Softball: Weather wrecks NLCC showdown
The timing of bad weather could not have been worse Thursday afternoon as Mother Nature wreaked havoc on the first-place Northern Lake County Conference softball showdown between host Wauconda and No. 2-ranked Class 3A team Antioch.
Shortly before the contest was supposed to get started the lightning detector went off resulting in the mandatory 30-minute waiting period for the game to resume.
Officials thought there would be a decent window of opportunity for at least a good part of the contest being played even if it meant the game was going to have to be suspended and picked up where they left off at a later date.
So when the game finally did get underway Antioch (15-0, 4-0) jumped all over Wauconda pitcher Lesleigh Reimers as University of Wisconsin-bound Eden Echevarria led off with a single to right field.
Freshman Jadynn Ruiz followed Echevarria with a double down the left-field line to put runners on second and third before Michigan State-bound Jacey Schuler hit an RBI single to give the Sequoits a quick 1-0 advantage.
Then Reimers got UIC-bound cleanup hitter Emily Brecht to strike out for the first out. But that wound up being the last batter of the game as lightning returned to the area and the umpire officially called it a suspended game.
Antioch coach Anthony Rocco expects the game to be resumed next Wednesday (April 26) with runners on second and third and one out. But Wauconda coach Tim Orisek said the game could be finished on Friday (April 21).
"You know weather is part of the issue you get in the spring sometimes in sports, but I'm happy with how we came out with three hits right away and that will be a good situation to start off with two on and one out," said Rocco, whose team is ranked second behind undefeated Lemont. "It's not worth the kids' health or obviously safety to play, but we'll get back at it."
Rocco said his squad has two aces on their pitching staff, and senior Syerra Gilmore was slated to be Antioch's starter instead of Schuler against the Bulldogs.
"I trust either one of them, they're doing a phenomenal job this year, those ERA's are really low, and they average about two strikeouts an inning each," added Rocco.
Most of Wauconda's players were wearing their trademark sunflowers in their hair. The Bulldogs have played the Sequoits tough, with a 3-3 record in their last six meetings according Orisek.
"You knew this was coming, but I'd like to get some softball in today as much as possible so I feel good about where our preparation is and I look forward to the bottom half of our inning when we'll bounce back," said Orisek, whose team is 10-6 and 4-0. "We were really the only conference team that has had a chance to beat them in conference play the last two years, but they've gotten the best of us in the playoffs the last two years."