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Softball insider: Bats awakening for Knights

Published: Monday, April 14, 2014 10:29 p.m. CDT
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(Monica Maschak – mmaschak@shawmedia.com)
Lexi Roach and Kaneland broke out of their hitting slump Saturday, scoring 31 runs in a doubleheader sweep over Batavia.

The way Kaneland coach Brian Willis figured, it was only a matter of time before the Knights' offense erupted.

Saturday's doubleheader against visiting Batavia turned out to be the day as the Knights won both games via the mercy rule in five innings, 12-2 and 19-5.

"It was nice to kind of bust out of our funk we've been in with the bats," Willis said. "I could see it coming a little bit against Marengo on Friday. … It was going to happen against somebody. Unfortunately for Batavia, we stated swinging well against them."

The doubleheader sweep improved Kaneland to 6-5 on the season. Freshman Morgan Weber reached base in eight of her nine at-bats, scoring six runs on the day.

While Weber's emergence gives Willis an intriguing option at or near the top of the lineup, the Knights' team-wide resurgence was a relief for Willis after a chilly offensive start to the spring.

"When you get into those situations, people start to press, and then we started having everyone pressing at the same time," Willis said. "Everyone was trying to hit that five-run homer, and it just doesn't exist. I knew it was a matter of time."

A prolonged offensive uptick would undoubtedly pay big dividends for Kaneland, but the Knights' season also could receive a boost when ace pitcher Angie Morrow takes on a larger workload. With Morrow coming off a shoulder injury last season, Willis has been reluctant to start Morrow in consecutive games.

"It's too early in the season," Willis said. "Even though she says she can do it, I want to be extra cautious with her. It's more important down the road than it is today with these kind of conditions."

Morrow is a transfer from Burlington Central. Kaneland's early-season matchup with Burlington Central was postponed because of field conditions; Willis said Monday he doubts the game will be made up, saying fitting in conference games will take priority.

Long view

St. Charles North is coming off an up-and-down week, having lost consecutive games to Neuqua Valley and Waubonsie Valley, defeated Wheaton Warrenville South and South Elgin, then dropped a pair of games Saturday to Lockport and New Trier in a round-robin event.

North still projects to have a strong season, and coach Tom Poulin said he doesn't mind some in-season adversity as long as there is long-term payoff.

"The whole regular season is getting us ready for the postseason," Poulin said after the loss to Waubonsie. "So if these days make us better going forward, then it's worthwhile."

Try again tomorrow

Several scheduled games Monday were postponed because of the unseasonably frigid weather. One of those was Rosary's home game with Chicago Christian, which was rescheduled for today.

IN THE GROOVE

Heart of St. Charles East's lineup

What the Saints did: East's 2 through 5 hitters – Olivia Cheatham, Kate Peterburs, Sarah Collalti and Alex Latoria – had four hits apiece Friday as the Saints rallied past Metea Valley, 18-12. Peterburs added two hits in Saturday's 6-1 win in Game 1 of a doubleheader against Fremd, and Latoria and Collalti added two hits each in the second game of the doubleheader, a 9-8 win.

Morgan Weber, Kaneland, Fr., IF

What she did: Weber scored six runs in Saturday's doubleheader sweep over Batavia, one day after homering in the Knights' loss to Marengo.

WHAT WE LEARNED FROM LAST WEEK

Geneva's youth movement is promising.

The Vikings have four freshmen and three sophomores on their roster, and some of the youngsters are making an immediate impact. Freshman Annika Rodabaugh went 3-for-3 in Saturday's win against Wheaton North, while fellow freshman Molly Wrenn went 4-for-4 in Friday's loss to West Aurora.

WHAT WE'LL LEARN IN THE WEEK AHEAD

Whether Batavia can pick up its first win of the season.

The 0-6 Bulldogs will have several chances, with games scheduled today against South Elgin, Wednesday at Metea Valley and Thursday through Saturday at the West Aurora Invite.

COACH SLY SAYS

Burlington Central has an incredibly tough schedule for a 3A team.

That means the Rockets are going to take the occasional lumps (like they did against St. Charles East), but give it up for BC for knocking off Barrington on Friday.

Barrington is a program that made the Final Four in Class 4A last year (losing to the aforementioned Saints), so that's a big-time victory for the Rockets.

Sly always respects teams for scheduling up, and Central certainly has done that. You gotta believe it will pay off for the Rockets.

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