On Monday at UIC, OPRF softball pitcher Leah Bry extended her high school athletic career one more day by striking out 17 Whitney Young batters to lead the Huskies to an 8-1 victory in the St. Ignatius Sectional Championship.

Bry’s elusive pitches that yielded just two hits allowed the Huskies (21-17) to advance in the playoffs and take on Sandburg in the Sandburg Supersectional last night (Tuesday, after deadline).

OPRF broke open the game in the bottom of the fourth, scoring five runs, four of which came from singles by Ann Ryan (2 RBIs) and Marisa Belpedio (2 RBIs). Hannah Press also had an RBI double in the inning.

The two teams were originally scheduled to play on Saturday, but the game was postponed due to rain.

The Huskies, winners of 16 of their last 20 games, shut out Reavis 5-0 in the St. Ignatius Sectional semifinal last week. Bry, who’s bound for Butler in the fall, turned in another masterful complete game performance, allowing only one hit, while striking out 11 and walking none. The right-hander fanned six straight over the fifth and sixth innings.

Reavis ace Caitlyn Balandis allowed four runs and six hits while striking out eight in 6 2/3 innings of work.

The Huskies scored a run in the first when catcher Lauren Flannery walked, stole second and advanced to third on a groundball. Flannery scored on an RBI single from Press. OPRF struck again in the third when Press knocked in Flannery once more with a run-scoring single to go up 2-0.

With two runs seemingly more than enough support for Bry, the aggressive Huskies tacked on three more in the top of the seventh. Emma Forman and Flannery both were hit by pitches to put runners on base. After an RBI single from Maureen Puccetti scored Forman, Ryan closed the Huskies’ scoring with a two-RBI single.

“I thought we played very well,” OPRF head coach Mel Kolbusz said after the semifinal win. “Obviously, we will only go as far as Leah takes us, but we came up with some big two-out hits, which served us well.

“Even when we were on a losing streak this season, the good thing is our kids always believed we could turn it around,” he added.

The Huskies continued their hot streak despite the loss of junior shortstop Alana Weitzenfeld, who suffered a season-ending broken left ankle against York on May 18. Puccetti has played well at shortstop filling in for Weitzenfeld. Belpedio, Anna Munz, Erin Flanagan, Kristin Wirtz and others also triggered the Huskies’ resurgence.

Brad Spencer contributed to this report.

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Marty Farmer

The Illinois Press Association recently honored Marty with the 1st & 2nd Place Awards for Best Sports Feature for his article He's in an Oak Park state of mind: Former OPRF star Iman Shumpert returns...