The transition from Dawn Schabacker to Nikki Marinec as the Lyons Township High School softball head coach went smoothly last year. Marinec guided LTHS to a 20-11 record and Class 4A regional title in her debut campaign.
The Lions’ spirited run in the playoffs ended when Marist, which finished fourth in the Class 4A state playoffs, dealt them a 5-1 loss in the title game of the Hinsdale South Sectional.
With the exception of 2017 graduates Alex Rich, Lauren Engels and Sapphire Munoz, the varsity lineup looks essentially the same as last season. A mix of six seniors, nine juniors and a sophomore comprise the varsity roster.
“Our team returns some very experienced and talented seniors with only a few positions that need to be filled,” Marinec said. “The knowledge our team gained and the experience we acquired in last year’s season should prove to be a great motivating factor for this year’s team.”
Seniors Gabby Allen and Dana Reynolds are stalwarts on offense. Allen, a centerfielder and all-conference player in 2017, batted .355 and lead the Lions in runs scored as an effective leadoff hitter. Reynolds, a three-sport athlete at LTHS, hit .354 and knocked in the winning run against Mother McAuley in a regional final.
“Gabby brings a lot of speed to our lineup and is a huge asset in the field,” Marinec said. “Dana is a strong power hitter that utilizes both side of the field. She’s a fantastic athlete overall.”
Junior shortstop Katelyn Malikowski, senior second baseman Jess Pelletiere, senior outfielder Sydney Wallace and varsity newcomer Katie Rohlicek could be other top contributors.
Malikowski batted .270 and led the team in walks last season, while Pelletiere hit .290 in the third spot of the order. Wallace plays both corner outfield positions with great range and a strong arm. Rohlicek, another outfielder, hits for average and power.
Seniors Teagan Bozzi and Angela D’Amico will lead the pitching staff. When they aren’t in the pitchers circle, Bozzi will play first base (hit .322 last season) and D’Amico is a third baseman and designated hitter.
“We hope to extend our season even further into the state playoffs and compete for a conference championship,” Marinec said. “Together we are looking forward to a very competitive and exciting year.”
Lyons Township Lions
Head coach: Nikki Marinec (Second season)
Record last year: 20-11 (7-5 West Suburban Silver); Lost to Marist 5-1 in Class 4A Hinsdale South Sectional final
Top players: Gabby Allen, CF, Sr.; Dana Reynolds, 1B/DH/LF, Sr.; Katelyn Malikowski, SS, Jr.; Teagan Bozzi, P/1B, Sr.; Angela D’Amico, P/DH/3B, Sr.
Outlook: The Lions will battle two-time Class 4A state champion Oak Park and River Forest and Downers Grove North for the conference title. A competitive regular-season schedule will prepare LTHS well for the playoffs.