Softball: Lady Hubs steadily building for future

Freshman Hayleigh Jones will be one of many young Lady Hub players counted on in the future for the Rochelle varsity softball program. (Photo by Russell Hodges)

Rochelle seeking continued improvements after six-win season

ROCHELLE — After winning five games during the 2018 season, the Rochelle varsity softball program continued its steady progression under head coach Lindsay Suess. The Lady Hubs finished 6-23 this season, defeating Dixon in the IHSA Class 3A Regional Quarterfinals for the second straight year. Rochelle will move into the Interstate Eight Conference next year.

“I thought our girls got a lot better as the season progressed and I thought they finished strong at the end,” Suess said. “They showed real growth this year.”

Four girls hit over .300 this season including senior Maddi O’Rorke (.312) and junior Hannah Luxton (.342) who each compiled on-base percentages over .400. O’Rorke led the Lady Hubs with a .450 on-base percentage while Luxton finished with a .412 on-base percentage. Senior Becca Bunger hit .315, while freshman Jordin Dickey hit .318 in her first varsity season.

“I thought the girls showed great growth in their at-bats,” Suess said. “They started taking better pitches and they started making harder contact which was nice to see. We want to continue growing from where we’re at.”

Sophomore Bella Lodico did most of the pitching for the Lady Hubs, finishing 6-17 overall and hurling a team-high 120 innings while striking out 124 batters. Lodico and junior Ally Reish, who pitched 26 and two-thirds innings this season, will continue to be counted on entering 2020.

“They both got stronger as the year progressed and I obviously want them to come into next season stronger and throwing the ball harder,” Suess said. “I want them to have better command of their stuff.”

Five starting seniors will graduate including Bunger, O’Rorke, Emilee Dueringer, Mandi Lamb and Macy Luxton. Four of those girls played on the infield, while Lamb departs as the lone senior outfielder. Players such as junior Abby Reish (.284 average), Lodico (.222) and freshman Hayleigh Jones (.367 on-base percentage) figure to earn larger roles next season.

“Losing five seniors will hurt us but the junior varsity team has some really strong players,” Suess said. “Our juniors will be stepping into some of those roles, and we’ll be looking for Hayleigh and Jordin to continue playing well for us.”

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