Despite continuous spells of bitter cold, winter is nearing its end and spring is pulling closer.
The Lady Wolves will make their return to the diamond on Friday, Feb. 27 as they’ll participate in the N4C Conference Tournament. They’ll play double-headers each day through Sunday, Mar. 1.
“We’re excited to get back out there,” said coach Emily Marino. “It’ll be nice to get out there and have a chance to see what we’re made of.”
Regular-season play will begin on Thursday, Mar. 12, as they visit Kankakee Community College.
Coming into this season, the Lady Wolves will definitely be tested with just 12 players on the current roster.
“We lost a couple of players from the fall, so this’ll be a smaller team than what I’d like to have,” said Marino.
On top of the depleted roster size, the team is also very young.
“I only have two returners, so this’ll be a very young team,” said Marino. “It’ll be something that we have to face head-on.
From a positional standpoint, the Lady Wolves will be taking an ironman approach.
“On the mound, we have a sophomore and a freshman,” said Marino. “I think they complement each other well. One’s a righty and one’s a lefty. Jasmine Frenzel just needs a chance to get out there and get some game experience, then I really think that she can be a key piece for us.”
Brianna Atteo, of Plainfield South, will be the lone pitcher with collegiate experience. Last season, Atteo pitched 170 innings in her 32 appearances on the mound. Her overall record was 8-20, with 27 complete games, and she notched 51 strikeouts. Her high usage resulted in a 7.56 ERA and allowed 317 total hits.
Also on the mound, Jasmine Frenzel, of Crete-Monee, will be a new piece for the Lady Wolves. According to BeRecruited.com, Frenzel pitched 62 innings in her senior year of high school, which included five complete games.
Another key area of concentration for the Lady Wolves will be the team’s selections of catchers.
“Behind the plate I have three different options,” said Marino. “They are all very versatile and have a lot to offer us. Always a nice option to have.”
These options at catcher include, Samantha Deal, Taylor Bolyard and Courtney Sowa, each of whom also play additional positions. Also, each of these players are freshman.
This season will undoubtedly be one of challenges and obstacles for the Lady Wolves, but it appears as if the team is set and ready to rise to the challenge.
“With such a young team, we need to take time to mature and build confidence,” said Marino. “I think all of that will work itself out as the season proceeds on.”
The Lady Wolves will have their work cut-out for them come mid-March, when regular season play begins.
Last season, the Lady Wolves went 9-34, with a 4-15 record within conference play, which placed them at the bottom of the N4C. One of their conference foes, Rock Valley, is ranked first in the nation, thus heightening some of the Lady Wolves competitive difficulty.
It will definitely be a season of tests for the Lady Wolves. They’ll be competing with a young and small roster, in a conference that always offers its challenges.
However, if the Lady Wolves can mature quickly and avoid anything too costly, such as injuries, than there is no reason why they can’t find some success and production.