The Trinity softball team made school history last year when they finished runner-up at the Class 3A State Tournament. Now that the school’s athletics programs have been bumped up to Class 4A, head coach Bob Osborne wouldn’t mind making more history this season.
“We would love to be the first team in IHSA history to get downstate in two different classes,” he said.
With six returning starters back from a team that went 34-6 last season, it’s not farfetched to think the Blazers could make the record books yet again.
Erin Baldwin (first base), Gianna Codut (centerfielder), Monica Garcia (catcher), Abby Ramirez (shortstop), Nicole Evans (second base) and Chase Machain, who went 25-6 with a 2.04 ERA on the mound last year, return this season. All the returning starters batted over .300 last season, including Ramirez, who hit .542 with five homers and eight triples as a freshman. Evans also had a phenomenal high school debut, batting .473 with 15 homers and 47 RBIs.
“Our goals are very similar to last year: Win our conference, win 30 games, and make it to Peoria. This year will be a bit more difficult because we now have a target on our backs because of our success last year,” said Osborne, whose team finished first in the Girls Catholic Athletic (Red) Conference with a 7-1 record last year and lost to Metamora 4-2 in the Class 3A State Championship.
“We also want to be the best team in the area,” he added. “First it was Morton then Oak Park became the best and now we want to take that honor. That means we have to go out and take care of business in the area and beat the Mortons, the Elmwood Parks, and finally getting over the hump and defeating Oak Park.”
Osborne can also rely on returners Meg Bura (third base), Marykate Marino (pitcher) and Grace Cortina (first base, DH) for help again this season. As a backup to Machain last year, Marino went 6-0 with an ERA of 2.63. Cortina hit to a .509 clip in 55 at bats.
Newcomers expected to make an immediate impact include Michela Williams (outfielder), Gabby Smart (catcher, left field), Brittany Bura (pitcher), Taylor Lang (second base) and Shannon McDermott (outfielder).
Along with being tested in their own difficult conference — most likely against such teams as Loyola and Mother McAuley — the Blazers also have some formidable opponents on the schedule. The team takes on Bartlett later this month, Barrington in April and Lyons Township in May.
The Blazers are scheduled to begin the season at Ridgewood on March 23 (4:30 p.m.). Their home opener at Triton College is set for March 24 against Schaumburg (1 p.m.).