Caitlin Engelking helped lead the Irish softball team all the way to the IHSA Class 3A Super-Sectional during her senior year in 2017.
Three years later, she still can be seen in the outfield, making the same types of immaculate plays at Hoyne Field at Loyola University. The junior was set to have a major effect this season and continue to work toward earning a nursing degree.
This season, Engelking started all 21 games before the season was cut short because of the coronavirus. In those games she went on to hit .250 (13 for 52) with two doubles and five RBIs.
Although she struggled in the early parts of the season, going 9 for 41 (.220), things looked as though they were coming together for Engelking once the Ramblers went on a road trip to Florida in February. She went 4 for 10 (.400) in her last four games of the team’s 11-game road trip in the sunshine state before the season was terminated.
The team went 5-6 in those games. Instead of having a poor taste in her mouth, Engelking believed the trip to Florida was her favorite part of the season.
“Our trip to Florida and having a new coaching staff was really good to see how we adapted so fast,” Engelking said. “And just creating new friends throughout the season was the best part of my year.”
Since being in quarantine Engelking has been staying connected with the one’s who are closest to her.
“I’ve been running and working mostly,” Engelking said. “Since quarantine stuff is lifted, I’ve been just hanging out with friends and trying to enjoy things outside of softball.”
She’s been working as an Instacart driver, which is an app people use to have someone pick up their groceries, similar to apps such as DoorDash and Grubhub but with whole grocery orders instead of restaurant meals.
In time, Engelking hopes to get back with her team playing the game she loves. Being away from her teammates for such an extended period of time has made it difficult for the Bourbonnais native to find motivation.
“I miss the team culture and the motivation I get from seeing my teammates striving to get better,” Engelking said. “So, that’s what I miss is being pushed everyday because I find it hard to find motivation without that.”