News

10th Annual Lake County Liberty Alumni Classic!!

JUNE, 2017; LAKE COUNTY, IL.   Lake County Fastpitch is pleased to annouce the 10th annual Lake County Liberty Alumni Classic to be held on Thursday, July 20 beginning at 5pm at Warren Township High School, 34090 Almond Road, Gurnee, IL, 60031.  The game will feature Liberty aumni from all years playing against the current 2017 Liberty squad.  The currrent Liberty team leads the series over the years against the Alumni, four wins to three, with two games ending in a tie.  So come on out and watch!  Admission is free and it should be a great game!

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Former Lake County Star Mallory Klotz's Grandmother Passes

APRIL, 2017; WEST ALLIS, WI.  Mary Lou Arnston, grandmother of former Lake County Freedom and Liberty star, Mallory Klotz, and mother of Lake County Coach, Greg Klotz, passed away on April 14th.  Mrs. Arnston was an avid supporter of Mallory's softball career and attended dozens of her games over the years.  Fittingly, Mallory got a hit in the ninth inning of a game she was playing in when they received news her grandmother had passed away.  Read the heartwarming tribute of the Klotz family's love for Mary Lou Arnston and of what an amazing person she was here.

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Legendary Liberty Coach Howie Bierman Retires

JUNE, 2016; LAKE COUNTY, IL.  Legendary Lake County Liberty Coach, Howie Bierman, has decided to retire from his long and distinguished softball coaching career.  Coach Bierman coached for several colleges and travel programs over his 47 plus years of coaching the game he loved so much. 

He coached for travel programs such as the Elgin Heat and Fox Valley Renegades before joining the Lake County Liberty staff in 2009.  In fact, it was the 18U Elgin Heat team managed by Howie that faced the Liberty in the Liberty's inaugural game in September, 2002.  He was also the head softball coach for Elgin Community College from 1988-1997 and most recently, the head softball coach of McHenry County College where he held the reins for the last 16 and a half years since 2000. 

Howie's reputation of developing players and leading winning softball programs over the course of his career is well-known throughout fastpitch circles.  He is beloved and respected by players, parents, coaches, and opponents, alike.  He will be remembered for many things, perhaps most notably for the cushioned bucket that he sat on while giving hitting instructions to players.  Howie's softball acumen and his sense of humor will be missed, but we all hope to see Howie at future Liberty alumni games and tournaments. 

Enjoy your retirement, Howie, and thanks for all you have given the Liberty and the game of softball!

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Lake County Liberty Volunteer at Emmaus House Dinner

JANUARY 31, 2016; LAKE ZURICH, IL.  Lake County Liberty players take a time out for a team photo from their work with the Emmaus House Community Dinner on Sunday, January 31. The team prepared meals for 200 needy people, and also provided an ice cream bar, and a craft table. The players, parents, and coaches all contributed, and had a wonderful time while serving their community.

Liberty Emmaus House Dinner

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Former Lake County Liberty Teammates Make All-Conference Impacts in the WIAC!

MAY, 2015; OSHKOSH/WHITEWATER, WI.   Sara Brunlieb (Rolling Meadows, IL) and Mallory Klotz (New Berlin, WI) played together on the 2013 Lake County Liberty team that placed 17th at ASA 18u Nationals in Salem, Virginia. Both players chose to play D3 ball in the competitive Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.

BrunleibKlotzPicture5-5-15

This year, the two former teammates played prominent roles on their respective teams. Not only were they leaders on and off the field, Sara earned First Team All-WIAC/Pitcher of the Year and Mallory earned First Team All-WIACawards for their 2015 season.

Sara Brunlieb, sophomore (pitcher), led her UW-Oshkosh Titans (30-12) to the 3rd most wins in school history. On the mound, she led the team with 21 wins and 4 losses and an 11-1 record in conference. In 159 innings, Sara recorded 106 strikeouts to just 39 walks and had a 2.03 era. In her 30 appearances and 23 starts, her opponents were held to a .213 batting average.  Sara also earnedWIAC Pitcher of the Weekfor April 20-26. Sara's performance was stellar as she led the conference in wins and was a top 5 finisher in every other pitching category earning her her first All-Conference award.

