Winding down: OPRF's Serafina Andreoli winds up during Saturday's regional title game against Mother McAuley.Photos by J. GEIL/Staff Photographer

This season may have marked the first time one of Mel Kolbusz’s teams ended things with a losing record, but the longtime OPRF softball coach is proud of the way his Huskies finished.

OPRF avenged a loss to cross-town rival Fenwick earlier in the season by shutting out the Friars 2-0 in the semifinal of the Oak Park Regional on Friday. The win was the Huskies’ fourth-straight. On Saturday, in the regional championship, OPRF battled Mother McAuley down to the wire, falling 1-0 to the Mighty Macs and ending the season with an 11-22 overall record, the first sub. 500 record in Kolbusz’s 19 years as head coach.

“We struggled all season, but to have the girls put a four-game win-streak together and then fight hard against a very good Mother McAuley team, eases a lot of the frustration,” said Kolbusz. “Not only that, but this has been a great group of kids to coach. They listened, they worked hard and they all got along.”

Serafina Andreoli ended her junior year on a high note. OPRF’s main pitcher yielded seven hits in a complete game effort against Fenwick, while striking out 10. She also pitched a gem against Mother McAuley, tossing a three-hitter with one unearned run. She fanned five in that loss.

“I’ve seen nothing but improvement from Serafina throughout the season,” said Kolbusz of his ace, who gave up just one unearned run in her last 17 innings on the mound. “Her rise and curve balls were really good in the last few games. She’s going to be a big component to our team next year.”

Erin Flanagan’s soft liner to left center in the seventh inning scored the game-winner against Fenwick. Maureen Puccetti’s RBI double provided the insurance run. But it was Andreoli’s two strikeouts and a forced flyball in the bottom of the final inning that kept the Friars at bay.

The Huskies yielded just one unearned run to the Mighty Macs on Saturday, which came in the opening inning. Mary Clair Conway drove in a runner with a groundout. But OPRF managed just four hits in the game and left four runners on base.

“It was extremely encouraging the way the season ended for us,” said Kolbusz. “They never gave up.”

The Huskies lose 10 seniors to graduation, including six starters. Along with Andreoli, catcher Annie Ford will also be back next year. Ford started the year 0-for-12 but turned things around to finish with a batting average above .300.

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Brad Spencer

Brad Spencer has been covering sports in and around Oak Park for more than a decade, which means the young athletes he once covered in high school are now out of college and at home living with their parents...

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