SPOTLIGHT ON ...
Sycamore, senior, pitcher Foulk gave up only two earned runs in a big win over Yorkville on Tuesday, and went 2 for 4 with two RBIs at the plate.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR
DeKalb vs. Sycamore at NIU, 6 p.m. Tuesday The Spartans beat the Barbs, 4-3, in last year’s meeting at Mary M. Bell Field.
DeKalb at Yorkville, 4:30 p.m. Thursday A big game when it comes to the Northern Illinois Big 12 East race. Barbs and Foxes are tied for second place at 4-2.
Kaneland at Sycamore, 4:30 p.m. Thursday The Spartans played spoiler with a win over Yorkville this week. Can they upset the conference-leading Knights?
1. Kaneland (13-3, 5-1 N. Illinois Big 12 East): With only one conference loss, the Knights hold the lead in the NI Big 12 East. 2. DeKalb (14-4, 4-2 NI Big 12 East): Tuesday’s walk-off win against Morris kept the Barbs in the conference race. 3. Genoa-Kingston (12-4, 3-3 Big Northern East): G-K pitcher Danielle Engel threw her best game as a Cog in Wednesday’s win over Hampshire, coach Mike Lauer said. 4. Sycamore (9-12, 3-5 NI Big 12 East): Spartans could play spoiler during the second half of the conference season. 5. Hiawatha (9-5, 9-4 Little Ten Conference): The Hawks earned the top seed in the Class 1A Durand Regional. 6. Indian Creek (3-13, 3-11 LTC): Timberwolves are the No. 4 seed in the Class 1A Ashton-Franklin Center Regional.
NOTEBOOK: Playing at NIU a highlight of season
Sycamore softball coach Jill Carpenter tries to maintain a sense of normalcy when playing DeKalb at Northern Illinois’ Mary M. Bell Field.
Carpenter and Barbs coach Jeff Davis know their teams don’t need to be pumped up for the game, which begins at 6 p.m. Tuesday.
Admission is free, and any DeKalb or Sycamore student in kindergarten through eighth grade who wears their softball uniform will be able to stand on the field during the national anthem.
“I think it’s probably one of the games that they look forward to the most every year,” Carpenter said about the players. “Getting to play under the lights on a college campus, a college field. It’s nice to be able to bring both sides of the community together on hopefully a good-weather day.”
When the teams met at NIU last season, the Spartans beat the Barbs, 4-3, with Sycamore pitcher Abby Foulk carrying a no-hitter into the sixth inning.
Davis said the Spartans usually have played his teams tough at NIU.
“I think they like playing at Northern. You get the lights and you get to play on a college-sized field and it’s manicured real nice,” he said. “But in all honesty, my teams haven’t had a lot of great success playing at Northen.”
Killeen’s injury shuffles Barbs’ ‘D’ DeKalb center fielder Sabrina Killeen has been out the past week with an ankle injury, meaning left fielder Jessica Townsend has had to take her place in center field.
Davis said Townsend has been handling the position fine, and thinks she could step in there next season after Killeen graduates.
“All that does for me is feel like, ‘OK, when Sabrina does graduate, we’re going to move Jess into centerfield,’ ” Davis said. “She did a great job [in Tuesday’s win over Morris], made a nice over-the-shoulder catch to deep center field, saved a couple runs.”
Killeen hopes to be back on the field next week.
“She hopes to be back for the Sycamore game, but in all honesty, we need her for our regionals,” Davis said. “That’s what we want to do, is we want to win one of those.”
Clark comfortable hitting leadoff Hiawatha senior Dani Clark had two home runs, including a grand slam, and seven RBIs in the Hawks’ win Monday over LaMoille.
The Hawks are 6-0 since coach David Tamraz decided to put Clark in the leadoff spot.
Tamraz said Clark is just at ease hitting leadoff.
“She’s just getting pitches to hit,” he said. “She’s very comfortable.”
VIEWS: No good reason why seeding meetings are so early
It’s almost that time of year again.
Regional seeds already are out in Class 1A and 2A. The Class 3A and 4A seeds will come out next week.
The postseason is right around the corner.
I’ve complained about this before, but it’s something I’ve had an issue with dating to the time I was in high school.
Why are the seeds coming out this early? There’s really no reason for this to be determined with two weeks remaining in the regular season. It’s especially an issue this season with teams having played fewer games because of terrible weather.
Look at a team like Sycamore. The Spartans had won four of their past five heading into Thursday’s game at Morris. Sycamore could keep up the hot streak the rest of the year, but only some of it will be reflected in seeding.
There really isn’t a good reason the IHSA couldn’t push back the seeding date at least one week, especially when teams are seeded by regional, which is the case for all of our local teams.
Sycamore coach Jill Carpenter would like the seeding pushed back, but did say that it’s not as big of a deal in the set regionals. It makes more of a difference in the suburban sectionals where seeding is that much more important.
“Yeah, that would be nice. But you also have to take care of business throughout the course of the year,” Carpenter said. “Sometimes you do and sometimes you don’t. [At] the end of the day for us, I don’t think the seeds matter as much because we already know who we’re playing.”
The IHSA’s system never will make everyone happy. People still complain about the four-class system, which certainly has both its positives and negatives.
However, I think pushing seeding back at least a week is something that can be done without many complications.
• Steve Nitz is a staff writer for the Daily Chronicle. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.