Mallory Klotz, freshman (SS/OF), took over the lead-off spot for the UW-Whitewater Warhawks (36-7) who finished 3rd last year in the NCAA D3 College World Series. Mallory is batting .420 and leads the team with 58 hits and 45 runs in 41 games played. She has also added 5 double, 5 triples, 1 home run, 9 stolen bases, and 14 RBI. She started her collegiate career with an 11 game hitting streak and currently has a 14 game hitting streak. She also added a team best 8 3-hit games and 15 total multiple hit games. Mallory set a Warhawk school record scoring 5 runs in a single game and was honored as theWalmart Athlete of the Weekfor April 20-26.

Sara and the Titans finished 3rd in both the WIAC Conference and Tournament Championship. They narrowly missed earning an at-large bid to the 62 team NCAA National Tournament. Mallory and the Warhawks finished as WIAC Conference Co-Champions and won the Conference Tournament earning and an automatic bid to compete in Regionals of the 2015 NCAA National Championship.

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Liberty Players & Coaches Particpate in Community Service Dinner

FEBRUARY 22, 2015; LAKE ZURICH, IL.  The 18U Lake County Liberty players and coaches graciously donated their time to help provide food for dozens of poor and needy families at the Emmaus House community dinner.  The community service dinner was held at St. Francis de Sales Church in Lake Zurich.  Over 200 people were served dinner and provided food to take home.  The team's exuberance for helping their community livened up the evening for all!

2015 Liberty Community Service Dinner 1

2015 Liberty Community Service Dinner 2

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Liberty, Alums Break Out The Bats in 7th Annual Alumni Game!!

JULY 24, 2014; LAKE ZURICH, IL.  On cool July evening, nothing was hotter than the hitting by both the 2014 Lake County Liberty and the Liberty Alumni in the 7th Annual Liberty Alumni Game.  In a back-and-forth battle, the Alumni prevailed with a 9-7 victory.  The current year Liberty still lead the annual series over the alums 3-2 with two ties. 

The much-anticipated event is held every year in late July as a send-off for the current Liberty team to Nationals and the popularity of the game continues to grow.  This year's event was witnessed by dozens of fans who were treated to an entertaining slugfest and a post-game party graciously hosted by Liberty Head Coach Mike Maguire and his wife, Lynn, at their house.

Liberty Alumni Game July, 2014 The 2014 Liberty's roster included Dea Barton, Jodie Hurd, Mallory Klotz, Jesse Lauret, Nikki Mikosz, Caitlyn Moran, Jamie Reiser, Haley Spannraft, Jana Wagner, Tori Williams, and Maddie Zazas.  This year's Liberty Alumni team was represented by Erin Barton, Sara Brunlieb, Lindsay Callanan, Jill Fox, Sara Kern, Jackie Kisman, Shannon Lauret, Megan Meline, Allie Micucci, Maggie O'Hara, and Alex Vikartofsky. 

We wish the 2014 Liberty all the best in their quest for the ASA/USA 18U Class A National Championship being held next week in Montgomery, AL. 
Go Liberty!!

 

Liberty Takes Second in ASA National Qualifier! 
Earns Bid to ASA/USA Nationals in Montgomery, Alabama!

JUNE, 2014; ELGIN, IL. The Lake County Liberty, 18U member of the Lake County Fastpitch Softball Association, went 6-3 for the weekend ending with a second place finish, earning them their bid to ASA/USA Nationals. The Liberty found themselves up against The Rockers OZ for the championship game. The game ended up 1-0 in favor of the Rockers, however the Rockers had received their bid to Nationals the previous weekend; therefore the Northern Illinois Lightning bid was awarded to the Liberty.

