Softball: Hinsdale South tries to overcome loss
Updated: March 13, 2012 7:44PM
Softball is dominated by its pitchers, which leaves a big hole when one of the area’s top up-and-coming hurlers leaves a program.
It has happened to Hinsdale South coach Kelly Van Hout, who enters her second year without standout pitcher Jessica Andree. The sophomore transferred to Downers Grove South over the summer.
With Andree, the Hornets (18-15 last season, 9-3 West Suburban Conference Gold Division) finished second in the conference, but lost in the first round of the Class 3A playoffs 11-1 in six innings to Neuqua Valley.
Finding a replacement for Andree is likely by committee in the early going. The candidates are senior Ayla Devine, junior Jessica Buckridge and sophomore Megan White.
“I’m a firm believer in rotating pitchers throughout the game,” Van Hout said. “We might have some type of rotation. We’ll see what works and go with it. We’re starting with a new slate. We loved having (graduate) Amy Narotsky and Jessica last year.”
Depending on Downers South’s pitching situation, the Hornets are scheduled to play at DGS April 15 and the second meeting is scheduled for May 2.
The Hornets open the season at Wheaton Warrenville South at 4:30 p.m. Friday.
Hinsdale South’s top returnee is senior Dana Capocci, who batted No. 3 in Van Hout’s order and signed with Illinois-Chicago. Capocci was ranked among the Chicago area’s Top 100 players by YourSeason.com.
Van Hout said when Capocci heard that Andree had moved, Capocci volunteered to return to pitching despite having arm surgery that forced her to miss her sophomore year.
“She’s probably one of our most solid players,” Van Hout. “She’s an excellent leader. We’re excited about all the accolades she has received.”
The Hornets return four starters, including three of Van Hout’s top five batters in her order with leadoff hitter Lindsey Schwarz at third base and second baseman Lauren Cairo. One other returnee is catcher Brooke Dodson.
Hinsdale South suffered one loss with Andree’s departure, but gained another player when sophomore infielder Sabrina Kuchta transferred from Lockport. One other new addition is former reserve Rachel Mozdzen, a senior outfielder, who will see more playing time this season.
“This is a great varsity group of kids,” Van Hout said. “They can’t wait to practice. Every day they have a great attitude. They love to work hard and to improve.”