INDIANS SOFTBALL POWERS OVER TRINITY 11-3
At the Rosemont Dome fields, the Marengo Indians (4-2 (Overall)) continued their early season hitting show with four players collecting three-hit games during an 11-3 win over the Trinity Blazers in a Mar. 28 non-conference game. Mikayla Wzientek, Grace Houghton, and Mc Kenna Skow each drove in two runs, as Marengo grabbed a lead it wouldn’t give away.
The Indians’ offense was led by Wzientek, Lauren Aubry (Double), Jenna Turner (Double), and Hannah Ritter (Triple) each finishing with three hits on the day. In the Marengo Round-Robin Tournament, the Indians were blanked by Jennie Eilers, of Sterling, who tossed a four-hit shout out, as the Golden Warriors won a 6-0 tilt
MARENGO WHITEWASHES BRADFORD 7-0 IN AL. TOURNEY
The Indians (1-4 Overall) traveled all the way to Gulf Shores, AL to pick up a win, beating Tennessee’s Bradford 7-0. As one of the teams entered in the Gulf Coast Classic Tournament II, Marengo represented Illinois well, with pitcher Ryan Wilwers allowing only two hits in five innings of work, while striking out 10 batters. He also knocked in one run, as did Justin Oine, Derek Peters, and Aiden Smith.
GIRLS SOCCER TEAM STAYS PERFECT WITH 2-0 WIN
The Marengo Varsity Girls soccer team maintained a perfect record (1-0-1), picking up a 2-0 victory over the Harvard Hornets in a Mar. 21 home-field contest. Goalie Marissa Knoblach notched her first career shutout, while Ruby Escorza and Jasmyn Montano scored. In the season opener, Marengo played the Genoa-Kingston Cogs to a 0-0 tie in a Mar. 19 home-field tilt.
The Marengo-Union times contacted varsity coaches Josh Maas (Baseball) and Dwain Nance (Softball) with questions about the season, the upcoming conference re-alignment in 2020, and practices methods. An edited transcript follows:
Who are the most improved teams in the Kishwaukee River Conference?
Maas: Right now, I feel we have a chance to be the team that surprises in the KRC. We have seven starters, and the entire pitching rotation, coming back from last year’s team. Obviously, Burlington Central and Richmond are the favorites…Harvard is also a team to watch.
Nance: KRC Softball will be very competitive this year. All schools in the KRC return a lot of talent. This should be a very competitive year. We are looking forward to defending our title, but we understand that it will not be easy. We will need to show up every night and play our best.
How will the IHSA re-alignment in 2020 affect local rivalries and the schedule?
Maas: (It) really shouldn’t affect us at all. We’ll still play the same teams in our conference, some of them dropping down to Class 2A with us, next year. I really don’t know what to expect about where we will go for postseason play next season.
Nance: We are the largest school in Class 2A for the next two years. This should not impact softball and scheduling that much. The Class 1A/2A post-season starts a week earlier than Class 3A/4A, so we do lose one week of the regular season.
What skills are the most important to work on during the pre-season?
Maas: When you’re in a gym, it’s pretty difficult to simulate game situations (but) we focused on getting as many swings as possible and more on fundamentals of specific positional play. I feel these are things we can benefit from inside that can give us the best chance to compete once we get outside.
Nance: During the preseason, we really focused on throwing, catching, running, and swinging the bats. We were able to do some smaller detail of techniques this year, but a lot of teaching is done in the first weeks of the season.
How do you approach teaching fundamentals for defense?
Maas: We try to make practices game-like…we have our basic drills that break down how we want our glove to work, and how the rest of our body should look through the fielding process. We try to simulate every play an infielder might see in a game…stressing different tasks other than fielding especially during catch play (tags, cuts and relays, quick transfers).
Nance: We teach the fundamentals by repetition, how to throw and catch properly. Throwing and catching is the first line of defense. If you can’t catch and throw, your defense will struggle.
Both coaches have goals for this year’s teams to get better with each passing day, and move to post-season play. Nance urged younger players, “Just get out with a family member, or friend, to throw and catch. Kids rarely do this anymore with the invention of all the technology. Kids do not go out and play games. Everything they do has to be structured. But if kids would just get out and throw and catch once a week, they would be better for it.”
SPORTS ALUM NOTES
Marengo sports alums, Megan Anthony and Leah Secor, have helped stake Joliet Junior College to a 15-7 record. Secor (6-2) pitched JCC to an 11-1 win, giving up only five hits, in the first game of a Mar. 27 “makeup” doubleheader against Moraine Valley. Anthony had one hit, and two runs batted in. Anthony got two hits in the second game, as JCC beat Moraine Valley 7-6. During spring break, JCC played Mar. 10 in the Myrtle Beach, SC at the Fast Pitch Classic. Secor pitched a 4-3 win over Potomac State College (WV) in the first game of a doubleheader. Anthony picked up three hits in the second game, an 8-1 win