IC Catholic Prep catcher Josie Lytton had just one thing on her mind when she stepped to the plate for the first time at Monday's Class 2A Rosemont softball supersectional.
"The only thing I was thinking was, 'Do it for the seniors,'" Lytton said. "(The swing) felt good."
Playing on the home field of the Chicago Bandits, Lytton crushed a home run to left-center in the top of the first inning to give the Knights a 2-0 lead.
The junior catcher reached base four times, going 3-for-3 with a single, triple, home run and 2 RBI. But it wasn't enough to prevent Beecher from ending IC's dream season with a 10-4 victory.
"It was one bad inning," IC coach Frank Reaber said. "Our motto all year has been, 'Win the inning.' We try to win every inning and we lost three of the innings.
"But I'm happy for the team. They did extremely well."
The Knights (21-13) did better than anyone expected them to before the season started. Reaber started seven freshmen and sophomores against Beecher alongside one senior, shortstop Kaitlyn Falduto.
But Falduto and fellow co-captain Lytton helped the youngsters jell into a team that gave Beecher (29-7) a good fight until things unraveled in the sixth inning.
That's when the Bobcats rapped 5 hits and took advantage of 4 errors to score 6 runs and break open what had been a 4-3 game.
IC pitcher Kayla Faber-Cournane gave up 12 hits and 3 walks, but only 3 of the runs were earned.
The miscues began early. Beecher tied the game 2-2 thanks to two errors, with the first run scoring when Wisconsin recruit Taylor Johnson scored from third on an overthrow.
"You can't win with (that many) errors," Reaber said. "We gave them two in the first inning. But my pitcher is not overpowering and has got to hit her spots, and they hit the ball hard."
Even so, IC retook the lead when freshman Emma Lytton was hit by a pitch leading off the second inning and scored on a Natalie Murillo double.
Beecher took the lead for good in the fourth, scoring twice on a two-out triple by Katelyn Landis and a single by Margaret Landis.
Josie Lytton gave IC fans a final thrill by tripling to lead off the seventh and scoring on an RBI single by freshman Alessandra Eccardt.
"Josie can hit," Reaber said. "We actually changed her swing this year.
"She would always let go with the one hand so we make her hold onto the bat. Once in a while she goes back to her old ways, but when she holds on, she can hit."
But did she anticipate doing this well?
"No, and that's why I'm proud of everyone," Lytton said. "They overcame everything and I couldn't have asked for a better experience.
"It's really going to be a big year next year. I can't wait."