Riverside-Brookfield softball coach Dan Hull believes shortstop Jessie Hutchens is having an All-State caliber campaign. While it remains to be seen if the Radford-bound Hutchens, who is hitting .556 with 43 RBIs, will be selected as one of the state’s best, she definitely earned a special award over the weekend.
Hutchens, also an outstanding RB volleyball and basketball player, was chosen as the RB Female Athlete of the Year at the 31st Annual Senior Athlete Recognition Dinner on Sunday.
“I’ve been waiting for this day ever since I was a freshman,” Hutchens said. “Both my sisters [Meghan and April] got this award so it’s a really special feeling. I’ve been working so hard in all these sports and it’s paid off.”
Like fellow multi-sport star Billy VandeMerkt, who was honored as the RB Male Athlete of the Year, Hutchens’ leadership has been as valuable as her considerable talent.
“Jessie has really developed into a great leader and team player,” Hull said. “She’s a great athlete. All of my seniors have the right attitude this season. They stick together and help the younger players.”
In addition to Hutchens, RB seniors Liz Demitro, Michelle Demitro, Morgan Vogel, Kristin Kleinmeyer, Staccy Kabat, Megan Landahl and Stephanie Duve have guided the Bulldogs to a 21-2 record, including 9-0 in the Metro Suburban Conference.
Riverside-Brookfield won three of four games last week highlighted by a 10-4 victory against highly regarded Richards. Trailing 4-3 with two outs in the top of the sixth, the Bulldogs’ Molly Ely drew a walk and Kiley Rusen singled, setting the stage for Michelle Demitro’s go-ahead two-run single. In the seventh, RB blew the game open by scoring five runs on hits by Becky Mantel, Ely, Kabat and Michelle Demitro. Hutchens (3-for-3, 3 RBIs) and Michelle Demitro (3-for-5, 3 RBIs) led the Bulldogs’ relentless attack.
On Saturday, RB swept host Illiana Christian 7-0 and 12-3 in doubleheader action. The Bulldogs opened Game 1 with six straight hits – five for extra bases – and scored five runs to overwhelm the Vikings.
In Game 2, Kylie O’Connell (8-0) earned her second win on the day, pitching five innings and allowing four hits. Tied at 2-2, the Bulldogs found their groove offensively in the middle innings, scoring four runs in the fourth and three runs in the fifth.