Catcher Brady Roberts is enjoying a big senior season for Marmion in the No. 3 hole, entering the week hitting .339 with 4 triples and 14 RBI for the Suburban Christian Conference leading Cadets.
Roberts also is enjoying life behind the plate catching senior lefty Alex Troop who has basically been unhittable.
Troop, a Michigan State recruit, was scheduled to take the mound Friday in a showdown for first place against St. Francis but like the rest of the action in the area the game was called off due to the weather.
"It's a ton of fun," Roberts said of catching Troop. "You know where he's going to throw the ball every time and it's been an honor catching him this year. I know I've got his back and he's got mine."
Through his first 42 innings on the mound, Troop struck out 84 batters while allowing just 1 earned run for a 0.167 ERA that included a 25-inning streak without allowing an earned run.
In last week's 10-inning win over Montini, Troop pitched a career-high 8 innings, allowing just 1 hit in the first inning and striking out seven of the final nine hitters he faced.
"It was almost like he got stronger at the end," Marmion coach Dave Rakow said. "He was hitting the strike zone more consistently."
Troop also is having a great season at the plate with 6 doubles, 5 triples, a team-high 19 RBI and a .345 batting average.
In control: Like Marmion-St. Francis, the Batavia-St. Charles North matchup has been called off the past two days.
When the Bulldogs and North Stars do take the field for a doubleheader Saturday, Batavia will look to resume its march toward the Upstate Eight Conference River title.
After completing a three-game sweep of Geneva on Tuesday, the Bulldogs still only have 2 conference losses ahead of St. Charles East with 6.
Entering this week Batavia, who earned the No. 1 seed in the Class 4A Schaumburg sectional, had three pitchers all with 5 wins: Colby Green, Evan Acosta and Jacob Piechota. A combined 15-2, they had respective ERAs of 0.45, 0.95 and 1.83.
Heating up: One of the big bats in the St. Charles North softball lineup, junior first baseman Abby Howlett, didn't get off to the fastest start this season.
But that has changed in a big way lately. Howlett, who entered the week hitting .377 with 1 home run and 25 RBI, homered in back-to-back games this week.
"Abby early in the year there was an adjustment period because she went from the five spot to the four spot," North Stars coach Tom Poulin said. "She was being pitched differently. Not a whole lot differently but I think people were being more careful with her. She was probably swinging at some balls out of the zone early in the year. We don't worry about Abby. She comes to work every day."
Poulin also likes what freshmen like Jordyn Wolfe has brought to the lineup with her ability to bunt for a hit and steal bases.
"Throughout the lineup we have some kids who have some speed," Poulin said. "That's something we need to continue to develop as we go forward."
The North Stars host St. Charles East on Tuesday in a game that will decide the Upstate Eight Conference River Division title. Both teams have 2 conference losses.
Winding down, starting up: Asked about getting to her senior year at St. Charles North, four-year standout Sabrina Rabin offered this:
"It's weird. I feel so old. I probably don't look old because I'm so small. We'll see how it ends but I like it. I'm going to be sad to leave but new experiences coming up I'm looking forward to."
While Rabin is putting the finishing touches on her high school career before heading to Northwestern, Annika Radabaugh is one of several freshmen at Geneva just beginning hers.
All Radabaugh has done is hit 6 home runs including a pair against St. Charles North. She launched another in a tight 3-2 loss to St. Charles East this week and is closing in on Geneva's record of 8.
"She's been hitting well. She started 0-for 10 and pretty much after that she's been sharp every game," said Geneva coach Greg Dierks, whose team improved to 16-11 with a win over Streamwood. The Vikings are 9-8 in the Upstate Eight -- 9-4 without four recent losses to the two St. Charles schools.
Despite just having three seniors on the roster, Dierks never let his team use youth as an excuse.
"We've played well," Dierks said. "Everybody is carrying their weight. We're not hanging onto any young labels. I told them when we picked the team at he beginning of the year, I don't care how young anybody is, this is as experienced of a team as I've ever had. They have been playing softball year round for a long time and they are ready for this. We're ready to hit from top to bottom in the batting order. We've got girls on the bench who are waiting to get their turn to come in and do the same."