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Softball Insider: Marengo's Kissack Player of Week

Published: Tuesday, May 6, 2014 5:25 p.m. CDT

Athlete of the Week

Abby Kissack

Marengo, senior, P/1B

Kissack did it all for the Indians this past week. The senior hit a home run Friday and then hit two more homers during Saturday’s Marengo softball tournament third-place game, when Kissack went 4 for 5 with two home runs and drove in four runs. Earlier that day, Kissack threw a perfect game in a five-inning game against Fenton. As an encore Monday, Kissack hit another homer in a win against Harvard. In the past few games, Kissack was 10 for 16 with four home runs.

NoteworthyMarengo impressive: A trio of players has helped Marengo start off strong in Big Northern Conference East Division play.

Senior pitcher/first baseman Abby Kissack, junior outfielder/pitcher Veronica Ruelius and senior left fielder Gabbi Markison have combined to form a dangerous group of hitters, showing a mix of power and hitting for average. Behind their bats, the Indians sit atop the BNC East with a 5-0 record.

While Kissack put together an impressive last week, her teammates have been nearly as hot hitting. Ruelius has provided a good mix of hitting for power, which includes home runs, as well as Markison, who has hit two home runs in recent games. Although Marengo has won some blowout games this season, the Indians have displayed a propensity to pull out close wins – thanks in part to their ability to consistently hit home runs – which bodes well for them come playoff time.

McHenry coming together: The Warriors should be thrilled that they are in the middle of the Fox Valley Conference Valley Division schedule.

Ever since they have moved past the early nonconference slate of games, the Warriors have found a way to come together a string together important wins. McHenry is in the midst of a nine-game winning streak that has helped them move into sole possession of first place in the FVC Valley with a 5-1 record.

McHenry coach John DiFrancesca said his team’s turnaround starts with the battery of junior pitcher Kristin Koepke and junior catcher Carly Mattson. The duo has started mixing their pitch calls better and understand the importance of speed and location.

“I really love the way they’ve come together,” DiFrancesca said. “I’m not making excuses, but we started the season without the whole ship together. We just didn’t have everybody. It just took time for the baking to be done, if you will.”

The Warriors will be tested in the coming week, however, as four of their final six division games occur during that span.

This week’s top gamesJacobs at Prairie RidgeThursday, 4:30 p.m.Wolves freshman pitcher Hailey Baker will be tested by a Jacobs lineup that has the ability to consistently hit home runs. It’s an important game for Jacobs if it wants to stay in contention for the FVC Valley title.

Crystal Lake South at Cary-GroveThursday, 4:30 p.m.Although the Gators just beat C-G to finish third in the Woodstock softball tournament, expect another close game with each team featuring battle-tested pitchers.

Huntley at McHenryMonday, 4:30 p.m.Both teams have proven they can score, so the onus will be on the defense to limit mistakes, which could prove costly for Huntley and McHenry’s opportunistic offenses.

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