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THE INSIDER: Softball

SPOTLIGHT ON ...

Taylor Zak
Sycamore, junior, pitcher
Zak threw four scoreless innings in Tuesday’s 10-7 loss to Rochelle, and was 1 for 1 with an RBI at the plate.

WHAT TO WATCH FOR

Sycamore at DeKalb, 4:30 p.m. Thursday The rivalry gets going early in the season as the teams will play the first of two contests against each other. This one is the first matchup between the DeKalb and Sycamore at the new DeKalb High School.

Harvard at Genoa-Kingston, 4:30 p.m. Monday The Cogs open Big Northern Conference East Division play. It’s a early start to the conference slate after having so many games canceled because of inclement weather.

POWER RANKINGS

1. DeKalb (7-0): Talented Barbs off to a great start. 2. Kaneland (4-1): Knights went to Louisville for a spring break trip. 3. Sycamore (2-3): Defense strong for the Spartans in the early going. 4. Indian Creek (2-1): T’wolves with two easy victories over LaMoille. 5. Genoa-Kingston (1-1): Mike Lauer’s team suffered a 5-4 loss to Ottawa on Wednesday. 6. Hiawatha (0-1): The Hawks didn’t play their season opener until Wednesday and lost 7-1 to Earlville-Leland.

NOTEBOOK: Newport, Kowalski share circle

Katie Kowalski has been DeKalb’s ace the past two seasons.

This year, however, the Barbs are going with more of a rotation in the circle. Through five games, Kowalski and freshman Morgan Newport have both seen a good amount of time. Through Wednesday’s games Kowalski (2-0) and Newport (3-0) have combined for a 5-0 record.

At times, Kowalski’s pitching hand has gone numb and swelled. It’s something she dealt with last year and the junior still is having tests done. DeKalb coach Jeff Davis wants to keep both pitchers’ innings down so they’re healthy for the postseason.

“We really have to be careful with [Kowalski],” Davis said.

Davis added that Newport and Kowalski are similar pitchers, with the difference being Newport is a lefty.

“She’s a lot like Katie as far as size, stuff goes,” Davis said. “They throw the same pitches pretty much, just from opposite sides. They both throw four and five pitches.”

Hawks have to wait Weather has been a problem for every team in the area this season. Hiawatha didn’t play its first game until Wednesday, a 7-1 loss against Earlville-Leland.

The Hawks have had five games canceled, and another one postponed. It’s even been a challenge to get outside on the practice field because of the the weather and unplayable field conditions.

David Tamraz’s team will get started quickly, with eight games in a two-week span. Luckily for Tamraz, he said he feels like he has pitching depth with Ashley Tamraz, Dani Clark and Abby Turner.

“Pitching won’t be a problem. I think the challenges that we’re going to have, the reason I took them outside, is I told the girls, ‘This is what we have to play in. We have to get used to it,’ ” David Tamraz said. “The weather’s going to be a challenge for the underclassmen. I don’t think they’ve played in this kind of weather.”

Defense not a problem for Spartans Sycamore hasn’t been outside a lot so far this year, but that hasn’t been a problem for the Spartans when it comes to catching the ball.

According to coach Jill Carpenter, fielding has been a strength for the Spartans.

“We’ve got a pretty veteran group. Out of the 13 kids on the team, we have 10 that are juniors and seniors,” Carpenter said. “I think that really helps.”

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