Softball

High school softball insider: Crystal Lake South's Emily Sulikowski is Athlete of the Week

Emily Sulikowski, Crystal Lake South
Emily Sulikowski, Crystal Lake South

Athlete of the Week

Emily Sulikowski, Crystal Lake South, sr., IF

Sulikowski has homers in five straight games to lead a Gators' offense averaging 13.8 runs a game. South is off to an 11-0 start and won all six games last week. Sulikowski was 14 for 22 with six extra-base hits (five homers, one double), 13 RBIs and 12 runs scored.

"She's the fiercest hitter in our lineup," Gators coach Scott Busam said.

Northwest Herald Power Rankings

1. Huntley (11-3): The three-time defending Fox Valley Conference champions started their FVC schedule with wins against Dundee-Crown, 10-0, and Cary-Grove, 8-5, in eight innings. Briana Bower threw her second perfect game of the season, striking out 12 in six innings against D-C.

2. Crystal Lake South (11-0): The Gators continue to rack up big offensive numbers, scoring 152 runs in 11 games. South started its FVC schedule with wins over Prairie Ridge, 15-2, and Hampshire, 11-4.

3. Marengo (10-5): Marengo has won six in a row since a 4-5 start, including Kishwaukee River Conference wins over Johnsburg, 12-1, and Woodstock, 3-1. Brooke Behrens is 7-1 with a 2.03 ERA.

4. Cary-Grove (4-3): The Trojans nearly tripped up Huntley in their FVC opener, but the Raiders scored a run in the seventh and two in the eighth to escape with a win. The loss snapped a four-game winning streak for C-G.

5. Crystal Lake Central (5-1): The Tigers won only seven games last season but started the year with five straight wins before suffering their first loss Tuesday against Grayslake Central.

Noteworthy

Still learning: Since a 3-0 start, Hampshire has lost six in a row, including its conference opener against McHenry, 11-9. Whip-Purs coach Kelly Wasilewski expected some highs and lows with a relatively young team.

"They work hard and they don't give up," Wasilewski said. "We're young. We really try to work to get some pretty tough competition in our schedule, especially before conference starts. We've done that but we lack experience at this level. We're struggling a little bit defensively right now, but the bats are starting to come around. It's a long season. We'll get there."

Sophomore Bridget Haefling came up with a big two-run hit in the seventh inning to force extras against McHenry.

Good first start: In her first varsity appearance, McHenry's Kyra Lard ran into some second-inning troubles against Hampshire, allowing six runs, but first-year coach Mikaela Mitsch was impressed with the sophomore's performance overall.

Lard pitched all eight innings for the Warriors in an 11-9 win. Four of nine runs were unearned.

"She had 20 first-pitch strikes. She just blew it away" Mitsch said. "That's what we're looking for, we want to get ahead and stay ahead. We're really proud of her. Her first outing out there ... our first conference game, we put a lot of pressure on her, and she performed great."

What to Watch

Huntley at Crystal Lake South, 4:30 p.m. Monday: The FVC co-leaders meet for the first of two conference games this season.

Richmond-Burton at Marengo, 4:30 p.m Tuesday: The Rockets have yet to lose in five games so far and are led offensively by Jesse Klicker (.579) and Peyton Bannon (.571). Lauren Aubry is hitting .477 to lead the Indians.

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