The Riverside-Brookfield High School softball team saw its season come to an end on June 8 falling 2-1 to St. Ignatius in the ISHA Class 3A Sectional semifinal round.

The top-seeded Bulldogs got on the board in the fourth inning as junior third baseman Elena Pinedo reached on an error to knock in junior Hannah Organ. But No. 4-seed St. Ignatius scored twice in sixth inning to pull off the late come-from-behind victory.

Organ, who was named the Metro Suburban conference MVP and pitched seven innings giving up two runs on five hits while striking out 12. Senior center fielder Isabel Hillyer went 3-for-3 at the plate.

The Bulldogs, who won the Metro Suburban conference for the first time since 2009, and a lineup that featured freshmen Zoe Lavine, Julia Madera and Emily Organ along with sophomore Lianna Noel gained invaluable playoff experience, they’ll need next season and to make run in the state playoffs.

“You can’t measure how valuable it is to get freshman and sophomores sectional playoff experience,” coach Doug Schultz said. “We’re really happy with the foundation the program is at right now, we’re looking forward to next year already and I know we’ll see even more improvement on top of what we already started this year.”

Naz baseball ousted by St. Laurence

Nazareth Academy scored once in the seventh inning and got the tying run to the plate, but the second-seeded Roadrunners couldn’t overcome an early 4-0 deficit and fell 4-1 to top-seeded St. Laurence on June 11 in the IHSA Class 3A Sectional final in Burbank.

The Roadrunners (27-11) finally got on the board in the seventh inning on a base hit by senior second baseman Ryan Smith. But, with runners on first and second and two outs, the game ended on a diving catch by the St. Laurence center fielder.

“We competed the whole game, even though we fell behind,” said head coach Lee Milano. “We had more baserunners, but we just couldn’t get the timely hitting.”

Smith, who will be continuing his baseball career at University of Illinois at Chicago next year, went 1-for-4 in the game, while sophomore outfielder Lucas Smith went 2-for-3 with an RBI. Freshman pitcher John Hughes threw six innings, giving up four runs on five hits while striking out five. 

Hughes, along with the team’s other freshmen, shortstop Cooper Malamazian, first baseman Luca Fiore, infielder Nick Drtina, outfielder Cole Reifsteck and infielders David Cox and Bobby Kutt will provide a young but experienced core in 2022.

“This experience is only going to make them better players and performers throughout high school,” Milano said. “I’m so thankful we had a season not only for them but especially for the seniors to experience high school baseball at the varsity level, continuing the tradition and going far into the playoffs.”