Created:Wednesday, April 24, 2013 8:17 p.m.CDT
Updated:Thursday, April 25, 2013 8:18 a.m.CDT
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Inside softball: PR's Stevens is Athlete of the Week

Athlete of the Week

Kirsten Stevens

Prairie Ridge, sr.

Stevens improved to 7-2 on Wednesday after the Wolves’ 4-1 win over Huntley, when she struck out 16 and allowed only one hit – a sixth-inning home run. She has 100 strikeouts this spring, averaging 11.1 a game. She is batting .476 with two home runs – both of which came in a 10-0 win over Sycamore on Saturday, when she struck out nine.

Noteworthy

Toughening up: Marengo will play eight games in five days next week after hosting Richmond-Burton on Thursday and traveling to Loyola Academy on Friday. That’s a lot of innings to log, but after Marengo played through 15 innings to hand Barrington its first loss last week, Indians coach Dwain Nance says his team will be ready.

The Indians won the game on a bases-loaded walk after failing to score in extra innings despite twice loading the bases with nobody out.

“When you’re going through that, you have a lot of ups, a lot of downs and the girls were getting mentally fatigued along with physically,” Nance said. “But [winning the game] shows we can be mentally tough and hang with a very good team and beat a very good team. It just gives us more confidence.”

Heading into the busy stretch, the Indians have struggled to establish much offensive rhythm –something Nance expects to change as the temperatures begin to rise and as the Indians begin to play more regularly.

Moving on: Cary-Grove returned to the field Wednesday without ace Lindsay Efflandt, who missed Wednesday’s game against Woodstock North after being hit in the face by a ball hit by Prairie Ridge’s Kirsten Stevens.

Efflandt suffered broken bones in her face, and the Trojans don’t yet have a timetable for the Yale-bound pitcher’s return. Coach Tammy Olson said Efflandt was scheduled to see doctors Wednesday.

Olson was impressed with how C-G played on in Monday’s 3-1 win over Prairie Ridge after Efflandt had to leave the game in the top of the fourth inning.

“Everybody is very concerned about Lindsay and how she’s doing and what she has to overcome now,” Olson said Wednesday. “We have to make some changes, but there’s no difference in our goals. We haven’t changed anything. Everybody is expected to work toward excellence, and we’ll continue on with that mode of thought.”

This week’s top games

Prairie Ridge at CL Central

4:30 p.m. Thursday

The Wolves remain among the FVC Valley Division’s top teams after another impressive showing Wednesday. But the Tigers have been equally tough.

Huntley at Woodstock North

4:30 p.m. Thursday

The Red Raiders look to bounce back against Woodstock North in an FVC crossover a day after dropping a 4-1 decision to Prairie Ridge, when they fell to 1-3 in the FVC Valley.

Cary-Grove at CL South

10:30 a.m. Saturday

The Trojans have been the area’s top team all spring, combining a stout offense with strong pitching. They travel to face the Gators.

Jeff Arnold

jarnold@shawmedia.com