After splitting their pool play games, the Liberty took on the host Northern Illinois Lightning in the first bracket play game of the double-elimination tournament. The Liberty scored 2 runs in the first and never looked back, eventually winning 6-0. Jess Lauret (Libertyville) started the game off with a single and then was moved over to second on a sac bunt by Caitlyn Moran (Grant) who threw all 7 innings for the win with 6 strikeouts and only 6 hits.

The next game saw the Liberty out hitting the Bombers 11-2, respectively, notching another win 6-2. Nikki Mikosz (Wheeling) led the offense with 2 RBIs on her first homer of the season. Haley Spannraft (Huntley) also added to the extra base hits with a triple in the third coming around to score later that inning. The scoring didn't stop there when the next inning began with a lead off single up the middle by Tori Williams (Zion Benton) who came around to score on Jess Lauret's identical hit.

The third game of the day pinned the Liberty against the Illinois Sluggers Gold. The Sluggers proved to be the better team on this day racking up 11 hits for 4 runs outhitting the Liberty with 5 hits and 2 runs.

Sunday began with an intense game against the Bartlett Silver Hawks ending in a 5-4 win. Despite the fact that Bartlett outhit the Liberty 11-8, Liberty was still able to pull out a win. Bartlett jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first but the Liberty was able to come back with a 5-run 4th inning. Bartlett nibbled their way back, scoring a run in each of the next innings with the game ending with bases loaded in the bottom of the 7th on a phenomenal diving play by Moran and a double play line drive by Spannraft. Jess Lauret led the offense with 3 singles and Maddie Zazas (Mundelein) with 2 RBIs in the 4th inning.

The Liberty then faced the Rockers JF and the game was never in doubt after the first, when Liberty scored two runs on two singles. The Rockers fought but couldn't get over the hump and saw the Liberty win 6-4. Jamie Reiser (Grant) led the offense with 3 hits, 2 of which were doubles. Spannraft racked up three RBIs on one hit in the 5th on her first homerun of the season. Jodie Hurd (Warren) also hit a long ball for her first homerun of the season.

The next game saw Liberty pinned, once again, against the Illinois Sluggers Gold in the semi-finals. But this time, the Liberty proved to be the better team winning 9-3. The Liberty refused to relinquish the lead after grabbing it early- scoring 7 runs in the first 3 innings. The scoring was led by Mallory Klotz (New Berlin West-WI) with 3 hits and Dea Barton (Buffalo Grove) with a 2 run double in the first. Zazas also had two doubles during the game, scoring both times.

The last game of the day and the tournament was between the Liberty and the Rockers OZ. Neither team plated a run until the Rockers scored one, and the only run of the game, in the fifth inning. Moran pitched the entire game allowing only three hits but despite her impressive outing, the Liberty were unable to plate any runs with only 2 hits as a team by Lauret and Zazas. The Liberty was hitting the ball hard unfortunately just right at people thus ending the tournament in second place. As the OZ had already received their bid in the previous tournament, the Liberty was awarded the Northern Illinois Lightning ASA National Qualifier bid to ASA/USA Nationals in Montgomery, Alabama Sunday July 27- Sunday August 3. This is the seventh time in the last eight years that the Liberty has earned an ASA/USA Nationals berth, following last year's team who ended 17th out of 98 teams.

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Liberty and Freedom Players Lead the Way
for Warren High School's IHSA 4A State Champions!!

JUNE 15, 2014; EAST PEORIA, IL -  A Father's Day could not have been sweeter for the dads of Warren High School's varsity softball team as they watched their daughters celebrate another victory.  And their daughters had a pretty good time themselves by defeating the Sandburg Eagles 8-4 in the Illinois High School Association's (IHSA) 4A title game and being crowned state champs.   It was Warren's first state softball title in school history.

