play shortstop. Junior catcher Josie Lytton and sophomore pitcher Kayla Faber-Cournane will also be counted on heavily.
IC split its first two games of the season, falling 7-6 to Ridgewood before bouncing back with a 12-0 win against Westminster Christian. The team will be heading to Myrtle Beach next week and will play five games in four days.
Slovey inherits a young Trojans team that will lean on senior catcher Hope Zastrow and senior first baseman Emily Gifford. Sophomores Lauren Gehrke and Ally Heersink should do most of the pitching.
“We are looking forward to a great season,” Slovey said. “Team spirit and excitement is high and the girls are working hard to compete this year. I’m looking forward to them growing as a team and as players. We have a young team so working together is key.”
Timothy Christian started the year with a 22-11 win against Francis Parker on March 21. Zastrow had four hits and three RBIs. Ande Dixon also had a pair of hits while driving in three.
The team will return to the diamond on April 4 against Chicago Christian.