ELMHURST – Six players on York’s softball team this spring were a part of the 2013 squad that went to state and they want to go back.
The Dukes are headed for a sectional final against Oak Park-River Forest at 11 a.m. June 6, meaning a return trip to East Peoria is two wins away.
“I think to know what you’re playing for and to know how awesome going to state is and how good it feels, it just pushes you that much harder to keep winning to experience that again,” junior Abby Solem said. “It was just this awesome weekend [at state] and I would love to go back. I think that energy that all the returners have is pushing everyone to keep it up.”
Solem and fellow junior Gabby Magnifico were a part of that state team along with seniors Isabella Jaeger, Sarah Milkowski, Brooke Bandy and Audrey Kosman.
Jaeger said having that experience helps keep them calm in pressure moments in big games.
“I think we’re more comfortable now,” Jaeger said. “We’re actually not even that nervous. This is the exciting time of the year. This is the best part of the year.”
To get to the sectional final, York beat Niles West 6-1 in a regional final June 1, which was the Dukes’ fourth straight regional title. The next day York, the top sectional seed, beat Trinity 2-1. Bandy pitched complete games in both wins and had a combined 17 strikeouts.
Up next is an OPRF team that edged the Dukes for the West Suburban Silver title. York split with the Huskies during the regular season, winning 7-3 on May 4 and losing 11-0 on May 20.
The teams are the top two seeds in the Niles West sectional.
“They beat us for conference so we have that,” Solem said. “We really just want to go and prove to everybody that we can beat them because we can. We’re just excited to kick some butt.”
York’s playoff results
York 6, Niles West 1 (June 1)
• Brooke Bandy: 7 IP, R, 8 K, 3 BB, 5 H
• Lauren Lahey: 2-for-2, 3B, 2 RBIs
• Sarah Maciejewski: 2-for-3, 2B, 3B, RBI, 2 R
• Abby Solem: 2-for-3, RBI, R
York 2, Trinity 1 (June 2)
• Bandy: 7 IP, R, 9 K, BB, 7 H
• Amanda Karnatz: 2-for-2, BB
• Maciejewski: 1-for-2, 2B, RBI