Softball: Navarro, Montini edge York
This was just the type of game Montini needed with the Class 4A playoffs just a couple days away.
The 2018 Class 3A champion opens Class 4A play Monday as a 16th seed in the Plainfield North sectional, But on Friday it looked like a much higher seed while winning 2-1 at York.
Freshman pitcher Kora Navarro allowed just one first-inning run and then broke a 1-1 tie in the fourth inning with a line drive home run over the wall in left field for what held up as the game-winning hit.
"I thought I threw pretty good," said Navarro, who worked out of a jam in the sixth inning after York's first two batters reached with infield singles. "With that first run it probably would have helped if I didn't hit her with the first pitch, but I think we did pretty good overall."
Dukes leadoff hitter Katherine Karnatz was hit by a pitch to start the bottom of the first and then hustled all the way to third base on a passed ball. Julia Derkowski then hit a sacrifice fly to score the first run of the game, but Navarro blanked the hosts the rest of the way to pull out the tight victory.
"My drop curves were working really well today and the defense was really good," said Navarro, whose fourth homer this spring helped her own cause in the circle. "It felt pretty good because I haven't been hitting too well so it felt good to come back like that. It felt like a home run when I swung."
York starter Caroline Collins pitched 3⅓ innings before departing after the key home run in the top of the fourth. The Broncos (15-9) had tied the game at 1-1 in the second after Lauren Latoria opened with a single, was bunted to second and then came home following a single to center by Cynthia Ng that got past the outfielder for an error.
"They're such a strong team that we knew we had to have a solid game. That defensively we couldn't give them anything extra," a happy Montini coach Erin Bradarich said. "(Navarro) had the defense behind her working today. As a team as a whole when we do that good things happen. This is just another one of the type of teams we'll have to beat (in playoffs)."
York coach Elizabeth Munn was a little surprised to see her team muster just five singles and struggle to get bunts down when called upon. A leadoff single in the second wiped out by a caught stealing didn't help either.
"I think they just came out flat today, really I don't know what it is," Munn said of her 16-13 squad. "They weren't really executing and they weren't doing the plays that they needed to -- they weren't moving the runners when they needed to."
Hard-throwing reliever Lauren Derkowski took over in the fourth and kept the Broncos from adding on, but the hosts still came up a run short.