It was Senior Day for the Barrington softball team Friday and the Fillies played their final game of the season at the Fields of Dreams.
Or did they?
"We hope we have one more game here," said Fillies' senior third baseman Loren Krzysko.
If the Fillies do, it will mean they're playing in their own Class 4A supersectional on June 3.
But there's a long road ahead before that and Barrington, ranked No. 2 in the Daily Herald Top 20 as well as the Class 4A Illinois Coaches Association poll, tuned up for the postseason with a 3-2 win over Burlington Central, the No. 6 team in the Daily Herald Top 20 and No. 3 in the ICA Class 3A poll.
"We want to play great competition at the end of the year and there's a reason they're ranked No. 3 in the state," said Barrington coach Perry Peterson of the Rockets. "(BC coach) Wade (Maisto) does a great job with them and they have a ton of talent. There's also a lot of friendships between these two teams. There were some friendly hugs after the game and that's nice to see, especially at this time of year."
The Fillies (30-1), who have now won 30 games or more in 12 of the past 13 seasons, rode a 5-hit, 10-strikeout performance in the circle from sophomore Keenan Dolezal (23-1) and a Barrington trademark this season -- the home run -- to hold off the Rockets (25-3).
Barrington took a 1-0 lead in the first inning when Tess Bolger led off with a walk, was sacrificed to second by Krista Moore and scored on a two-out single from Raegan Fingerman.
The Fillies added to the lead in the third. Bolger again led off with a walk and was again sacrificed to second by Moore. But this time she got to jog home when Arkansas recruit Krzysko hit her 15th home run of the season and 39th of her career, both school records, off her summer teammate from last year, BC junior lefty Brooke Gaylord (12-2), to give the Fillies a 3-0 lead. It was Barrington's school-record 44th home run as a team this season.
"It felt really good and kind of summed up my last game at home," said Krzysko, "but I hope this isn't my last game here. (Burlington Central) is a great team with great pitching. We knew we had to step up and play our game today."
The Rockets, who outhit Barrington 6-5, got back in the game in the top of the sixth when freshman Kayla Ross (2-for-3) beat out a bunt single and was replaced on first base by Courtni Neubauer, who grounded into a fielder's choice. With two outs, Gaylord jacked her sixth homer of the season over the left field fence to make it a 3-2 game. Freshman Emily Kisch then singled and took second on an error to put the tying run in scoring position for BC but Dolezal, who didn't walk a batter, got a strikeout to end the inning then set the Rockets down 1-2-3 in the seventh.
"I was really looking forward to this game and playing some really good competition," said Gaylord, who struck out 3, hit a batter and walked Bolger twice for her only free passes of the game.
"I wasn't really hitting my spots but (Barrington's hitters) made me realize I had to."
Maisto was pleased with his team's performance and, like Peterson, relished the opportunity for a good tough game prior to next week's regionals. Central, which takes on Lockport Saturday at the Stone City Jamboree in Minooka, is the top seed in the Class 3A Sycamore regional and Barrington is the team to beat at the 4A Buffalo Grove regional.
"We played a good softball game," Maisto said. "We've found ways to win these games but today we didn't. Brooke pitched a good game. It's too bad the only two walks she gave up both scored. Give credit to (Barrington's) pitching and defense. But this is what we want right now and it was a good softball game."
And to Barrington's nine seniors -- Alexa Rebecca, Krista Moore, Maggie O'Hara, Fingerman, Morgan Olszewski, Krzysko, Sam Rosenfeld, Cassidy Kraimer and Bolger -- the goal is to make sure it wasn't their last game at the Fields of Dreams.
"This is as great a group of seniors as we've ever had," said Peterson of a group that is now 119-26 in four years. "They deserve all the credit. They've made this season special since the first day of practice. I'm honored to be with them and with the four underclassmen on this team. The 13 of them have formed a great chemistry."