SKOKIE – York’s softball team came up short in its sectional final loss against Oak Park-River Forest, but the Dukes almost literally went out with a bang.
The Huskies won 9-6 at Niles West on June 6, but the Dukes rallied for the final four runs of the game, all off home runs. Kyra Kroll hit a three-run blast in the bottom of the seventh inning and Sarah Milkowski singled to follow, but the comeback effort halted there.
“We can’t hang our heads,” Milkowski said. “We put up a couple runs at the end and that’s just the mentality that we have, the heart we have. It’s just been an amazing season. It ended short, but I think we’re all just so happy that we at least went out on a high note that last inning.”
York took a 2-1 lead after an inning when Milkowski hit a sacrifice fly to score Amanda Karnatz and the next batter, Abby Solem, hit a home run. However, the Huskies jumped on York pitcher Brooke Bandy with five runs in the second, one more in the third and two in the fifth.
Trailing 9-2, York came up with a solo home run from Sarah Maciejewski in the sixth and Kroll’s three-run home in the seventh.
York finished the season 27-7.
“This has been, I think for many of these kids and myself, one of the greatest seasons I think we’ve ever been apart of,” York coach Jenna Bode said. “Just the personalities on the team, everybody just got along. It’s been great. I think the way they stick together is incredible so I’m proud of them for that.”
The loss marked the end for a group of seniors that saw a lot of success in York’s Kelly green. Milkowski, Maciejewski, Bandy, Audrey Kosman and Isabella Jaeger were key seniors during one of the most successful stretches in the program’s history. York has won four straight regionals and Milkowski, Bandy, Kosman and Jaeger went to state with the team in 2013.
“York softball was always kind of the who cares, but we made a name for ourselves,” Milkowski said. “Every single person who’s ever played York softball from freshmen, to JV, to varsity, everyone has that heart and that family connection. We all just love playing with each other. That’s what I’m going to miss most, just playing with these girls. I love them to death.”
Milkowski, Solem, Bandy, Karnatz, Jaeger and Gabby Magnifico earned West Suburban Silver all-conference honors for York this spring.
Juniors Solem, Karnatz and Magnifico will lead the way for the Dukes next season along with Kroll, who had a standout season as a freshman.