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Softball

Kroll a key cog for York softball

York's Kyra Kroll slides safely into second base on Tuesday during a home game against Lyons Township. Kroll, a freshman, is one of several sluggers that have led the Dukes to a strong season so far.
York's Kyra Kroll slides safely into second base on Tuesday during a home game against Lyons Township. Kroll, a freshman, is one of several sluggers that have led the Dukes to a strong season so far.

ELMHURST – If there’s one thing about York freshman Kyra Kroll, it’s that she doesn’t lack confidence.

The freshman outfielder has stepped right into the Dukes’ lineup and has put up solid numbers right away.

Kroll is hitting .460 with 18 RBIs and 22 runs scored in 15 games played. She is tied for the team lead in runs scored and is second with 12 stolen bases.

“It’s been really exciting,” Kroll said. “I’ve been doing pretty well so far at the plate and with the help of my teammates and their support. I’ve been hanging out with them a few times. It’s been fun overall and it’s a really fun experience.”

Kroll had the game-winning sacrifice fly in the bottom of the seventh inning in Monday’s 3-2 win against Lyons Township.

Her strong play has put her in the No. 2 spot in a York lineup that is averaging more than eight runs per game.

“She really pays attention to the game,” coach Jenna Bode said. “She wants to get better. She goes up and she learns from every at-bat. She learns from every play she makes. She’ll be talking to coach and I on the sideline and say ‘I’ve seen every pitch they have. I can attack this pitch. I can get that pitch.’ She’s really, really just interested in learning more about the game. I think that’s what makes her such a great player.”

Bode said Kroll didn’t join the varsity team until a few weeks into practice. Even with indoor practices, she could tell that Kroll had what it took to contribute to the varsity team.

Kroll’s playing experience began with in-house softball from a young age and then travel ball at the 8U level. Her experience turned into confidence.

“I like the adrenaline of it, just going up to the plate and feeling confident knowing you’re at least going to get one hit a game or two hits,” Kroll said. “It’s really a good feeling. When you’re doing bad, obviously you don’t feel like playing, but once you start doing really, really good and you’re in your hot zone you just want to play it all the time.”

Her confidence isn’t limited to individual play either. York is 4-0 in the West Suburban Silver with wins against Downers Grove North, Glenbard West, Proviso West and Lyons Township, which has Kroll and the Dukes thinking big.

Amanda Karnatz, Sarah Milkowski, Abby Solem and Isabella Jaeger join Kroll with batting averages above .400. Valparaiso commit Gabby Magnifico has 12 extra base hits, including five home runs, and leads the team with 22 RBIs.

“I think we can definitely be undefeated in conference,” Kroll said. “If we continue to hit the way we’re hitting, if Amanda and Sarah and Abby Solem and Gabby keep it up, then we’ll be just fine. Everybody is just hitting. I believe if we keep our bats together we should definitely win conference and go to state and can even do well there.”

York, which also beat Maine West 16-0 Wednesday to improve to 15-1-1 overall, next plays Friday against Hinsdale Central and has a huge conference game at Oak Park-River Forest, also undefeated in the league, Monday.

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