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Prep Zone

Schwab: ‘Shovel party’ a hit for East softball

In a typical year, St. Charles East softball coach Kelly Horan organizes a “field day” with players and their families to groom the Saints’ diamond leading up to the start of the season.

This year – with leftover snow from a brutal winter still caking the diamond – called for something more. It called for a party.

Putting a happy face on a potentially daunting situation, Horan orchestrated a “shoveling party” Saturday at East in which varsity players and their parents chipped away at the snow on the diamond.

Horan reports that participation was robust and spirits were high.

“I’ve never, ever doubted how dedicated, and I use the word ‘hard-core,’ my kids and my parents are,” Horan said. “Nobody in the program was surprised they were going to spend some time to do this. … The parents were awesome. It was just great bonding time.”

Horan said the successful shovel session was in line with the level of cooperation she’s come to expect from East softball families.

“Any time we need something, whether shoveling or ordering sandwich for away games, they’re more than happy to help with that type of stuff I don’t necessarily want to spend time to do, but it’s really important,” Horan said.

The Saints – defending IHSA Class 4A state runners-up – are scheduled to open their season at home March 27 against Glenbard North.

It’s premature to know whether East’s field will be playable by then, but Horan said “I’m optimistic because why waste time on being not? But I think we’re going to know by the end of this week.”

Meanwhile, East athletic director Mike Sommerfeld said Tuesday that a March 28 Saints baseball game at Palatine already has been postponed. East baseball is scheduled to open its season March 26 with a home game against Barrington.

Practice has predominantly been indoors for area schools leading up to the spring season, with St. Charles East and St. Charles North sharing fieldhouse space at East.

“It’s worked out OK,” Sommerfeld said. “It hasn’t been ideal, obviously. A couple of days when it was nice they’ve gone on a parking lot blacktop or tennis courts, anywhere where it’s dry, just to get outside and kind of air things out.”

Coming soon: The Chronicle’s girls basketball all-area team will publish Thursday, and our boys basketball all-area team will run Friday.

Meanwhile, today’s Chronicle includes a look ahead to the girls soccer season, and our spring sports preview packages will continue Saturday with softball. Several other spring sports will be previewed next week, beginning with baseball on Tuesday.

Speaking of hoops: Tuesday provided another example that comparing scores seldom adds up to anything meaningful.

The Geneva boys basketball team knocked off Glenbard North during the regular season but was beaten soundly by Benet in Friday’s sectional championship game.

Benet, though, required a last-minute rally to defeat Glenbard North in Tuesday’s Hinsdale Central Supersectional, 62-59.

• Jay Schwab is sports editor of the Kane County Chronicle. He can be reached at 630-845-5382 or

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