Photo by Jeff Vorva
Marist’s softball team finished fourth in the state and, according to some players, had a lot of fun.
EAST PEORIA -- It was a young team that many would say had a great season.
It’s just not the ending that the Marist softball team was looking for.
After losing in the regional title game a year ago, the RedHawks returned to the state finals looking for their second Illinois High School Association state championship in three seasons. Instead they settled for fourth after losing a late lead and falling to Barrington 7-6 in nine innings on Saturday in the Class 4A third-place game at EastSide Centre in East Peoria.
Still it was the third state trophy in six seasons for Marist (25-9), which also won the Class 4A state title in 2012. The Fillies (37-4) tied a school record for most wins in a season and earned their eighth trophy. They have four third place finishes to go along with a pair of seconds and fourths.
"Getting back here was huge for us," Marist coach Colleen Biebel said. "That [fourth place] wasn't how we wanted to finish, but we have a team full of mostly sophomores. This is going to leave a bitter taste in their mouths and we'll be back."
Someone who is expected back is pitcher Angela Zedak (19-7). The sophomore right-hander pitched a pair of complete games at state and had seven strikeouts and three walks in the third place game. But Barrington banged 15 hits off her in the game.
"Barrington can hit, they hit very well," Zedak said. "It's kind of disappointing that we took fourth, but I know we're only losing two people, so there's a lot of returners. Just to get down here is an awesome feeling."
The RedHawks led 6-4 with two out and two on in the top of the seventh, but Rachel Krysko tied the game with a 2-run single to center. Carly Kordich drove home the winning run with a two-out slap single past third in the ninth. Abbey Jacobsen led the Fillies, who had five players with two or more hits. Marist, which had 12 hits, never got a runner past first in the final three innings.
Things started great for Marist with four runs in the first. Zedak and Lexi Voss had RBI hits. Jessica Balich walked to force in a run and Abby Rosynek rapped a sacrifice fly. After Barrington closed within 4-3, Balich added a sacrifice fly in the third. Leading 5-4, Zedak zipped an RBI double to the fence in left-center to score Alexis Rogers but Madison Garofalo was thrown out at home on the play to end the inning.
"We just wanted to go out, play softball and have fun," said Rogers, who will attend the University of Tennessee-Martin next year. "That's what this team did, have fun.
"We have 14 returners and I know they'll back here. They have heart and fight. For me, it was really nice to get back here [to state]. I didn't know if we would, but it was great to know that your last game would be here."
The RedHawks’ two seniors were Rogers and Madison Franks.
"Alexis Rogers was a four-year starter for us and she was the team rock," Biebel said. "And Madison Franks was a nice player and the team mom. She cleaned up after everyone."
In the semifinals, on Friday, June 9, Marist lost 2-0 to Lincoln-Way East. The game was a rematch of the 2015 state title game, which Marist won 1-0. Garofalo and Voss had singles in the top of the first inning, but those were the only two hits off East ace Alex Storako,(eight strikeouts) who retired 13 in a row and 19 of the last 20.
East (30-4) went onto lose 1-0 to defending champion Oak Park/River Forest (37-1) in the title game.