By Christopher Johnson

Pec AD modifies early season approach

It is the duty of the Athletic Director to assure that everything is in place to allow for a smooth transition from student to student-athlete as the spring sports season picks up in intensity.

That requires making sure schedules are set and ready to be followed as a road map into late May games and the final post-seasons of the school year.

At Pecatonica High School Athletic Director Kevin Kunkel has been piloting operations into multi-decades success and outdoor sports involvements.

Locking down dates and starting times is just one part of the AD’s duties. They also have to make sure the games can be played safely.

Many factors influence the effective completion of a season’s schedule. Most importantly, at least through the early days of spring play, weather conditions are maternally controlled.

This past week, just as the 2022 spring sports season entered its first full week of play, the Pecatonica diamond stars had to put their anticipations on hold.

Kunkel sent out a media blast and alerted students, parents and administrators that weather conditions in the form of wind and rain forced a delay of the expected cross-conference showdown with Amboy.

At this time the match has been registered as a cancellation with, through the message shared by the Athletic Department, a make-up date unscheduled at this point.

The Tuesday, March 22 match was to be a softball-baseball double header as the Lady Indians looked to pursue its first win of the new season.

Pecatonica fell to 0-2 ahead of the start of the second week of action. Losses to Byron, 19-0 and Polo, 14-1, guided the Lady Indians to the slow opening.

The week’s early games featured more non-conference play for Pecatonica as they set themselves up for a home-and-away double-feature with the Forreston Lady Cardinals.

Game one was scheduled for Tuesday, March 29 in Pecatonica with the follow-up match on Thursday, March 31, to be played in western Ogle County.

On Monday, April 4, the Lady Indians face down the co-op of Warren and Stockton as the Lady Warhawks look to pick up a win ahead of their own Northwest Upstate Illini West season opener.

Only one more warm-up ahead of the NUIC-East remains waiting for Pecatonica and they will be home to welcome in a longtime rival.

South Beloit, a former NUIC resident, now a Northeastern Athletic Conference hopeful, sends their best to the ball with first pitch slated for 4:30 p.m.

When the conference schedule officially opens for the Pecatonica Lady Indians they will run into an immediate threat to their ending position hopes.

The Wednesday, April 8 meeting with Lena-Winslow Lady Panthers is expected to get underway just after 4:30pm. Historically, the two teams often share an early portion of the spring schedules together.

A night later, Pecatonica will have to take what it learned in the NUIC-East opener and put it into immediate resolution as they face Lena-Winslow in western Stephenson County.

Again, first pitch has been scheduled for 4:30pm and weather permitting, action will begin with varsity play followed by junior-varsity interactions.

If a delay is necessitated, Kunkel will notify athletes, families and others about the decision, ahead of the pre-game first pitch warm-ups.

Softball season starts for Winnebago athletes

Spring is upon the student athletes at Winnebago High School as team after team took the field this past week, while others waited for better conditions.

Weather’s influence on spring activities often results in delays or postponements because of various factors.

In track and field, temperature is a major controlling factor. As the temperature drops and approaches a level of 40 degrees or lower, events halt.

On the baseball diamonds, soccer courts and softball fields across the area, temperature is a slight factor, but rain and the potential of even worse weather controls situations on a greater level.

Students on the diamonds, which typically maintain position until required movement is in order, are a little more protected. Heavier rains will cause many delays and potential cancellations during the first few weeks of the new season.

Game one of the spring sports season on Saturday, March 19 featured a mixed weather situation for the Winnebago Lady Indians. Cold, rain and snow in the area impacted activity.

This Saturday Winnebago will get into the season schedule with a greater fervor. NIC-10 representative Rockford Boylan visits the Lady Indians with first pitch scheduled for 11am.

The conference season for Winnebago begins early next week as Stillman Valley plays host to Winnebago for its first Big Northern action of the new season.

Following the Monday, April 4 match at Stillman Valley, the Lady Indians stay on the road and in the Big Northern with a Tuesday, April 5 meeting in Rock Falls.

Winnebago will not be home for its first conference match of the 2022 spring sports season until next Friday, when the Oregon Lady Hawks fly north for the 4:30 match.

Cross-county rival Pecatonica will play host to the Big Northern conference-hopeful next Saturday with the game scheduled to commence at 4:30pm.

On the baseball diamonds the Lady Indians diamond counterparts picked up their first win of the new year and it was in a match that featured interstate action.

Blue Springs, Missouri sent its team to battle in early season non-conference capacity and left with a feeling of inadequacy after Winnebago drilled down Plaza Heights Christian Academy 16-0.

The 2022 spring premiere ended early for Christian Academy as Winnebago ran through the line up multiple times, taking advantage of every miscue and opportunity offered to them.

The match ended after four innings as the mercy rule went into effect. The measure helps facilitate game play by requiring certain parameters are achieved.

If a team goes up by ten runs or more, before the losing teams bats through its line up one last time, ahead of the fifth inning, the match is called.

At any points after that, if a winning team achieves a ten-run margin of advantage, they will again put into action mercy rule provisions.

If a winning teams finds itself up by 15 runs or more, before the third inning completes itself. The match will be ended in the following inning, if the margin remains in place.

The Indians boys baseball team continued non-conference play through the weekend and was scheduled to face Rockford Lutheran on Monday, March 28, for the Big Northern opener.

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