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LT's Ryckman thrives on making clutch plays as center fielder, leadoff hitter

WESTERN SPRINGS – Outfielders don’t see the ball as often as infielders in softball, but when they do it’s often a big play.

Lyons Township senior Becky Ryckman patrols center field for the Lions and has fallen in love with the position thanks to the opportunity of making a big catch.

“I love the outfield,” Ryckman said. “Not a lot of things come your way, but when they do you get the chance to make a big play. It’s kind of a big deal.”

Of course, trying to rob a home run comes with a potential risk. Ryckman has run into walls and run out of room while tracking eventual home run balls.

In a recent game at Glenbard West, Ryckman made a catch deep in center field and made sure not to repeat the same mistake.

“I thought I was on top of the fence, I was really nervous,” Ryckman said. “I’ve run into the fence before so not reaching it was a bit of a relief.”

Ryckman’s value to LT isn’t limited to the defensive side. The senior, the only starting senior on the Lions, is also the team’s leadoff hitter.

Her average has slipped in recent games, which has been a symbol of how up and down the team has been this season. The Lions enter Wednesday’s playoff opener against Hinsdale South with a 20-13 record after finishing 6-6 in the West Suburban Silver.

“If we can get everybody playing well at the right time that’s our key,” said LT coach Dawn Schabacker. “Our key to our whole season is getting everybody where we need to be.”

Part of Ryckman’s role on the team as captain is to help rally the Lions. Ryckman says she has adapted to the leadership role.

“I work well under pressure usually so it doesn’t really bother me too much,” she said. “Since the season is coming to an end we’re getting to know each other a little bit better and finding out our strengths and weaknesses and working towards coming together in that way.”

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