The Times Softball Notebook: Showdown for the T-CC title begins, really glad you’re around, regional openers

More from softball fields across The Times area

Emma Mino makes contact against the WFC Warriors in April at Seneca High School.

In what is sure to be a couple of knock-down, drag-out games on Monday and Tuesday, Seneca and St. Bede will be battling it out for a chance to clinch the regular-season championship of the Tri-County Conference.

Looking to grab the upper hand for league title

The Fighting Irish will enter Monday’s contest in Seneca boasting on overall record of 25-1, a league mark of 13-0 and riding a 14-game winning streak.

The Bruins, who will host Tuesday’s game, are 18-2 all told, 14-0 in league games and have won five consecutive outings.

The two sides have combined to score an average of nine runs per game, while allowing just two, so the question will be, will the matchups produce high-scoring affairs or will the solid pitching on both sides win out?

Depending on how the games play out, they could decide the league title. Seneca still has to complete a suspended game from April 16 on Thursday with host Woodland/Flanagan-Cornell. That contest was halted by weather and will resume with the Irish leading 2-0 in the bottom of the second.

Kendall Lowery reaches for a high throw as Ottawa’s Lily Kupec gets into second base safely on a stolen base in the 2nd inning Tuesday at Streator.

For many reasons, I’m glad you’re around

I reached out to a number of coaches and asked them what player, if she hadn’t played for them this season, would they felt would have been a big absence?


“For us it would have to be Kendall Lowery,” Ottawa coach Adam Lewis said. “Not only is she leading us in most offensive categories, but she also keeps everyone in earshot entertained. It would be hard to find a bigger personality than Kendall. She keeps everyone laughing but also genuinely cares about each of her teammates. I may author a “Kendall Loweryisms” book after she graduates.”


“With two of our seniors, Emma Highland (third base) and Cloee Johnston (first base), being out for the season with injury this is a pretty simple answer for me, freshman Emma Palaschack,” Woodland/Flanagan-Cornell coach Mike Hoekstra said. “She has almost seamlessly taken over at third base and is leading the team with a .540 batting average. If I could add another, freshman Kaylee Henert has now taken over at first base while seeing time playing outfield, second base and catching earlier in the season.”


“If I had to say a player whose absence would be felt most by the team I would have to go with Dani Peshia,” Newark coach Jon Wood said. “Having Dani behind the plate is literally like having a coach on the field. She does it all from calling pitches, to setting the defense, to making sure the outfield is making the right adjustments. She is a true leader at practice and on game day. She is a tenacious competitor who leads by example. We are fortunate to have Dani and several other outstanding young women in our school and on our softball team.”


“Senior Haley McCoy is a three-year varsity starter and committed to Waubonsee College for softball next year,” Somonauk-Leland coach Hannah Bazan said. “For the past two seasons, she has been our center fielder, but this season we lost both of our catchers and had no one to fill the position. Haley stepped in as catcher and has done a phenomenal job behind the plate. She has the arm of an outfielder to throw out baserunners at any base, and the smarts to know when to do it. Offensively, she currently leads the team with a .390 batting average, hits and triples. Her fierceness and confidence have made such an impact on the field, and we would’ve really struggled without her presence on the team.”

Newark third baseman Gwen Friestad and catcher Danica Peshia work to track down a throw to the plate as Seneca’s Tessa Krull heads to the dugout after scoring in the first inning Monday at Newark.

Opening round regional matchups for Times-area Class 1A and 2A teams

With the Illinois High School Association releasing its regional pairings for Class 1A and 2A on Friday, those area teams found out their postseason paths. Class 3A and 4A are scheduled to be revealed this Wednesday.

All five Class 1A Times-area squads are within the Woodland Sectional, with WFC starting in the Walther Regional playing the winner of Chicago Hope and the hosts on Tuesday, May 14.

Newark hosts its own regional and opens with Yorkville Christian on May 14. At the Indian Creek Regional, Earlville plays Harvest Christian Academy on May 13 and with a win would play Serena the following day. Marquette is scheduled to play the host Timberwolves on May 15.

In Class 2A, Seneca hosts its own regional and opens with Iroquois West on May 14, while Fieldcrest plays Hall on May 13 in the St. Bede Regional. At the Auroa Central Catholic Regional, Somonauk-Leland takes on Wilmette Regina Dominican on May 13, while Sandwich plays Richmond-Burton on May 14.

In Class 3A, Ottawa will be part of the Lemont Sectional, while Streator will compete in the Washington Sectional.

Serena shortstop Jenna Setchell sets to scoop up a ground ball against Newark on Wednesday, May 1, 2024 at Serena High School.
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