Softball: Mundelein Stampede 14U squad keeps rising up ladder
Updated: October 14, 2012 1:20PM
Continuing an upward trend, the Mundelein Stampede 14U travel softball team enjoyed the best season in its three years of existence, finishing 47-18 overall this summer.
The 14s ended up 20-20 in 2010, and improved to 30-18 last year. The Stampede’s 14U, 13U and 12U travel teams are part of the Mundelein Baseball & Softball Association, in cooperation with Mundelein Little League.
“We added some girls this year, but the core six or seven are still together,” head coach Eddie Diaz said. “The girls have just matured, and this group is the most enjoyable group of athletes I’ve ever coached. They always show up for practice, and they always work hard — incredibly hard. And their talent has developed to the point that we’re a pretty good team.”
A major highlight for the squad in 2012 was reaching the Elite Eight of the ASA Nationals, held in Springfield, Mo., Aug. 2-5. The Stampede also won the Trevian Tournament, in June, and finished first in pool play in five of eight tournaments, including Nationals.
“They were a good group, and they had fun,” Diaz said. “More than anything, this team is a family.”
The core group Diaz pointed to begins with ace pitcher Mia Dicara, who was brought up to Carmel Catholic’s varsity toward the end of her freshman season in the spring. Dicara finished 21-7 with a 1.72 ERA and 152 strikeouts in 159 innings for the Stampede this summer.
“Mia has the best control I’ve ever seen of any girl this age,” Diaz said. “She has a good fastball, but she has five different pitches, and throws them all for strikes. She’s a true pitcher.”
Dicara also posted a .381 batting average and a .493 on-base percentage, and is now a freshman at Carmel.
“She’s pretty special,” Diaz added.
Mundelein freshman Nicole Parney and Carmel sophomore Gillian Fiandaca also saw time in the pitching circle.
“That allowed us to go deeper in tournaments without having to rely on just one ace,” Diaz said.
The team’s top hitter was Amanda Diaz, the coach’s daughter and now a freshman at Mundelein. She batted .470, with a .536 on-base percentage.
Starting catcher Brittany Woodyard hit .340, with a team-high 42 RBIs, while incoming Carmel freshman Emma Bartz batted .391. Another veteran Holly Petlak, hit .368. Diaz was a team captain, along with Woodyard and Petlak; the latter two also played on Mundelein’s varsity as freshman in 2011.
“All those girls have been with us from the beginning, and some of them have been together five, six, seven years,” coach Diaz said. “I think the success comes from that.”
Mundelein sophomore Emily Garcia also contributed, batting .350.
“The goal of our program, when we started three years ago, was to get these girls ready to play at the high school level,” Diaz said. “And by the time most of these girls are sophomores, they’ll be on varsity — and not just playing, but succeeding.”
The 14U roster also included Erin Grubb, Halana Kros and Victoria Avis. Dave Parney served as assistant coach.
With ace hurler Breanna Adams in the pitching circle, the Mundelein Stampede 12U travel team began each of its games this summer with the belief that victory was within grasp.
“She pitched most of the games, and we were in every game that she pitched,” said 12U head coach Tony Adams, also Breanna’s father. “She did fantastic … pitched outstanding for us. She has a nice drop-ball, change-up and fastball.”
But after the last cloud of infield dirt settled, the Stampede ended up at 27-30 overall, finishing fourth among seven teams in league play.
“So we were middle of the pack,” coach Adams said. “When we were at the top of our game, we did well.”
That includes a second-place finish in the Mundelein Memorial Day Tournament, and third-place finishes in both the Hoffman Estates Tournament and the Barringon Tournament.
Another top performer was shortstop Kaitlin Shibovich, who clubbed a team-best three home runs this summer.
“She was our power hitter,” Adams said. She was always clutch, especially with people on base.”
Catcher Bella Anichini also received high marks from her skipper.
“I believe she was our MVP this year,” Adams said. “She’s the best blocking catcher I’ve ever seen at that age. Her work ethic is second to none. And she had a great stick, too — a nice, pure swing.”
First baseman Kaitlin Griffin, second baseman Emily Haley and No. 2 pitcher Annie Morelli also were key contributors.
The 12U squad also included Nina Bowser, Betsy Stevens, Regan Harmon, Lexi Waigand, Amanda Garcia, Emma Rapplean and Marissa Spooner. Frank Morelli was assistant coach.
Though the Mundelein Stampede 13U team finished with a less-than-stellar 12-20 overall mark this summer, it did so playing mostly against 14U competition.
The Stampede 13s tied for third place during regular-season play.
Head coach Dale West’s team featured Taylor Ganan, Jayna Long, Maritza Castro, Taylor Shanahan, Meghan Ammentorp, Meghan Ehemann, Jordyn West, Caity Pieklo, Camille Nowicki, Emily Stahoviak and Olivia Michalski.~