High school softball insider: Marengo's Hannah Ritter is athlete of the week; rankings; notes

Marengo's Riley Hannah Ritter swings a a pitch in the first inning of nonconference game against Prairie Ridge March 19 at Marengo High School.
Marengo's Riley Hannah Ritter swings a a pitch in the first inning of nonconference game against Prairie Ridge March 19 at Marengo High School.

Athlete of the Week

Hannah Ritter, Marengo, jr., OF

Ritter nearly had a near perfect week at the plate, going 10 for 11 with her first home run of the season. Marengo went 3-0 last week, including a 19-9 win in five innings over Burlington Central in the Indians' Kishwaukee River Conference opener. Marengo has won four straight conference titles (two in the KRC and two in the former Big Northern Conference East Division).

Ritter hit a two-run homer against the Rockets, going 3 for 4 with two RBIs and four runs. She was 4 for 4 with three RBIs and four runs in a 16-4 win over Rockford Boylan, and 3 for 3 with three runs in a 12-2 win over Antioch.

So far this season, Ritter has 17 hits in 24 at-bats (.708 batting average) with 11 RBIs and 16 runs.

Northwest Herald Power Rankings

1. Huntley (9-1): The Red Raiders continue to pound the ball, averaging 10.5 runs a game, and their pitching has allowed only 2.7 runs. Huntley opened Fox Valley Conference play with a 9-0 win over Dundee-Crown and defeated Leyden, 12-3, on Wednesday.

2. Marengo (6-1): The Indians' offense is on a roll, scoring double digits in four straight games. The defending Class 3A state champions are averaging 12.1 runs a game. Riley Connell (5-1, 2.00 ERA) and Haley Minogue (1.40 ERA) have been excellent in the circle.

3. Cary-Grove (5-1): The Trojans finished eighth in the FVC last year, but are leading the pack so far at 2-0 with wins over McHenry, 7-5, and Prairie Ridge, 6-5. C-G beat the Wolves on a walk-off hit by Anna Whitaker in the seventh on Wednesday.

4. Richmond-Burton (3-1): The Rockets lead the KRC at 2-0, a half game ahead of Marengo. R-B beat Harvard, 16-0, and then handed Woodstock North its first loss of the season, 7-4. Through four games, the Rockets are hitting .445 as a team with 15 doubles, seven triples and a homer.

5. Woodstock North (7-1): The Thunder took their first loss against R-B to fall to 1-1 in the KRC. North beat Johnsburg, 13-0, in their conference opener on Tuesday.


Defending the crown: Huntley, which has won the last two FVC titles, drew a difficult opponent in its conference opener on Tuesday, matching up against the area's strikeout leader in each of the past two seasons, Dundee-Crown's Sydney Ruggles, a Loyola commit.

Ruggles struck out 11, but Huntley excelled when it made contact. The Raiders' third, fourth, fifth and sixth batters (Autumn Kasal, Sofia Tenuta, Teagan O'Rilley and Paige Berkmeyer) each hit a solo homer.

"It's a good start against one of the best pitchers in the (FVC)," Raiders coach Mark Petryniec said. "With Sydney, you just want to make contact and hope that she misses a spot here and there. She had a great day despite the score."

With the loss, D-C fell to 2-6 on the season and 0-1 in conference play. Since a 2-0 start, the Chargers have lost six in a row.

"Sydney did some good things with some changeups, tried to keep them off-balance and pitched her game," Chargers coach Tracy Beatty said. "You can't take away from good hitters. You got to do what you've got to do and battle out there, and I thought she kept her composure.

"I don't think defensively we played a solid game. I told them, against a team like that, you can't give them opportunities. We have to back Ruggles defensively, and I think we can do a better job of that."

Strong start: Jacobs freshman Delaney Garden pitched a complete-game victory in her second varsity start Wednesday, striking out eight and walking none in a 4-1 win over Lake Zurich. She allowed a run on six hits in seven innings.

Garden got a no-decision in her first start, allowing two earned runs and striking out seven in a 4-4 tie against Cascade (Iowa) during the Eagles' spring break trip at the Southern Warrior Classic in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.

Coach Katie O'Brien was excited about her team's prospects at pitching entering the season. Savannah Svedman went every inning for Jacobs last year after an injury to Katie Armstrong.

The Eagles have received wins from all three pitchers in their first seven games, while Sarah Lynch, another freshman, has also been in the mix for Jacobs (4-2-1).

Heating up: Marian Central scored 20 runs on 26 hits against St. Edward Wednesday in a 20-0 victory, getting two homers from Maggie Finnegan (Penn State) and one homer from freshman Jenna Golembiewski.

The Hurricanes (5-1) didn't have any homers in their first five games, but already have games of 20, 18 and 17 runs. Marian starts East Suburban Catholic Conference Saturday with a doubleheader at Marist, which placed fourth at the Class 4A state tournament last year.

No. 73: Huntley senior pitcher Tiffany Giese became the program's all-time winningest pitcher on Wednesday in a 12-3 win over Leyden at the Ballpark in Rosemont. Giese had tied the record – held by 2009 graduate Sam Clemons with 72 wins – with a win against D-C. She is now 8-0 on the season.

Giese already held Raiders' records for most wins in a season (27) and most runs scored (53). Both were set last year.

What to watch

Cary-Grove at Woodstock North, 4:30 p.m. Friday: The Trojans and Thunder have gone a combined 12-2 so far after winning 25 total games last season.

Marengo at Richmond-Burton, 4:30 p.m. Wednesday: The Indians and Rockets meet in what figures to be an important early-season KRC matchup.

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