Softball: Benet’s Maeve McGuire’s tireless work ethic has made her Player of the Year

Story Image Maeve McGuire (18) of Benet Academy belts a double over the Downers Grove South center fielder's head. | Jon Cunningham~For Sun-Times Media

Updated: June 7, 2012 7:24PM

The McGuire Sisters — Christine, Phyllis and Dorothy — were a popular singing trio from the 1950’s.

In the modern day era of Illinois softball, the McGuire sisters – Nora, Maeve and Rowan – are a trio of talented players, two of which are currently playing for two of the better teams in the state. Sophomore Rowan is an outfielder at Downers Grove North, while junior Maeve is an outfielder at Benet. Nora graduated from Benet in 2011.

Rowan put up impressive numbers this spring, batting .385 with 42 hits, including 11 doubles. Maeve put up even more impressive numbers that were good enough for her to be named the 2012 Sun-Times Player of the Year.

The junior lefty-leadoff hitter batted .528 with 65 hits, including 16 home runs, 24 doubles to go with 48 RBI and 69 runs scored. She was the spark plug for what was easily the best offensive team in the area.

She had 24 multi-hit games, including two four hit games and eight three hit games. She homered twice in two games – against Oswego East on April 23, and York on March 27. She hit safely in 34 of the 37 games, including a 20-game hitting streak. She had two or more RBI in 15 games, including five against Glenbard East, and scored two or more runs in 24 games.

“Maeve works hard for everything she gets,” Benet coach Jerry Schilf said. “She didn’t originally make it into Benet her freshmen year, but she wanted to come to school here. She took extra classes during the summer before her freshmen year. She started at Downers Grove North and continued to work hard and take extra classes to prepare herself for Benet. She was admitted to Benet after the first semester of her freshmen year and is now an honor student.”

Maeve garnered an interest in softball in first grade when her older sister Nora, who played at Benet from 2008 to 2011, joined an in-house softball league called the D.O.L.L.S. She begged her parents to play and they eventually gave in.

“I did everything Nora did,” said Maeve, who will be Georgia-bound after one more season to add to her amazing career totals. “The first rec team I was on was with (pitcher) Elaine Heflin from Downers Grove North. In 4th grade Nora and I wanted to play travel softball, so we both made it on the Downers Grove Rebels, and later my little sister Rowan did too.”

But it was during 14-U when Maeve started to develop her classic work ethic which has become legend to her coaches and teammates. She worked harder than she ever did and it paid off the following summer during the travel season.

According to Schilf, she always has to do extra during practice and challenge herself. Like hitting the weighted balls or launching flip drills well over the outfield fence.

“As part of our hitting drills we generally hit front toss from our left field corner towards the first base line which is 225 feet away,” Schilf said. “On the other side of the fence is a grassy area, a street, and then the tennis courts that are surrounded by an eight foot fence. It takes a ball hit about 275 feet to clear the tennis court fence and she does it regularly.

“Late in the season an assistant coach from the University of Michigan had come to practice to watch a couple of our players. She knew about Maeve and knew she had already committed to Georgia. You could see her jaw drop as Maeve hit ball after ball into the tennis court as the tennis players scampered for cover.”

Her hard-hitting teammates are pretty amazed by her talent and her constant positive demeanor.

“She is a great teammate that cares about the other 12 girls on the team,” catcher Kendall Duffy said. “She is one of the most talented players I have played with and I know one day I will be seeing her play on TV and I can say she was once my teammate.”

“Maeve is funny and tries to make people laugh in practice and on the bus rides,” third-baseman Julianne Rurka said.

“Maeve is positive all game and has a smile on her face while playing,” shortstop Marissa Panko said. “It’s easy to see she is having fun while she is out on the field. She’s a great hitter and is also speedy on the base paths. She picks others up when they are down, and she can always be counted on for a funny comment.”

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