ROCHELLE — The Rochelle Lady Hub varsity softball team saw several seniors take on critical roles this season. With those seniors departing from the program this offseason, head coach Deanna Jacobs will look to some up-and-coming athletes for greater production next season.
Rochelle finished 7-15 overall and sixth in the Interstate 8 Conference with a 4-10 record in Jacobs’ first season as head coach of the Lady Hubs. Rochelle swept its home-and-home series with Plano while splitting two-game sets against Sandwich and Kaneland. The Lady Hubs will graduate six seniors this offseason including starting infielders Jordin Dickey (First Team) and MeLisa Young (Honorable Mention), who each earned All-Conference honors this season.
“I thought the girls worked really hard to improve every day and I thought their effort was evident by the end of the season,” Jacobs said. “They were hitting the ball better, cutting down on their errors and pitching the ball better. I thought we finished the season as a much stronger team than we were at the start. Our hitting really came together as the season progressed.”
Seniors Ashley Knight, Lauren Jackson, Regan Underwood and Leslie Rodriguez will also depart. Rochelle will have multiple starters eligible to return including junior Morgan Smardo, who earned an All-Conference Honorable Mention after leading the Lady Hubs in innings pitched, strikeouts and wins. Junior outfielder Addie Friestad, sophomore catcher Ella Alfano and freshman infielder Lauren Dyer are three starters who could play a larger role next season.
“It will definitely be tough to lose our seniors, especially since we’re losing basically our entire infield,” Jacobs said. “We fortunately won’t be losing any pitchers though and we’ll also have our catcher back, which is really exciting. It will be nice to have those staple positions filled already and we’re looking forward to having players like Morgan, Lauren and Ella back next season.”