While a couple of Fox Valley area softball teams will travel south to get some games in during spring break next week, others will head to Rosemont and the Dome at The Ballpark to start their seasons.
But the majority of area teams are looking at what most likely will be a first week of April kickoff as Old Man Winter continues to think this is his permanent residence.
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In the meantime, any outdoor activity has been limited.
"If the walls are 100 feet away when we get outside we'll be good," quipped Cary-Grove coach Tammy Olson of the extended indoor practices.
Hampshire, under second-year coach Stacey Stepek, will open the season Monday with a doubleheader in the Rosemont Dome against Wauconda, a Class 3A sectional champion last year. Huntley, Elgin, South Elgin and Bartlett will also get games in the dome next week with Burlington Central playing a DH in Rosemont on April 2. The Rockets will also head south next weekend to play 3 games at Champion Fields in Normal, while Bartlett will travel to Clarksville, Tenn., the weekend of April 4 for the Play It Again Sports Tournament. The Hawks will not make their annual trip to the Wendy's Classic in Ohio this year as the dates for that tournament have changed.
On the college scene: In addition to a plethora of high school games at the Rosemont Dome next week, Northwestern will play Northern Illinois at noon on Wednesday. St. Edward graduate Kali Kossakowski is a freshman shortstop at NIU. ... Kossakowski isn't the only St. Edward grad making her mark in the Division I game. Green Wave product Tarah McShane, now a junior at Valparaiso, was recently named to the all-tournament team at the Rainbow Classic in Hawaii. McShane is hitting .300 with 4 homers and 15 RBI in 23 games this season. Also on the college scene, as of Wednesday Judson University coach Becky Pearl was holding out hope her Eagles could play at home on Friday against Aquinas College. Judson's infield, a pro surface, is playable but Pearl was waiting to see if the outfield would dry enough.
New coaches: There are two new coaches in the Fox Valley area this season. Dr. Nick Bumbales, who has been involved in Elgin High athletics for over 25 years and is the Maroons' head girls basketball coach, takes over the program on Maroon Drive. Bumbales said there are 50 girls out for softball this spring, including 20 freshmen and 19 sophomores.
Stephanie Katzenberger takes over at South Elgin. Katzenberger, who is originally from Saginaw, Mich., and played her college softball at Concordia University in River Forest, comes to South Elgin after 7 years as JV coach at Oak Lawn. Prior to that she was head coach at Walther Christian, where she won three regional titles.
Coming home: Speaking of coaches, 2009 graduates Kayla Oranger and Kaitlin Hardie have returned to their alma maters as assistant coaches. Oranger, who had a successful four-year career at Texas-El Paso, was the leadoff hitter for Burlington Central's 2009 team that took third place in Class 3A. She will assist the Rockets this season. Hardie, the starting shortstop for the 2009 Crystal Lake South team that nearly upset Barrington in a Class 4A supersectional, will assist at her alma mater this season after a standout four-year career at Winona State.
Chicagoland Challenge: Due to a scheduling conflict at the Elgin Sports Complex, the Chicagoland Challenge tournament hosted by St. Edward, will be played at the Campton Township fields in rural St. Charles, the home of the Wasco Diamonds fastpitch organization. The tournament date is Saturday, April 19.