Softball

High school softball insider: Marian Central's Jenna Golembiewski is Athlete of the Week

Jenna Golembiewski, Marian Central
Jenna Golembiewski, Marian Central

ATHLETE OF THE WEEK

Jenna Golembiewski, Marian Central, so., CF

Golembiewski helped lead the Hurricanes (14-15) to a 5-1 week, going 12 for 21 with two home runs and five doubles. The sophomore added three stolen bases, driving in 13 runs and scoring 10.

Marian has won seven of 10 games and is 7-5 in the East Suburban Catholic Conference.

NORTHWEST HERALD POWER RANKINGS

1. Crystal Lake South (29-2): The Gators went 6-1 last week to win the Fox Valley Conference championship and also set the program record for wins in a season, beating the 2006 team that went 26-7. South had not won a conference title outright since 1986 and its last FVC title was in 2007 (co-champion with Jacobs).

2. Huntley (27-7): The Red Raiders are rolling with 11 straight wins, including a 2-1 win against South on Tuesday. Huntley's 27 wins are its third most in the last five seasons. The Raiders are 138-38 (.784 winning percentage) since the start of 2015. Sophomore Briana Bower has a team-record 267 strikeouts this season, beating 2018 graduate Tiffany Giese's previous record of 197.

3. Richmond-Burton (15-3-1): The Rockets claimed at least a share of the Kishwaukee River Conference championship with an 8-6 win over Burlington Central on Monday. Peyton Bannon (.532 batting average) has 13 homers with 44 RBIs in 19 games for R-B.

4. Marengo (18-14): The Indians have won eight of their last 10 and will look to add their 13th straight regional title next week. Hannah Ritter leads the team with a .559 batting average, 15 doubles and 54 runs scored.

5. McHenry (18-12): The Warriors finished eighth in the FVC last season, but sit in third place behind South and Huntley this year. McHenry will go for its seventh regional title in eight years next week.

NOTEWORTHY

New focus: Huntley was unable to successfully defend the FVC championship this year, but the Raiders now have a new focus: the postseason. Huntley has won four straight Class 4A regional titles but is still looking for its first sectional title.

Barrington has eliminated the Raiders from the postseason in each of the past three seasons, including the last two years in a sectional final. Huntley is five wins off last year's pace but still has aspirations of a long run.

"With conference being over, every one of these games now is just preparation for the playoffs," Huntley coach Mark Petryniec said "The big picture is the postseason. Even though we would have liked to win conference, it's not going to dictate the success of our season.

"Our goal is to win a regional, win a sectional and try and get down to East Peoria."

Battle-tested: Woodstock North blew a 1-0 lead in the seventh inning against R-B in a loss on Saturday, but came back and beat the Rockets, 15-8, Tuesday to keep their KRC title chances alive. Also with conference games against Marengo and Burlington Central this week, North is hoping a difficult slate of games will prove beneficial for the postseason.

R-B, Marengo, North and Burlington are the top four teams in the KRC.

"I think we're all feeling very good," junior Abby Hartmann said after beating R-B on Tuesday. "After today, I hope we can keep it going, and remember what this feels like and just use it to drive us."

WHAT TO WATCH

Class 3A Burlington Central Regional: South is the top seed and looking for its first regional title since 2008 with the tournament starting Tuesday. The Gators are playing in 3A for the first time.

Class 3A Marengo Regional: The Indians (4) have won 12 straight regionals and likely will have to get past KRC rival Woodstock North (5) to make it 13 in a row. North has never won a regional title.

Class 3A St. Viator Regional: Richmond-Burton (2) is the highest seed but Marian Central (10) could be dangerous in a possible final. Harvard (7), whose 13 wins are more than the past three years combined for the Hornets, last won a postseason title in 2011.

Class 4A Cary-Grove Regional: It would be a big surprise if the winner from this regional did not come from the FVC, with Jacobs (2), McHenry (3) and Cary-Grove (5) all vying for the title.

Class 4A Harlem Regional: Huntley (2) is going for its fifth straight regional championship. Harlem (3), who the Raiders beat, 6-1, in the first game of the year, likely awaits in the final.

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