Oak Park and River Forest High School softball coach Mel Kolbusz kept emphasizing to his team that it’s hard for one opponent to beat the other three times in a season.
The Huskies lost to West Suburban Silver rival Lyons Township High School twice in the regular season. But when it mattered most – in the IHSA Class 4A regional title game June 2 in Western Springs — OPRF rose to the occasion and knocked off the Lions 6-3.
“We just wanted it a little bit more today,” said Kolbusz. “Even after the two losses, I told the kids we have the better team, and we had to prove it on the field.”
Sydney Ross belted a three-run homer in the top of the third inning to give the Huskies (16-6) a 3-0 lead. Then in the sixth, aided by a pair of LTHS errors, OPRF used small ball to tack on three more runs and take a 6-1 advantage.
“We bunted and put a little pressure on [the LTHS defense]. It seemed to work,” Kolbusz said.
The Lions rallied in the bottom of the seventh for two runs and brought the tying run to the plate. But OPRF’s Cassie Metzger struck out Tess Meyer to end the game. The senior ace allowed three runs on six hits with 12 strikeouts.
“Cassie was outstanding,” said Kolbusz. “She’s not the greatest pitcher I’ve ever had, but she’s a bulldog. Cassie always fights and battles.”
The win advanced the Huskies into the IHSA sectional semifinal on June 8, after Wednesday Journal’s press time, at Marist. The Redhawks entered that game ranked as the state’s top team.
Trinity takes IHSA regional title
Trinity High School defeated Resurrection 6-2 on June 5 at Triton College to win the IHSA Class 3A regional title. It’s the 14th regional title for the program, with 13 coming under coach Bob Osborne.
Trinity (14-12) broke a 2-2 tie in the fifth on a RBI single by Kendall Hynes. In the top of the sixth, the Bandits loaded the bases with no out.
But Blazers’ pitcher Danielle Hoffman escaped the jam with no runs allowed, getting a pop up and a soft liner to shortstop Meagan Murphy for the first two outs. Then Murphy made what Osborne called the “play of the game” when she leaped in the air to snag a hard liner that likely would have given Resurrection the lead.
“Meagan leaped at her highest point to snag that ball,” said Osborne. “That was the game. It’s one of the best plays I’ve ever seen.”
Trinity catcher Linea Drever subsequently put the game away by tripling in two runs, then coming home on a throwing error.
The Blazers faced Montini — the top-seeded team in Class 3A Sectional 3 – on June 8 after Wednesday Journal’s press time. Trinity split a pair of games with the Broncos during the regular season.
Friars exit in regional final round
A 5-0 loss at Montini on June 3 in the Class 3A regional final round ended a challenging season for the Fenwick High School softball team, which finished with a 3-19 record.
A young squad, Fenwick started four sophomores and the Friars’ offense struggled all season.
“Our younger girls seemed intimidated by varsity pitching,” said Fenwick coach Sarah James. “We actually grew a lot, but it didn’t show in the scores and record.”