The Riverside-Brookfield softball team has shown all season long that they can compete with the best, and now they will get to prove it just how good they are as they head into the playoffs.
The Bulldogs (21-5) are the No. 1 seed in IHSA Class 3A Sectional 4 and will host every game during that round, which begins June 3 for RBHS.
“I’m very happy about having the number one seed, because it shows that the softball community and our sectional understands that we’re a quality program,” said coach Doug Schultz. “We’ve challenged ourselves against some pretty good teams at the end of the season, and we needed to see that competition to start getting ourselves ready.”
Senior Isabella Garcia finished the regular season hitting .480 with five home runs and a team-high 36 RBI. Junior Hannah Organ was one of the Bulldogs top hitters and pitchers, batting .500 to go with five home runs and 23 RBI while going 4-0 with a 1.98 ERA and 99 strikeouts on the mound.
Senior Hannah Smith also excelled on the mound with a 2.25 ERA and 94 strikeouts in 62 innings pitched. Freshman catcher Zoe Lavine (.377 with seven home runs and 28 RBI), freshman shortstop Emily Organ (.400 with eight home runs and 20 RBI) and sophomore second baseman Liana Noel (.306 with a home run and 10 RBI) have been consistent all year while gaining experience as they head to the state playoffs.
“Starting that freshman/sophomore core in key spots has been huge for us,” Schultz said.
Naz seeded 3rd in Class 3A sectional
Nazareth Academy (12-15) could find themselves on a collision course with RBHS in Sectional 4, where the Roadrunners are seeded third.
“We are feeling good about earning the number three seed, because we know our regional/sectional is pretty loaded with tough competition,” said coach Vicki Sobol. “Seeing those teams already this season, those games were all tough battles on both sides.”
The Roadrunners have faced four of the top six seeds in the sectional already this year and will begin the state tournament June 3 against the winner of 11th seeded Back of the Yards and 6th seeded Benet.
Nazareth has been led by junior Allison Mangan, who finished the regular season hitting .450 with 31 stolen bases. Senior Toni Rodriguez hit .333 with an on-base percentage of .440 and 12 RBI, while senior Olivia Mardirosian hit .308 with two home runs and 21 RBI while also sporting a 2.41 ERA on the mound.
With Nazareth and RBHS on opposite sides of the bracket, the area rivals could face each other in the sectional title game.
“It would be an awesome experience to have a sectional championship against a team that’s been a neighbor team for us,” Schultz said.
LTHS readies for postseason run
The Lyons Township High School softball team is seeded fourth in Class 4A Sectional 6, ending the regular season with a record of 11-9.
Emily Joseph (.429 batting average), Anna Bryant (.385), Lily Hanafin (.383), Tess Meyer (.370), and Ava Paganis (.340, 6 HR) have paced LTHS’ offense, while Ava Kostecki (9-4, 3.12 ERA, 100 strikeouts) and Hanafin (37.2 innings, 59 strikeouts) are carrying the pitching load for the Lions.
“We are excited with our seed and look forward to the playoffs,” said LTHS coach Nicole Paluch. “We look forward to playing some of the top teams in the state that we feel are in our sectional, and you have to play the best to beat the best.”
LTHS opens state tournament play June 2 hosting Argo. Should the Lions advance, a potential third match-up with West Suburban Silver rival Oak Park and River Forest is a distinct possibility the next day. LTHS defeated the Huskies twice in the regular-season, 3-2 on April 30 and 5-3 on May 17.
Melvin Tate contributed to this report.