MAHOMET – Mark Jones had reason to be worried after last spring's high school softball season ended.
His 19-win Mahomet-Seymour squad was graduating eight seniors. Just one returning player, Sarah Frerichs, batted above .250 in 2007.
FISHER – Home runs provide a dramatic moment in softball. No-hitters emphasize how dominant one individual was during the course of the game.
For high schoolers, homers and no-hitters aren't everyday occurrences.
DANVILLE – Every morning during the week when most area softball players are sound asleep, Schlarman coach Randy Skaggs is schooling his players on the finer points of the game in a class he calls Softball 101.
"We meet in the mornings at 7:05 in the library," Skaggs said. "What we cover during that time is the rule book, and then we also go over signs that we're going to use during the season. We cover mental situations that we might encounter and then also, probably almost every day, we take a quiz on the information we've learned."
The calendar says spring started almost two weeks ago. But folks still are walking around wearing parkas, mittens, knit hats and scarves.
Just take a look inside the Mahomet-Seymour softball dugout.
RANTOUL – St. Joseph-Ogden managed five hits and did not score until extra innings in a 2-1 eight-inning loss to Bradley-Bourbonnais in the championship game of the Rantoul softball tournament Saturday.
The Spartans allowed two runs in the top of the eighth on a triple. SJ-O committed two errors.
FLANAGAN – Carley Kemmer threw a shutout in Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley's 3-2 11-inning prep softball victory against Flanagan on Monday.
After surrendering two runs in the second inning, the Falcons pitcher didn't give up a run in the final nine innings, striking out 14, for her sixth win of the season.
FARMER CITY – When the Blue Ridge softball team takes the diamond, Ashley Elliott takes command.
The junior controls her pitches and she also controls the pace of the game. Her quick delivery style started – out of necessity – in youth leagues.
HOOPESTON – Erin Henk outhit Oakwood all by herself.
The Hoopeston Area starter threw a one-hitter and also had two hits and scored three runs to lift the Cornjerkers to an 11-0 prep softball victory against the Comets on Monday.
MONTICELLO– Jordan Clark struck out 12 and gave up no earned runs as Monticello defeated Urbana 5-2.
Clark pitched a complete-game in the victory for the Sages.