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Dramatic late rally, shutout send Dukes to first sectional final since 2003

CHICAGO – On the brink of elimination, York came up with the goods in a regional final.

Now on a second life, the Dukes are in a sectional final.

York trailed Whitney Young by three runs heading into the bottom of the seventh in the Class 4A regional final Saturday at Bryan Middle School. Isabella Jaeger homered to cut the deficit to one, and six batters later, Hannah Latimer hit a sacrifice fly to give the Dukes a 5-4 win.

York advanced through the sectional semifinal Wednesday at Resurrection with less drama thanks to a dominating pitching effort from Brooke Bandy. Bandy threw a two-hitter against Maine West and the Dukes won, 2-0, to qualify for the program’s first sectional final since 2003.

“She kept them in check all game,” York coach Drew McGuire said. “Brooke did a nice job.”

Both hits against Bandy were infield hits and she walked just one. Latimer scored on an error in the second inning and Gracie Sullivan had an RBI double in the third.

No. 2 seed York (21-14) will take on top-seed Trinity in the sectional final Saturday. The Dukes also won their only sectional in 2003.

“It’s pretty exciting for them,” McGuire said. “It’s good for them as young girls to be able to go on this run. They’re playing good softball and they’re having a lot of fun doing it.”

Trinity has emerged as a powerhouse in the last several years. The River Forest school has won eight straight regionals and finished as a Class 3A state runner-up in 2010. The Blazers also won a sectional last year. They feature senior shortstop Abby Ramirez, a Michigan recruit, and senior outfielder Nicole Evans, an Illinois recruit.

“Trinity is a tough team and we’ve got to do everything right, but I think we’ll give them a really good game on Saturday,” McGuire said. “I’m looking forward to us coming out and trying to get a victory.”

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