A quartet of Lake County Fastpitch players (catcher Jodie Hurd, second baseman Amber Leneau, designated hitter Sabrina Trevino, and pitcher Jana Wagner) led the way for Warren.  Battery mates Wagner and Hurd play travel ball for the 18U Lake County Liberty, while Leneau and Trevino play for the 16U Lake County Freedom

Warren ace starting pitcher Wagner, who finished her senior year with a 16-3 record, went the distance for the Blue Devils chalking up three strikeouts, while yielding no walks and two earned runs. Leneau, named the player of the game by the Chicago Tribune, was one of the hitting stars for Warren going 2 for 4, and slugging the first home run in her softball career.  She also scored two runs, drove in one, and played flawless defense, notching five putouts. Hurd and Trevino reached base via a hit by pitch and walk, respectively. Hurd also caught her last high school game and could not have picked a better way to close out her prep career.

Warren jumped out to an early 2-0 lead before Sandberg scored three times in the bottom of the fourth to go ahead.  But Warren came right back with two runs in the fifth to erase the deficit and pulled away with three more in the sixth, before adding Leneau's solo blast in the seventh. Wagner took charge and showed plenty of moxie in the circle, shutting down the Eagles attack in the fifth and sixth innings before giving up a meaningless run in the bottom of the seventh.  When Wagner induced the last Sandburg hitter to pop up to Leneau for the final out, it was a fitting end to a hard-fought game and a joyous beginning to the championship celebration that followed.

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PREP PROFILE  - Lake County Liberty's Mallory Klotz

Klotz keeps improving for New Berlin West  

Senior adds slap to repitoire

By Pat Neumuth 
Waukesha Freeman Staff  

MAY 22, 2014; NEW BERLIN, WI - The Klotz family has fully entrenched itself in softball.  Greg Klotz and his wife, Jill, have two daughters, and both play the sport.  They are both teachers, so they can dedicate summers to attending softball tournaments.  But in the spring, Greg Klotz gets a front row seat for watching his oldest daughter, Mallory. Greg coaches and Mallory is the leading hitter for the New Berlin West High School softball team, a team that went to the WIAA Division 2 state tournament last year. 

"I guess you'd expect me to say it's tough, but we almost have a telepathy on and off the field," Mallory Klotz said. "When we come home we talk about (softball), but we don't dwell on it. We see the same things on and off the field. I think him being my dad has made me a better player when I'm playing for him." 

Greg Klotz said his daughter does a better job of separating the father-daughter, coach-player relationship than he does.  "She goes out there and knows what to do," Greg Klotz said. "She's got so much experience. She's learned from mistakes. She's learned from coaches like me and so many other good coaches that she's had. She's such a coachable player that she knows her coaches, including myself, are just trying to help make her better. She takes the instruction and puts in to her advantage." 

Mallory Klotz had always been one of the better players on the diamond - even as a freshman. She used to be a power hitter even though she stands just 5-foot-1. However, a coach - not her father - helped transform her hitting for the better.  She learned to improve while playing club softball for Lake County Fastpitch Softball Association in Illinois.  Besides being a power hitter, she has always been fast around the bases. And as a lefty, she has an even quicker step to first. One of Mallory Klotz's first LCFSA coaches recognized that. 

"When we went and tried out, they saw her speed ... and they asked if they had slapped (hit) before," Greg Klotz said. "Of course, we said yes. Then we went home and Youtubed videos on slapping because she really hadn't. She made the team, and their slapping coach had taught slapping to seven or eight (NCAA) Division I players. Now she's a very good technical slapper, one of the best I've ever seen." 

Mallory Klotz is so good at it opposing teams know what is coming and still struggle to get her out. She said she's a mental player and slap hitting brings that part of her game.  

Mallory Klotz said there're so many options slap hitting brings to the table.  Her first option is to bunt or soft slap, which even works even when the other knows it's coming and the infield is in. That approach opens up the field for the rest of her at-bats. On the next at-bat, the outfield usually comes in. That's when she does a hard slap. Her feet are still moving, but it's a full swing of the bat. 

