Barrington's all-time home run leader Loren Krzysko was 0-for-3 when she led off the bottom of the eighth inning in Saturday's tense Class 4A Rolling Meadows regional softball championship game against Prospect.
"I couldn't go 0-for-4," said the junior third baseman. "I knew I had to swing at anything good."
Sure enough, Krzysko swung the game into the Fillies' favor when she doubled sharply down the left field line.
Moments later, Krzysko advanced to third on catcher Savonnah's Osmanski's single to left and then scored on a wild pitch to Raegan Fingerman, giving the Fillies a 2-1 triumph over the No. 12 seeded Knights (11-26).
The No. 4 Fillies (30-7) will now be swinging their bats in their own sectional next Wednesday, facing No. 1 Conant (32-3) in the 4:30 p.m. semifinal.
Junior Cassidy Kraimer (18-6) threw a 1-hitter with 5 strikeouts to notch Barrington's 11th straight regional crown and 11th 30-win season in 12 years.
"We strive to be a model of consistency," said Fillies coach Perry Peterson. "It's always a challenge, but we love that challenge."
Prospect ace Hanna Lythberg was a real challenge, too.
The Valdosta-bound senior struck out eight and scattered 8 hits, two apiece by Ally McLaughlin (2-for-4) and Osmanski (2-for-3, walk).
Lythberg's sister Kiley, who had a stellar career at Central College in Iowa and won a regional title as a pitcher at Prospect, was at Saturday's game.
"We are lucky there are no more younger Lythberg girls in that household," Peterson said. "They are phenomenal softball players."
"Their pitcher (Lythberg) is just really dominant and she knows how to pitch us," said Fillies senior shortstop Kelsey Kazmier said. "But our coaches prepared us really well."
Lythberg also singled to right to drive home Meghan Doyle with one out in the first inning for Prospect's only run.
"We wanted to score early and often," Lythberg said. "We scored early, but not often."
Lythberg didn't feel she had her best stuff Saturday.
"I didn't pitch as well as I can," she said. "My change-up wasn't working and that's my bread and butter. Obviously my team and my catcher, Cassie (Poulos), helped me throughout the game.
"Cassie worked so hard back there. She caught all my pitches wherever they were. We went to Plan B -- more drop balls."
And it worked quite well as the Knights took the Fillies to extra innings for the second time this season. Barrington won 10-2 in 10 innings in Mt. Prospect on April 27.
"Oh gosh, that (Saturday's game) was nerve-wracking," said Kraimer, who also won the 10-inning contest over Lythberg. "It was scary but I knew our team would come together. When we needed the big play, the defense stepped up. Kelsey (Kazmier) made a big play."
Kraimer was referring to the top of the seventh when the Knights had runners on second and third with one out.
Krzysko fielded a grounder, looked the runner back to third and threw to first baseman Jordan Wekony for the second out.
Kazmier then made a terrific stab of Amy Graham's hard grounder that appeared headed up the middle. Kazmier then fired to first baseman Wekony to get the crucial out and save a run.
"My coach (Perry Peterson) told me to play up the middle because she hits it that way," Kazmier said. "So that helped me. I just had to stretch a little for the ball and then make sure I didn't fall down so I could make the throw."
"She's fantastic," said Prospect coach Jim Adair of Kazmier. "She really made a couple of great plays on us."
Barrington tied the game at 1-1 in the second inning when Wekony singled and made it to third an error on the play.
Osmanski followed with an RBI double to center.
Lythberg avoided further damage, getting the final out on a groundout to third baseman Michele Molini with runners on second and third.
"The kids played fantastic," Adair said. "I'm so proud of them, especially after the up-and-down season we had. They could have quit at any time. We played a tough schedule.
"They (Barrington) have 30 wins, and we have almost that many losses. Barrington is a very good team but we were confident that we could beat them. I don't think you could find another 11-26 team that plays as hard. I'm just so proud of these girls."
"We struggled this season," added Lythberg. "But we proved that we can hang in there with the big teams in our conference."