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Softball playoff previews: Lions set to face familiar foe in regional opener

Lyons Township

Class: 4A

Sectional seed: No. 7

Regional: Lyons Township

Regional opener: 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 22 vs. Hinsdale South

What to watch: The Lions have been up and down since a 4-0 start. LT has a losing record in the West Suburban Silver, but is hoping to find consistency for the postseason.

The Lions open the postseason with Hinsdale South, a West Suburban Gold team that LT beat 3-2 on April 13. On that day, the Lions scored two in the bottom of the seventh to rally for the win.

Two-way standout Ashley Koziol had 12 strikeouts in a complete game against Hinsdale South. Koziol entered the week with a .365 batting average and a 3.53 ERA. Fellow junior Katie Dzierwa has a 1.89 ERA and could split playoff innings with Koziol.

Junior catcher Kayla Morrissey has been the team's top hitter this season. Through Saturday she carried a .425 batting average and a team-high 14 RBIs.

"Kayla has been a really solid leader on the team offensively and defensively," said coach Dawn Schabacker.

If the Lions get past the Hornets, No. 2 seed Mother McAuley likely awaits in the regional final at LT.

Riverside Brookfield

Class: 3A

Sectional seed: No. 6

Regional: Riverside Brookfield

Regional opener: 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 22 vs. Hyde Park

What to watch: It hasn't been a banner year for the Bulldogs, who has win five straight regionals and 10 in 11 years.

An 0-7 start put RB in an early hole. Lately they've been able to find more consistency an entered the week 9-17.

Emily Hastings has been one of the best hitters in the state this season with a .608 batting average and seven home runs. The SIU-Edwardsville recruit heads up a lineup that had a .356 batting average through Saturday.

The Bulldogs will be expected to get past No. 11 Hyde Park in the second regional semifinal at North Riverside's Veteran's Park. No. 3 Nazareth takes on No. 14 Morgan Park in the first semifinal.


Class: 4A

Sectional seed: No. 5

Regional: Morton

Regional opener: 4:30 p.m. Tuesday vs. Oak Lawn

What to watch: The senior core of shortstop Gabby King, center fielder Isza Gonzalez and pitcher Alyssa Galasso have carried Morton to a strong season and will be looking to end their careers with a deep playoff run.

Galasso has been a solid top pitcher and King, Gonzalez and freshman Karina Madera have been key bats in the lineup. Junior catcher Jenna Boyajian's knee injury took a key hitter out of the lineup so other girls will need to replace her production.

The Mustangs fell just short of a West Suburban Gold title, but can end a two-year drought without a regional title. Morton had won six in the previous seven years.

Despite having just three losses when seedings were determined, the Mustangs were given the No. 5 seed in the Richards sectional. Morton will host a regional and face No. 11 Oak Lawn in a regional semifinal. If the Mustangs get past that game, No. 4 Richards would be the likely opponent.


Class: 3A

Sectional seed: No. 3

Regional: Riverside Brookfield

Regional opener: 4:30 p.m. Tuesday vs. Morgan Park

What to watch: The Roadrunners have been able to tread water in the deep East Suburban Catholic Conference, but the league's schedule has made their overall record look worse than the ability of the team.

Eleven of Nazareth's 14 losses entering Monday came in conference action. Still, the Roadrunners earned enough respect to merit the No. 3 seed in its own sectional, only behind defending 3A state champion Glenbard South and Lemont.

Nazareth is looking for its fourth regional title in a row. In order to get it, they will need to go through Riverside Brookfield at Veteran's Park in North Riverside. Both the sectional and supersectional will take place at Nazareth's new all-turf field.


Class: 3A

Sectional seed: No. 4

Regional: Fenton

Regional opener: 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 22 vs. Noble Street Charter – Chicago Bulls Prep

What to watch: The Friars' postseason begins at Bensenville's Redmond Park. Fenwick is the seeded favorite to win the regional, which would be the program's first since 2007.

Host Fenton is the No. 5 seed and should offer the most resistance.

Fenwick is more battle tested, having a 7-9 record in the rugged East Suburban Catholic Conference entering Monday, than the Bison, which play in the smaller-school Metro Suburban Conference.

Montini, Elmwood Park and St. Francis are the top three seeds in the Elmwood Park sectional.

Proviso West

Class: 4A

Sectional seed: No. 20

Regional: Oak Park-River Forest

Regional opener: 4:30 p.m. Monday at Taft

What to watch: The Panthers haven't won a West Suburban Silver game yet and are the bottom seed in the Resurrection sectional.

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