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Sports

Baseball, softball teams adjust to another messy weather weekend

Chris Walker
Chris Walker

Date? TBA. Time? TBA. Location? TBA. Sanity level? SMH.

Regional baseball and softball championship games were played on May 24 and 25, but many didn’t take place according to the original IHSA schedule because of the weather.

What a mess, but par for the course in what has been another season dictated by Mother Nature’s mood swings. I swear she must hate baseball as much as PETA despises those who gobble up turducken.

Kaneland beat Burlington Central 3-2 on the evening of May 25 at Judson University’s turf field in Elgin. The teams were supposed to play at 10 that morning at Burlington Central.

“Our decision basically was do we want to take our chances with what happens overnight or do we want to find a place where we know we can play,” Rockets coach Kyle Nelson said. “We wanted to make sure we got this game in today.”

And what a great game it was with Alex Buchanan inducing a game-ending comebacker with the tying and go-ahead runners on base in the final inning.

“It was nice to have a little spotlight on us and we got a beautiful day, which was nice,” said Knights senior Tommy Shaw, who tripled in two runs in the first inning. “During the regular season we had games moved back and forth because of the rain, so this was just like any other game. If anything we got the bonus of playing on a really nice field.”

His teammate, catcher Nic Panico, would’ve been content playing in a sandlot.

“Coach was all about us staying ready for the game and said it doesn’t matter where or when it is, but we’re going to play somewhere so just be ready,” he said. “As long as we have a field and a ball, let’s play.”

Baseball and softball are really the only team sports that have to deal with the madness caused by the playoffs happening at the end of the school year and bad weather and graduation ceremonies factoring into it.

Years from now will anyone remember that Geneva delayed coach Greg Dierks’ retirement by winning the Class 4A Geneva softball regional title in St. Charles?

The game was originally scheduled for May 25 in Geneva and then moved to St. Charles North on May 24 because Geneva’s field was unplayable.

The changes didn’t rattle Shelly Deisz, who fired a one-hit shutout.

“I don’t usually let those things bother me,” she said. “Our field was not in the best condition, so I just knew that I’d have my team behind me wherever we played and nothing would bother me.”

Nothing did and the Vikings hoisted their first regional title plaque since 2010.

“I’ve played on that field many times before so that wasn’t going to bother me,” Deisz said. “It means a lot to just keep on winning for coach Dierks.”

The Knights and Vikings weren’t the only ones altering their plans last weekend.

Huntley beat Belvidere North in Elmhurst in the DeKalb baseball regional. That game was moved 60 miles east to IC Catholic Prep’s turf field, far closer to UIC than NIU.

What about Romeoville? They had the upset of the year in beating the host, top-seeded Griffins in the Class 4A Lincoln-Way East baseball regional semis, but then had to play the championship game at Providence, a program that owns the only three-peat in state history and is also the home of yours truly.

But no one had it worse than Loyola Academy, which lost 8-4 in extra innings to New Trier in the Niles North baseball regional May 25. That $60,000 in tuition can’t buy you everything. The game was moved up an hour to accommodate Loyola’s graduation at 1 p.m. The Ramblers’ season ended at 12:45 p.m. Oopsy daisy. I hope they removed the eye black before taking pictures.

I suppose this was just another bridge for baseball and softball players in Illinois to cross. Thankfully, it wasn’t flooded.

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