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Defending league champs York face uphill climb

Dukes hope to recover from getting swept in opening WSS series

DOWNERS GROVE — York baseball focuses on its pitching and defense so that’s why the opening conference series against Downers Grove North came as such a shock.

The Dukes combined for 18 hits and 14 runs in the doubleheader on Saturday in Elmhurst, but lost both games. Ace pitcher River Pitlock pitched the finale in Downers Grove on Monday, but the Dukes lost that game 5-2.

“We pride ourselves on pitching and defense and Saturday we couldn’t do either,” said York coach Dave Kalal. “We had 22 hits on the day and 14 runs. If you tell me we’re going to have 22 hits and 14 runs I’m going to say we’re going to win a doubleheader and it didn’t happen for us.”

Pitlock went 3-for-4 and Anthony Santos and Josh Paparone each had two hits in the 12-7 loss in Game 1. Paparone and Kevin Toomey had multi-hit outings in the second game, which the Trojans won 14-7.

York added nine more hits in Monday’s loss, but Trojan pitcher Lucas Fisher limited the damage and North put up four runs off Pitlock in the fifth inning to pull ahead.

The defending West Suburban Silver champion Dukes will have to regroup knowing retaining the league title just became an uphill climb.

“We’re just coming up a little bit short,” Kalal said. “I’m not concerned with it right now just because it’s so early in the season.

“We just gotta work some things out and guys gotta settle into their positions a little bit. We’ve been running some guys in and out just trying to get a feel for who can do what in what situation.”

Following a non-conference game with Glenbard East on Friday, the Dukes will play a three-game conference series against Proviso West. The Panthers got swept by Hinsdale Central to open their conference slate.

“It’s tough to swallow getting swept the first series of the conference season, but there’s a long way to go and the conference is tough and everybody is going to beat up on one another,” Kalal said.

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