Despite a great start to the season, girls softball is staying grounded as they gear up for a big-time matchup against Palatine tonight.
“Palatine will challenge us more than the teams we’ve played so far,” said senior captain Emma Maxwell. “It’ll definitely be an opportunity to see what we need to work on, but it will also give us a chance to rise to the occasion and play the most competitive game we can play.”
A lack of confidence was a problem with the team last year, which lead to a 12-2 loss against Palatine last season. “We scored on Palatine first in the game last year, but we made a few errors and then lost all composure,” said coach Luella Gesky. This year, however, the Kits believe they will have a solution to this issue.
It is also important to note that the Kits opened the season against Palatine last year, but this year they will have a few games under their belt to put everything together and play to their full potential in this year’s match up.
The Kits will carry a potent offense into the matchup, led by Maxwell and junior Maddy Managlia. “We have the potential to hit for power from almost every slot in the lineup,” said Gesky. “We are also much faster then when we have been in a while.”
Maxwell, a returning All-Conference selection at first base, led the team in on-base percentage and was among the team leaders in RBIs. As team captain, her leadership will be just as important as her contributions on the field and at the plate.
Managlia, a three year varsity starter, will bat leadoff for the Kits. “Maddy is very aggressive on the basepath,” said Gesky. “We look for her to really disrupt the defenses of our opposition.”
The Kits picked up a very decisive 11-1 win in their season opener on March 19 against Northside Prep. Two days later, the Kits won both games of a doubleheader against Taft. The first game of the doubleheader was a thriller, as sophomore Darrice Wheeler hit a three run walk off home run with two outs in the bottom of the seventh to get a 8-7 win. The Kits took the second game 6-4 for a 3-0 start to the season.
“We came out really strong for our first few games,” said junior Gina Hopf. “We’ve been playing much more cohesively than we did last season.”