Neuqua Valley Softball Field recovers after getting hit by tornado in July

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With the softball season right around the corner, the Neuqua Valley Wildcats had to face many curve balls this offseason, but a tornado was the most surprising development. Not only did the Cats lose a strong senior class that led the way to the program’s second sectional final appearance, they also spent a large chunk of time unsure if they would even be able play on their varsity field this spring. This Feature Story is sponsored by Edward-Elmhurst Health.

“One of my best friends’ house was directly hit by the tornado so we were driving by her house and then we were wondering where it started. So we drove by Neuqua and I looked and was like, that’s our field and it was just down. So that was crazy for me,” said Wildcat third baseman, Izzy Ernest. 

Neuqua Valley vs Uncertainty

On July 23rd, 2022, an EF-0 tornado touched down in south Naperville. One of the most prominent areas to suffer noticeable tornado damage were the Neuqua Valley softball fields. Parts of the area were pulled up, such as the right field line, the outfield fence, and there was significant damage to both the varsity and JV field dugouts. So much uncertainty was at stake, not even a minute when the damage was done. 

“You come out here and the first day I actually saw it and it took me by awe. I couldn’t believe that this actually happened here where the tornado went through. Just seeing the field in that type of condition it tugs on some cords for you but we’re happy with what’s going on now,” said Neuqua Valley softball coach, Dani Asquini. 

Rollercoaster for the seniors

The Neuqua softball class of 2023 has already missed their freshman seasons due to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, potentially missing the chance to play on their home field as seniors because of a tornado would have been another frustrating development.

“Playing here the past two years has been so much fun and I would hate to go to another field and not have that same experience as before. So being able to have this field repaired in such short notice was really great by the school,” said pitcher, Trista Werner. 

Wildcats are hopeful for competition on the varsity field

Thanks to the time and effort of the local construction workers, the field is about set for the 2023 season. A few more pieces need to be added along with getting clearance from the construction company, but the cats are eager to return home in the next few weeks.  

For now, the blue and gold will play on the JV field, but it won’t be long until the Wildcats can put the distractions behind them and step between their home field lines for another strong season on the diamond.