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The Insider: Softball

Published: Friday, April 19, 2013 5:30 a.m. CST
Caption
(Erik Anderson)
Erik Anderson - For the Daily Chronicle The Barbs short stop Jessica Townsend signals on second base to the DeKalb batter during the match up of DeKalb and Yorkville at DeKalb High School on Tuesday, April 16, 2013. Yorkville defeated DeKalb 3-2.

IC progressing despite lack of games In her first year as Indian Creek coach, Alyx Gunderson already had the challenge of working with a young team. The Timberwolves have just six upperclassmen.

On top of that, Indian Creek hasn’t been able to get in any nonconference games because of the weather. All eight of the T’Wolves’ contests have been Little Ten games, and Gunderson’s team has a 3-5 record.

Gunderson said it will be tough to make up the nonleague games because of scheduling issues. She is, however, happy with the way her team has played in the unusual circumstances.

“They’re coming a long way,” she said. “I can see that they’re progressing each game that we play.”

Barbs with rare losing streak

DeKalb got off to a great start to the season, winning its first 10 games.

However, the Barbs have lost their past two games against Oswego and Yorkville, respectively. DeKalb is 3-1 in the Northern Illinois Big 12 East, and the Barbs will need some help if they’re going to win the conference outright with Yorkville sitting unbeaten.

DeKalb’s defense hasn’t been up to par, as the Barbs have made eight errors in the two losses.

“The pitching hasn’t been bad, and balls that we have hit, have been right at somebody,” DeKalb coach Jeff Davis said. “I think the defensive effort, where we’ve botched some routine ground balls [is the reason for the losing streak].”

Becker, Eckert filling in for Knights

Kaneland had a huge spot to fill this season, with ace pitcher Delani Vest, last year’s Daily Chronicle Player of the Year, now at Northern Illinois.

Sophomore Anissa Becker and Ellissa Eckert, a senior, are similar pitchers, as they don’t throw real hard and don’t rack up the strikeouts. However, both have good control and good defense behind them.

So far, Kaneland coach Brian Willis has been impressed with what the duo has done. He’s mostly been rotating both pitchers, and may eventually ride the hot hand when the season gets into the final stretch.

“They’ve been doing an admirable job,” Willis said. “They’re not going to set the world on fire but they’re not going to beat themselves either.”

VIEWS: Weather delays wreaking havoc on area teams
DeKalb coach Jeff Davis watched his team make eight errors combined in its two losses over the past week.

On top of that, Davis wasn’t even able to take his team outside to work on its defense. With all the rain in the area, Davis was forced to practice inside and hit ground balls in the gym.

Not exactly the same, but it’s all the Barbs could do.

“You make the best of the situation,” Davis said.

For a high school coach, there are plenty of challenges already. This season, there’s been even more becauase of the weather, whether it’s having to practice in a gym way too often or figuring out a pitching rotation with four games in four days.

Indian Creek coach Alyx Gunderson is in her first year at the helm of the Timerwolves program, and had one practice outside before Indian Creek’s first game. She also didn’t have the benefit of working with her team in nonconference games.

All of the T’Wolves non-Little Ten games so far have been canceled or postponed because of the weather. They jumped right into LTC action.

Hopefully, the rain and cold weather will be going away in the next week.

Still, the area’s coaches will face challenges because of what’s taken place at the beginning of the season.

Kaneland coach Brian Willis would like to get some more nonconference games in, but with conference play now in full swing, that’s easier said than done.

Coaches will also have to go deeper into their pitching staffs should they end up having to play a string of games in a row. Postseason seeding could be a little more interesting with the lack of games teams have played.

I guess everyone can just hope the weather isn’t causing problems come playoff time, when the games really matter.

• Steve Nitz is a staff writer for the Daily Chronicle. He can be reached at snitz@shawmedia.com.

SPOTLIGHT ON...
Hannah Walter, DeKalb, senior, second baseman
Walter is hitting a team-high .622 for the Barbs.

WHAT TO WATCH FOR
Indian Creek at Hiawatha, 4 p.m. today, doubleheader
Key Little Ten matchup for both schools.

Burlington Central at Genoa-Kingston, 4:30 p.m. Wednesday The Rockets had a come from behind win over G-K in the teams' first meeting. This is a big test for the Cogs.

POWER RANKINGS
1. DeKalb (10-2, 3-1 Northern Illinois Big 12 East)
It's been a rough week for DeKalb, with the Barbs losing their first two games of the season.2. Kaneland (8-2, 2-1 NI Big 12 East) The Knights' pitching has stepped up.3. Genoa-Kingston (4-2 1-1 Big Northern East) Mike Lauer's team had a nice extra-inning win over Richmond-Burton earlier this week.4. Sycamore (4-9, 0-5 NI Big 12 East) Conference play hasn't been kind to the Spartans.5. Hiawatha (3-5, 3-4 Little Ten Conference) Hawks coach David Tamraz is able to rely on multiple pitchers.6. Indian Creek (3-5, 3-5 LTC) T'Wolves haven't had the benefit of non-conference games.

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