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SOFTBALL INSIDER: Young H-BR program picks up first varsity win

Published: Saturday, May 3, 2014 12:14 a.m. CDT • Updated: Saturday, May 3, 2014 6:25 a.m. CDT

(Continued from Page 1)

SPOTLIGHT ON ...

Sarah Friedlund

DeKalb, senior, infielder

Friedlund went 2 for 2 with a home run and three RBIs in the Barbs' win over Rochelle on Thursday.

WHAT TO WATCH FOR

Sycamore at Genoa-Kingston, 4:30 p.m. Monday

Could be a regional preview, as both area schools are part of the Class 2A Burlington Central Regional.

DeKalb at Sycamore, 4:30 p.m. Thursday

These two teams played Friday night, and there's a quick turnaround for the rematch.

POWER RANKINGS

1. DeKalb (12-5, 5-2 Northern Illinois Big 12 East)

2. Genoa-Kingston (11-6, 2-3 Big Northern East)

3. Kaneland (10-9, 2-2 NI Big 12 East)

4. Sycamore (4-11, 1-3 NI Big 12 East)

5. Indian Creek (4-7, 3-6 Little Ten)

6. Hiawatha (6-6, 4-4 Little Ten)

7. Hinckley-Big Rock (2-7, 2-6 Little Ten)

NOTEBOOK: Young H-BR program picks up first varsity win

The Hinckley-Big Rock softball program picked up a couple of milestone victories in late April. On April 23, the Royals defeated Paw Paw, 16-8, to pick up their first-ever varsity win. Three days later, H-BR defeated the Bulldogs again, 5-1. H-BR is in its second year as a program, and played more of a JV schedule its first season.

“The wins for our program were huge for the confidence for the players and the hard work they’ve put in to succeed,” Royals coach Kristy Harrod said.

Players who have stood for H-BR include pitcher Kenzie Coppes, who had four hits, five RBIs in the two victories; catcher MaryKate Harrod, who had four hits and three RBIs; and Olivia Summer, who added three RBIs.

“Kenzie Coppes, our pitcher, has been absolutely amazing at learning pitches and keeping pitches off the plate,” Kristy Harrod said. “She’s a player that only plays during the high school season like all the other players on the team, and for her to be able to do that is absolutely amazing.”

The Royals continue Little Ten Conference play Monday, when they host Serena. H-BR on Tuesday will visit the Huskers.

Lefties set the table for Barbs

Abby Taylor leads off for DeKalb, Erin Karasewski hits second and Morgan Newport is the Barbs’ No. 3 hitter.

Here’s the thing – all three are lefties, something DeKalb coach Jeff Davis never has had the advantage of before, with the first two hitters being able to slap the ball and get on base, and Newport providing power.

“The presence of that [left-handed] bunter speed-type thing changes the presence of softball,” Davis said.

Opponents will have to deal with the trio for three more years. Taylor and Newport are sophomores while Karasewski is a freshman.

“It’s been kind of fun, exciting,” Davis said of having three lefties at the top of his order. “We’re understanding how other teams feel when they have to face that.”

VIEWS: NIU game a good area tradition

DeKalb coach Jeff Davis and Sycamore coach Jill Carpenter both took over their respective programs prior to the 2006 season.

That same year, the two teams started playing each other once per season at Northern Illinois' Mary M. Bell Field, and continued the tradition on Friday night. Carpenter played softball at NIU, and Davis said she handled the prep work when the contest began, and that NIU has always been accommodating.

DeKalb and Sycamore students are lucky in the fact they're in the backyard of a Division I university. The football players get the yearly game at Huskie Stadium, the boys and girls basketball players get to experience the Convocation Center doubleheader (usually the highest-attended basketball game at the building each season).

The softball and baseball games aren't on the same level, but Davis said it's an experience his players enjoy.

"It's very nice. It's a great complex," Davis said Thursday. "Once again, sometimes we get caught up in all the hype that comes with it and you forget about playing the game."

• Steve Nitz is a sports writer for the Daily Chronicle. Write to him at snitz@shawmedia.com and follow him on Twitter @SNitz_DDC.

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