Daily Chronicle sports editor Ross Jacobson and sports reporter Steve Nitz spend their days covering the area’s sports scene. Occasionally, they give their viewpoints on those local sports. In this installment of their Take 2 column, they discuss the wet prep spring sports season.
NItz: Ross, it’s been a slow start to the spring sports season because of the terrible, terrible weather, but the games finally are starting to get under way.
I’ll just get to the point. I know it’s early, but which area team has impressed you the most so far?
Jacobson: I’m going with DeKalb softball and, truthfully, I don’t think it’s even close. The Barbs are off to a 10-0 start and have been doing it primarily without the services of their best pitcher, Katie Kowalski, who still is recovering from an injury.
Early on, the Barbs were dominant, scoring double-digit runs in a handful of games, and the pitching has held up with the emergence of freshman Morgan Newport.
To me, they look like the team most primed for a run at the state tournament. It’s a small sample size, but it’s a very impressive one. Agree with me?
Nitz: It’s tough to disagree with DeKalb softball, and I wrote in Friday’s Insider that the Barbs have a good shot at making a run. If Kowalski is healthy and pitches up to her potential come postseason time, the Barbs could very well be state bound.
However, you already mentioned the Barbs and I’ll throw out another team – Hinckley-Big Rock baseball. The Royals are 6-3 and 5-1 in the Little Ten Conference, and had a big win over LTC power Somonauk on Tuesday.
Any team that stands out to you when it comes to area baseball?
Jacobson: Your pick of H-BR is a good one. Our other area baseball teams have all struggled to start the spring season, but I’ll look to Sycamore and Kaneland as two intriguing teams that have the potential to surprise people in the postseason. Especially looking at the regional assignments of both teams, the Spartans and Knights have a good chance to get into a sectional, which would be hosted at Sycamore.
Steve, let’s close it out by giving one bold prediction for the spring season.
Nitz: I’ll go back to softball for this one. I’m going to say Genoa-Kingston will take home a regional title this season. Now on the surface, that might not seem like I’m going out on a limb. However, when you look at the Cogs’ regional assignment – Burlington Central, Hampshire, Marengo and Sycamore, it won’t be easy.
But G-K has a veteran team with deep pitching. The Cogs lost a tough, 10-inning game to Burlington Central on Tuesday and were scheduled to take on the Rockets on Thursday. It will be a loaded regional at Sycamore, but I feel the Cogs have the talent to get through.
Jacobson: Because you made a prediction within your beat, I’ll do the same. I’ll predict that all six schools with track teams will have at least one participant not only qualify for the state meet, but make it to Saturday’s finals.
Out of this group, there is the potential for a state champion or two, but the area should be well represented on Saturday in Charleston.