Benet's York makes herself at home
Emily York may never want to leave Bolingbrook.
Not after the week she had there.
Benet's sophomore slugged 2 homers for the second straight playoff game, helping power the No. 2 seed Redwings past No. 10 Bolingbrook 13-2 in five innings in Saturday's Class 4A Bolingbrook regional final.
York homered twice in the same inning Tuesday in Benet's win over Metea Valley, the first one bounding onto the adjacent football field. On Saturday she lined a 2-run shot in the third inning, making it 6-2, and in the fourth rocketed another 2-run no-doubter to left.
"I really like it here, but if I have to go, I'll go," York said with a laugh. "It's been an insane week."
York seems to like to hit homers in pairs.
She homered twice earlier in the year to beat Marist. The two Saturday give her 9 this season. Benet coach Jerry Schilf could sense a big day coming.
"We hit these weighted balls, and I noticed in warmups she was just driving them," Schilf said. "She's on fire lately, hitting the ball hard. I thought we hit the ball hard up and down the lineup."
For sure, Benet (22-8) wasted little time getting its bats going.
The first five batters reached in the first inning, Maeve McGuire singling in Marissa Panko and Ali Michalik and York singling in McGuire. The Redwings batted around, and did it again in the third to open up a commanding 8-2 lead.
The game's pivotal play, though, may have come in the top of the third. Jessica Brown, playing her first game in two weeks (jammed wrist) made a running catch in right field, then threw a runner out at the plate to keep the score 4-2. It was all Benet after that.
"To be able to make that play, that gave the team a huge lift," Schilf said.
Bolingbrook (15-13), which on Thursday beat Plainfield East for the program's first-ever playoff win, loaded the bases with none out in the fifth. But Benet's Megan Stoppelman got three grounders to end the threat, and Julianne Rurka hit a 2-run homer in the bottom half of the fifth to end it.
Stoppelman, a freshman, was the third pitcher on Benet's depth chart coming into the spring. She's probably thrown her best softball of late and gave up just 4 hits with 3 strikeouts Saturday.
"I've been getting ahead of hitters more. It's helped me be able to throw my curveball and changeup more," Stoppelman said. "The double play (on Brown's throw) was huge. It definitely changed the momentum of the game."
Benet lost six games the last two weeks of the regular season, a stretch coinciding with a rash of injuries. The Redwings seem to be getting well again at the right time, and they advance to play No. 3 seed Downers Grove North and fireballer Elaine Heflin in a Wednesday sectional semifinal at Neuqua Valley.
"We didn't let the injuries get to us," York said. "When we're on our game we can play with anybody."
Every Benet player reached base at least once, Abello four times and Abbie Gerth three.
It's been a season full of peaks and lows. Twenty-plus wins, a regional title, but injuries have also been a dominant theme.
"It's been an up and down year and it seems like it changes every day," Schilf said. "I know the girls have higher goals, but I told them to enjoy this moment."
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