Softball teams from the Kishwaukee River Conference were scheduled to play in a tournament at Lippold Park March 15 to 17, but Old Man Winter foiled the plan by snowing out the tourney, which would have been the Thunder’s season-opener.
Woodstock North High School girls softball head coach Peter Riis said his team is ready and anxious to play. A doubleheader March 18 was canceled, too.
Indoor softball conditioning and practice began in late February. The season’s preparation included a strength-and-conditioning program.
“More girls were in the weight room this year than ever before,” Riis said. “We are expecting a lot of the team.”
“Last year, we turned a corner in our program with 10 wins and narrowing the gap in our losses against some good teams,” Riis said. “This year, again, we have a good mix of players at all levels.”
The Thunder hope to build on last year’s successes, and they have high expectations as they play in the KRC for the first time.
The Thunder lost only three starters last year and are returning a number of key players. Top returning players this year include seniors Maddie Busch, Paiton Lawrence and Lulu Nicks; juniors Taeya Beard and Amaya Saldana; and sophomores Savannah Adcock, Ellie Thurow and Chloe Vermett. Key newcomers include: junior Victoria Galicia; sophomores Maddie Rank, Tess Schultz and Mackenzie Spung; and freshman Abby Hartmann.
For the Thunder, the spring season is more than just softball. Team members are selling Strikeout Cancer T-shirts with the profits going to the Rick Family Education Fund in honor of the late Steve Rick, a WNHS assistant principal who lost his fight with cancer last month.
The team also is looking forward to its Strikeout Cancer game Tuesday, May 9, at home. The game is a community fundraiser with Woodstock High School. The funds raised will go to the National Foundation for Cancer Research. The link to donate is crowdrise.com/strikeout-for-cancer-woodstock-north-vs-woodstock-hs-softball-game-may-9-2017/fundraiser/peterriis.
If the weather cooperates, the Thunder will play Rockford East High School at home Tuesday, March 21; Lakes High School Wednesday, March 22; and Morris and Serena high schools at Lenz Field in Jacksonville Saturday, March 25. Results from the March 21 game were not available at press time.