Lake Zurich Seniors Snow, Davis Bow out in Style

Article excerpt

Byline: Mike McGraw Daily Herald Sports Writer

Lake Zurich seniors Shannah Snow and Nickie Davis have no misconceptions about their activities this spring.

They see playing softball with life-long friends one final time before heading off to college as nothing to complain about.

"When we all leave, I know I'll remember this team more than anything," Snow said.

"It's our life during the summer," Davis agreed. "During the school year, it's what we look forward to.

"All of us are really good friends. We have a good time together. I love to play. It's fun."

"We're together," Snow added. "There is, seriously, no fighting on the team. No one hates anybody else - which is very rare."

Snow and Davis are the top hitter and pitcher, respectively, for Lake Zurich's latest standout softball squad.

The Bears (18-3, 13-2) are vying for their fifth straight Fox Valley Conference title.

In her first season as the No. 1 pitcher, Davis has a 12-1 record and 1.22 ERA, with 93 strikeouts and 27 walks in 97 innings.

Snow, a third baseman, is batting .450 with an on-base percentage of .600.

That's remarkable, considering she is batting left-handed this year for the first time in her life.

It's somewhat common in softball to switch an exceptionally fast player to the left side of the plate, therefore putting her a few steps closer to first base.

Of course, most rookie switch-hitters don't reap the benefits this quickly.

"All we want to do is get her on base," explained LZ coach Joe Kedzior. "It doesn't look pretty, a lot of times it's errors.

"That's the object of a slap hitter, to put pressure on the defense. You juggle the ball once and she's safe. It's got to be a pickup and throw."

Snow said Kedzior first suggested she try hitting left-handed this winter.

"It scared me a first," Snow said. "When I thought about it and it came down to it, I thought it would be a good idea."

She took her first lefty cuts against the pitching machine in January.

"It was horrible," Snow said. "I hit the ball maybe once or twice."

Kedzior suggested she spend the preseason trying to do everything left-handed around the house or at school.

When the first game arrived against Rolling Meadows, Snow popped out twice before collecting her first left-handed hit in the third at-bat.

"I got down the swing," Snow said. "But the actual bunting and slap-hitting was kind of goofy. It still is.

"It has added a lot of fun to the game. In softball, there's not that many different things you can do. This is different and fun."

Davis had her own challenge in the off-season.

Last year, she was Lake Zurich's No. 2 starter behind Christina Znorski. This spring, Davis was in line to become the ace.

"I took lessons for the first time over the winter with Bert Hernandez at Grand Slam," Davis said.

"I had a little 'crow hop,' which is basically when you jump off the mound, take too big of a step and let your foot leave (the rubber) early. …