Every softball season is indeed be a journey, but this was one trip Aurora Central Catholic coach Mark Pasqualini could have done without.
“We got rained out,” he said.
His team had traveled more than four hours down Interstate 57, reaching Marion, Illinois, on their trip of seven-plus hours to Clarksville, Tennessee. It was cut short when Pasqualini received a phone call.
The Chargers were scheduled to play Friday and Saturday in the Queen City Classic but the tournament got canceled.
“We just happened to catch weekend storms there, unfortunately,” Pasqualini said.
It happens every spring.
Coaches and athletic directors roll the dice trying to schedule games early in the season. If it’s at home, cold, rain or snow can be a factor. Heading south on spring break trips reduce some of the risks, but rain can still be an issue.
South Elgin coach Brad Reynard got lucky last week. The Storm played further east in Tennessee and were able to get in two games Thursday and two Friday in the Murfreesboro area before cutting it short to return home Saturday after the rains came.
Pasqualini and his team, meanwhile, just turned around and headed back.
At home, ACC athletic director Scott Fitzgerald started working the phones, hoping to find an opponent on the road back who could host the Chargers in a substitute game.
Fitzgerald had no luck, however.
This week, Oswego East coach Sarah Davies and the Wolves are also scheduled to play in the Murfreesboro area. Yorkville coach Jory Regnier and the Foxes went further south, arriving Sunday in Gulf Shores, Alabama.
“We did run through some storms,” Regnier said of her team’s trip.
The event features 50-plus teams in two divisions. Yorkville was scheduled to play Monday through Wednesday and Regnier had her fingers crossed the team would get the games in.
ACC (0-3) and Yorkville (3-0) have played in the last 10 days. Metea Valley (2-2) and Waubonsie Valley (0-4) lead area teams with the most games played in Illinois, but a dozen area teams have been limited to one or less.
Pitching in: ACC struggled in losing 8-5 to Oswego East, 5-2 to West Aurora and 5-2 to St. Laurence before logging those unfulfilled miles.
The Chargers have received strong pitching from sophomore Kate Gambro, who is coming off a strong freshman debut. Gambro (5-1) pitched three complete games last season, including one no-hitter.
She has pitched in all three games so far for the Chargers, working 8 2/3 innings with just one earned run, eight hits and one walk allowed to go with eight strikeouts.
She left the game against West Aurora with a 2-1 lead after four innings.
“I probably should have let her go longer in that one,” Pasqualini said. “That kid, she’s a bulldog. She’s going to be outstanding. I think Kate and lefty Charlotte Brummel, another sophomore, are going to give us a strong one-two punch.
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“Gambro has good control. She won’t blow you away with her speed, but she has great control and knows how to pitch.”
“They’re not getting as many fastballs as last year,” Pasqualini said. “But it’s gonna come.”
“We have a couple of options behind the plate,” Regnier said. “But the dynamic between Madi and Kayla has been very nice. That’s refreshing to see because that’s a very critical relationship that needs to work.”
Offensively, Kersting has started strong. She’s hitting .444 with two home runs.
“We’re still working on a lot of combinations,” Regnier said. “Trying to see what works best.”