Abby Worlow welcomed herself back to the Pekin softball team in style.

After taking her sophomore season off from the sport, Worlow, a junior, opened the season on March 19 against Richwoods with a 4-for-4 performance that included five RBIs and a grand slam.

That was just the beginning of what has been a stellar year for the Pekin infielder who has been getting time at catcher in the back-half of the season.

Worlow leads the Pekin softball team into today’s IHSA Class 4A Pekin Regional semifinal game against sectional No. 3-seed Bradley-Bourbonnais.

The only Dragon who has crossed the plate more times than Worlow is Abby Potts (19) — who hits directly in front of Worlow in the order.

Worlow leads the team with six home runs, 16 RBIs and is second on the team with 17 runs scored.

On May 10, head coach Gigi MacIntosh moved Worlow, who plays third base over the summer, from the infield to behind the plate.

“We’ve loved her at catcher since her freshman year,” MacIntosh said. “I don’t think it’s her favorite position, but it’s a tough position in fast-pitch softball. She’s moved back there with a good attitude and has helped us.”

Worlow obliged, saying she has more control over the game from behind the dish and has experience at the position.

One of her tasks is to control the speedy runners in the Mid-Illini Conference.

“It’s such an important position in this conference,” MacIntosh said.

Worlow admits controlling base runners is a challenge, especially in such a competitive conference.

“I just really want to get them out,” Worlow said. “Usually in the Mid-Illini they’re fast.”

Despite a one-year hiatus from the sport, she was still a seasoned catcher. She wasn’t nervous when MacIntosh penciled her into the lineup card at the No. 2 defensive position on May 10.

“I was used to it because I did the same thing freshman year. It was different because you get a different view of the game,” Worlow said. “I was more scared my freshman year when I did it. Now I’m used to it.”

On offense, her power at the plate comes naturally. Since May 5 against East Peoria, Worlow has connected on five long-balls and drove in eight runs for the Dragons.

Patience has been key for the offensive explosion.

“I’m watching the ball all the way in and that’s helping a lot,” Worlow said.

MacIntosh has seen an increased maturity at the plate from the catcher. Worlow is waiting for a pitch she can handle, and being more selective with her swings.

Keeping the fundamentals in check remains key, but MacIntosh sees raw ability from her junior.

“She definitely has Division I power, it’s just being able to refine some of the other things,” MacIntosh said.

Pekin finished the season with a 14-18 record.