The last game of the season is always the hardest, especially if it ends in a loss.
The Riverside Brookfield softball team (23-14) felt that agony as the Bulldogs lost to defending state champs Oak Park 4-1 in the Lyons Sectional championship on Saturday.
RB had trouble generating any runs off OPRF pitcher Holly Roadruck (14-2). In the first inning, leadoff hitter Maggie McCloskey got the offense started with a single, but the next batter hit into a double play. For the Bulldogs, both Alison Milani and Emma Forsberg singled in the second, but they were left stranded.
OPRF jumped on the scoreboard in the bottom of the second. With two outs and two on, Mary Zinni doubled to put the Huskies in the lead 2-0. The Bulldogs threatened again in the third with two outs and nobody on. Kristy Brewer had a well hit ball to left field that resulted in a stand up double, but the next batter struck out to end the inning.
The Huskies got two more insurance runs in the bottom of the third. Annie Demas doubled in an RBI, followed a RBI single by Mattie Prodanovic.
The next three innings went scoreless for both teams, but RB was not about to go quietly. To start the seventh, April Hutchens singled and Sam Maas reached on an error. A fielder’s choice got Hutchens out at third, but there were still two runners on and only one out. The next batter grounded out. Jaime Duffek singled to get the team’s lone RBI, but the Blazers could not maintain the rally.
Maas was the starting pitcher for the Bulldogs. Lindsey Hayes came in relief in the fourth and Maas moved to first base. RB is a young team with only two seniors. One of those seniors, softball and basketball standout Maggie McCloskey shared her thoughts, “We had a great season. I’m glad I played softball all four years. It’s been awesome. I’m sad to see my high school career come to an end, but we ended on a bang. OPRF is a very good team. We played them until the end which is what I wanted. I’m proud of our team.”
Earlier in the week, the Bulldogs downed Trinity 8-1 to win the semifinal. Maas had eight strikeouts in that win. Hayes had a two-run homer in the first for the Bulldogs. Milani had a three-run shot in the third to put RB up 5-00. The Bulldogs scored three more runs in the fifth.
“We’re looking forward to the future. We really did well this year,” said RB coach Dan Hull. “They are so different from the beginning of the season until now. They are a team.”