"I feel I've mastered slapping to the point where I tell myself I'm going to bunt or hit and that's all I think about," Mallory Klotz said. "I don't have to think about how to bunt or hit. I just do it, and I'm comfortable with it."   

When Mallory Klotz plays summer tournaments for LCFSA, she said each team has about four slap hitters per team. She's one of the few slap hitters in the Woodland Conference, and the approach works for her. She is batting around .650 for the season and batting around .510 in her four-year varsity career.

Mallory Klotz also plays many positions. She's a shortstop for West, but her speed also allows her to play every outfield position. Mallory Klotz's speed and batting ability have earned her the opportunity to play college softball next year. As a sophomore, her goal was to say she's a Division I softball player - and she could have been. She had offers from several softball programs out of state from the Division I and II levels with scholarship offers. But as she matured, that goal changed.  

"When I got (the offers) at the time I thought it would be so cool to tell everyone I'd be playing D1 in some state," Mallory Klotz said. "Then, there were factors of the distance."  

That's why she has proudly chosen to play at the University of  Wisconsin-Whitewater.  

"Whitewater has always been there at my games, but I always used to brush them off because they were D3," Mallory Klotz said. "To me, Whitewater is big. It's such a respected program and they do well every year. Softball has been my whole life, and at first I was going to Whitewater for softball. "But Whitewater is a great school, too. I have to look at being a student-athlete, and I'm excited for both aspects now."  

Greg Klotz is excited with his daughter's decision to play locally. He likes that she has the opportunity to play right away, and Whitewater is usually ranked in the top-20 in the nation.  He's ready to kick back and watch his daughter play without the coaching hat on.  

"I just want her to enjoy herself and be part of a team," Greg Klotz said.  "It's about her growing old as a softball player. She's got four more years of playing softball, and I really think she's ready for the next step."  

Email: pneumuth@conleynet.com     

(Article reprinted from The Waukesha Freeman)

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Get to know ... MALLORY KLOTZ

School/Sport: New Berlin West/Softball  

Coach: Greg Klotz  

Class In School/Age: Senior/18  

Also In My Family Are: my father, Greg; my mother, Jill; and my sister, Camryn, a freshman at West.  

The Athletic Accomplishment I Am Most Proud Of Is: making it to state last year.

My Favorite Subject In School Is: English.

My Favorite Teacher Is: Mrs. Viste, who teaches math.

My Favorite Movie Is: "Harry Potter."

My Favorite Recording Artist Is: Taylor Swift.

My Favorite TV Show Is: "Pretty Little Liars."

The Best Meal My Mother Makes Is: chicken chili.

A Bad Habit I Have Is: throwing my clothes all over my room.

A Pet Peeve I Have Is: when people chew really loud.

The Thing I Do Best Outside Of Athletics Is: spending time with my family.  

The Person I'd Most Like To Meet Is: Miley Cyrus.

The Last Time I Cleaned My Room I Found: a super old hat from   Nebraska that I got from nationals.  

Nobody Ever Says I'm: slow.

My Most Memorable Experience Is: going to nationals for my first time in Nebraska. It was my first big tournament, and it was a week-long experience.

My Most Prized Possession Is: my first home run ball, my first grand slam ball or a ball from state.  

One Thing People Might Not Know About Me Is: I'm a girly girl.  

One Thing I Would Change About Myself Is: how hard I am on myself.   One Thing At My School I Would Change Is: the size. I wish it was bigger.  

I See Myself In 10 Years: doing something in the business field, maybe marketing and coaching on the side.  

I Wish Coach Klotz Would: be harder on us.

 

(Article reprinted from The Waukesha Freeman)

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Our Mission

LCFSA teams play a very competitive summer and fall schedule with top opponents, and for the older players, top college exposure tournaments. With all of our players, we expect a strong work ethic; respect for coaches, other players, parents, and officials; and an "always hustle, never quit" attitude.  While winning is always important, character development, academic success, and the "joy of the game" are equally important goals of the program.