April 26, 2012
By Steve Reaven
For The Mash
People who peg Dani Goranson as someone who eats, breathes and sleeps softball aren’t off base at all.
The sport has been front and center in the Elk Grove senior pitcher’s life since she was 6 years old, and she’s blossomed into one of the area’s best dual-threats: an elite pitcher and the Grenadiers’ leadoff—and most productive—hitter.
“Hopefully all the work I’ve put in has prepared me well to succeed,” said Goranson, who signed a letter of intent in November to play at Michigan State.
Family is at the core of why Goranson loves the game. Her father, Jim, is the longtime coach of the Illinois Bash, a suburban summer traveling team, and sister Nikki served as her catcher for nine years while both were growing up.
“I owe a lot to my dad,” she said.“To this day, I learn the most about the game from him.”
Goranson, who entered the week with a 10-3 record and a 1.54 ERA, has unfinished business before moving on to play for Michigan State: helping her team to a second trip to the state semifinals in three years. “The season won’t be a success unless we make it downstate.”
Senior, Taft, baseball, first baseman
• Most potent bat in lineup for Taft squad that opened 2012 with 18 straight wins.
• Entered the week hitting .535 with three home runs and 40 RBI in only 18 games.
• Also had eight doubles and four triples in that span while striking out only once (reached first base in that at-bat on dropped third strike).
• Hit .510 as a junior.
Plays him in a movie: William Wallace from the movie “Braveheart.” “That character in the movie was reflective of how we are as a team. We’re a smaller school and not a lot of people take us seriously. We go out and fight as hard as we can every game.”
Playlist: Listens to a lot of rock `n’ roll, including the song “Savior” by Rise Against “over and over” before games.
Secret crush: Eva Mendes. “I kind of like her accent and she’s pretty hot.”
Overrated: LeBron James. “He can’t play in the fourth quarter. It was kind of cowardly for him to bail out on Cleveland. He should have stuck with one team until he finished the job.”
Senior, Plainfield North, baseball, pitcher/first baseman
• Owned a 4-0 record on the mound in first five starts with a 0.98 ERA.
• Struck out 37 batters and walked only 12 in that span and didn’t allow a home run.
• Also dangerous at the plate, entering this week hitting .339 with one home run, 11 RBI and four doubles.
• Will pitch at Notre Dame.
Plays him in a movie: Steve Carrell. “A lot of my friends tell me I’m similar to him personality-wise. And some people think I look a little like him too.”
Playlist: “I’ve been listening to a lot of Dave Matthews Band lately and the band OAR is also one of my favorites.”
Secret crush: Jennifer Aniston. “She’s one of my favorites–I still watch `Friends’ reruns all the time.”
Overrated: Statistics in baseball. “Things like hustle and intangibles get overlooked a lot of times.”
Senior, Metea Valley, soccer, forward
• Leading scorer on high-scoring Mustangs with 17 goals and 14 assists through 15 games.
• Included in her season’s scoring haul have been two hat tricks.
• Exploded for four goals in Metea’s win over Streamwood earlier this spring.
Plays her in a movie: She can’t really think of anyone. “Maybe I should just do it.”
Playlist: “I download a lot of stuff off the radio, mostly pop music.” Favorites include Adele and Gym Class Heroes.
Secret crush: Josh Hutcherson (“Hunger Games”). “He’s a really good actor and he’s cute.”
Overrated: Facebook and Twitter. “People are basing their whole lives off it.”
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