Trinity High School senior and four-year varsity softball player Carrie Reilly moved from the outfield to become this season’s starting catcher.
Disappointed with her 2014 offense, Reilly also decided to become a full-time power slap hitter.
“I had one bad game — the first game. I went 0 for 4,” Reilly said. “Then the next game (of the doubleheader), I kind of calmed myself down and did really well. It gave me a huge boost of confidence and I just went from there.”
So did a young Blazers lineup. Their gradual progress resulted in the program’s 11th consecutive regional title before losing to York 2-1 in the Class 4A Niles West Sectional semifinals June 2.
It was the fifth loss for Trinity (22-10-1) by one run.
“We played very well, much better than most people thought going into the season,” Trinity coach Bob Osborne said.
“We played young the first seven, eight games. I expected 20 wins, but I thought we’d play five or six more games. It’s still very hard to win a regional in 4A. This is our 11th in a row. That’s where our level is.”
Four returning starters received All-Girls Catholic Athletic Conference honors – junior shortstop Anyssa Iliopoulos and center fielder Alex Koziol, sophomore second baseman Brynisha Campbell and Reilly, a co-captain with junior pitcher Cortlyn Kelly.
Iliopoulos, committed to play for Rutgers, led the Blazers in batting average (.568), runs batted in (50), on-base percentage (.609), slugging percentage (.949) and extra-base hits (28) with a team-best 19 doubles and eight home runs.
Campbell (.420 average, 47 RBIs, .821 SLG) improved from three homers in 2014 to a team-best 10 with 24 extra-base hits.
Leadoff hitter Koziol (.481 average, 14 RBIs, .500 OBP) had team bests of 29 stolen bases and 46 runs scored.
Reilly enjoyed her best season, hitting .449 with three homers and 36 RBIs from the No. 2 spot. As a sophomore, Reilly was All-GCAC and hit over .400 but dropped to .220 in 2014.
“It was so much fun to realize that I’m actually doing well,” Reilly said. “I have been a slapper for a long time and I had just tried to be more versatile. It was kind of me that realized that slapping was best for me.”
Kelly missed the first three weeks recovering from a concussion. She was 13-6 with a 2.66 earned-run average and 99 strikeouts in 121 2/3 innings.
Against York, Campbell homered in the second inning. The Dukes tied the game in their at-bat and scored in the fourth on back-to-back doubles.
“Cortlyn did a great job of shutting (York) down,” Reilly said. “They hit when they needed to and we didn’t. We had a couple of scoring opportunities and couldn’t convert, which was too bad.”
Reilly will try to walk on Army’s softball team. The only other seniors were third baseman Carina Jimenez and manager Paulie Koroluk, who played twice.
“We have nine juniors (returning) and everyone’s ready to go,” Osborne said. “It’s always sad when the season ends, but they also know it’s a step in the right direction.”