Katlyn Allen: Knowing that you worked hard for your last season it’s kind of hard not being able to play it.
Katlyn Allen graduated from Naperville Central this spring and will be heading to the Air Force, with her future as a softball player a question mark. With her senior season with the Redhawks cancelled, Allen was unsure if she’d played her last game of softball.
Why Return to the Field
Bill Kugelberg: The decision was not as much about softball versus, there are a lot of seniors and juniors on this team. And this team is really built around relationships and culture. That’s the most important thing for us. So my goal is to get them together under the rules of what the government allows, what their parents allow, what they’re comfortable with – there were really three steps.
At first, the 18 and under, college exposure Naperville Diamonds team met for voluntary workouts. But Coach Bill Kugelberg soon found a full team showing up anyways.
Moira Danko: Being able to step out onto the field with my team was just such a great feeling. And I’m sad I didn’t get to play my final high school season with that group of girls one last time, that was really disappointing, but these girls are awesome and I love being around them and at practice.
Softball is Conducive for Social Distancing
Moira Danko is also a 2020 graduate, but from Metea Valley. The decision to return to the field was taken seriously, but aided by the nature of the sport.
Moira Danko: My parents were really strict about it and making sure I’d socially distance with my teammates and the good thing about softball is – it isn’t a very close sport either.
Bill Kugelberg: Safety is always our top concern, we don’t want anyone getting sick. Because that’s just going to have a longer impact on them – it’ll keep them out of tournaments, it’ll keep them out of doing things they want to do this summer.
Measures Taken by the Naperville Diamonds
The players have a bottle of hand sanitizer in the dugout, play catch with designated balls and do their best to social distance. The biggest problem now is finding teams to play. The team recently participated in a tournament in Ohio, but with Phase 4 arriving, more softball appears on the horizon for the Diamonds.
Reporting for Naperville News 17, I’m Kevin Jackman