Softball: Waubonsee's Hurst wins national award

Updated 3/29/2023 5:15 PM

While most high school teams are on spring break this week, with some traveling to warmer climates to play, others taking their chances with the local weather, and some taking the week off, the Waubonsee Community College softball team is deep into its season.

And, the Chiefs have already produced a national award winner.


Emily Hurst, a freshman shortstop from Rosary, was named NJCAA Division II player of the week after hitting .636 with 13 runs driven in and a dozen runs scored during a record-setting streak. In the span of 16 plate appearances Hurst established a new school record with 14 hits in 14 official at-bats, eclipsing Alycia DeLuca's mark of nine straight hits set in 2017.

The right-handed hitting Hurst drew a walk and lofted a sacrifice fly in between those hits during a four-game stretch. Included in those 14 hits were a triple, 6 doubles and a grand slam home run against Mott (MI) Community College. The Chiefs' leadoff hitter then ripped another grand slam home run the next day against Niagara County (NY) Community College. Overall on Waubonsee's annual weeklong spring trip to Florida, Hurst smacked 9 doubles, a triple, 4 home runs, drove in 18 runs, scored 17 times, stole four bases, drew five walks, posted a .650 on-base percentage and compiled a lofty 1.257 slugging percentage in 40 total plate appearances.

Heading into a scheduled doubleheader at Rock Valley on Wednesday, Waubonsee was 7-7 for the season with wins over nationally ranked Triton, Danville and Niagara.

"We've lost some close games along the way," said Chiefs coach Joe Spitzzeri." We're a freshman oriented team with 10 of our 14 players being freshmen."

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Defending Class 4A champion St. Charles North opened the season 2-0, winning 2-1 over West Chicago 17-0 in 4 innings over Schaumburg.

Leigh VandeHei led the way for the North Stars, hitting .833 (5-for-6), with 5 stolen bases, 4 RBI, 4 runs scored, and a grand slam. Maddie Hernandez hit 500 (3-for-6) with 5 RBI, and a homer. On the mound, Ava Goettel (9 Ks) and Paige Murray (7 Ks) each notched a win.

•Hampshire opened the season 1-1, losing to Kaneland 8-4 and defeating Harvard 20-1. Freshman Mia Robinson is hitting over .700 with 5 hits in the two games while Emma Esparza has 4 hits with a home run against Kaneland.

•Larkin is off to a 2-1 start with wins over Hoffman Estates, 12-2, and Crystal Lake South, 8-5, and an 8-2 loss to Geneva. Bayley Johnson has started the season hot for the Royals and is hitting .727 with 3 doubles, 2 HRs and 6 RBI.

•St. Charles East started the season 1-1-1."We have faced two Division-I (pitching) commits in the first three games (junior Ava Gusel of Downers Grove North, a DePaul commit, and senior Madi Reeves of Yorkville, a Miami of Ohio recruit)," said Saints coach Jarod Gutesha.


The Saints tied 4-4 against DGN and lost to Yorkville 4-0. They opened the season with an 11-0 win over Plainfield Central.

"A highly competitive schedule early on is something that will benefit us as the season progresses," said Gutesha, whose team is scheduled to play Marist (2nd in 4A last year) and Barrington (4th in 4A) on April 8 at Barrington.

•Bartlett beat Metea Valley 17-8 on Tuesday to move to 4-1 on the year. Sophomore Christina Stankus allowed just 3 earned runs in the Hawks' last two games. Leading the offense have been senior Addie Koth, who is 8-for-19 (. 421) with 5 HRs and 14 RBI, and junior Olivia Ligouri who is 11-for-15 (. 733) with 5 HRs and 13 RBI.

•Aurora Central Catholic (1-3) got its first win of the season, 19-2 over IMSA. Sophomore Charlotte Brummel, got the win with 3 Ks, while freshman Corina Miller struck out six in 2 innings. Leading the offense were sophomore Kate Gambro (4-for-4, 2B, HR, 7 RBI), junior Amelia Lohrey, (2-for-3, 2 2Bs), sophomore Ashley Moore (2-for-3, 3 runs), sophomore Sophia Delgado (2-for-2, 3 RBI) and freshman Morgan Vaghy (2-for-2, 3 runs).

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