Marist Coach Colleen Biebel couldn’t have asked more of her team.
But on these two days, the softball just didn’t bounce the RedHawks’ way.
After losing 3-2 to Huntley on June 7 in a state semifinal, Marist fell 3-2 to Joliet West on June 8 in the Class 4A third-place game at Eastside Centre in East Peoria.
Marist finished the season 36-4.
“We competed. We left it all on the field,” Biebel said. “We had a lot of shots right at Huntley that usually fall, but they didn’t that night. The girls fought hard, were resilient, played great defense and pitched well.”
The state appearance was the fourth in eight years for Marist since 2012.
In the Joliet West game, Kali Case, Lexi Voss (RBI) and Brianna Brown (RBI) had a hit apiece as the RedHawks were partially done in by 3 errors.
Voss and Madison Garofalo scored a run each.
Even after the heartbreaker against Huntley, Biebel wanted her team to come out with a fighting spirit.
“You’re fortunate you get to play one last game, so leave it all on the field,” Biebel said. “We came down here with the hope of winning a state championship, and we didn’t. It was hard to regroup, but we still played hard.”
In the third-place game, Angela Zedak threw 3 innings of no-hit ball, allowing 1 run on 2 walks. Sophomore Abby Dunning gave up 2 runs on 3 hits and 2 walks with 2 strikeouts.
Zedak (Northwestern) and Cassie Lindmark (Kentucky) were both four-year starters for the RedHawks. A strong senior class also included Blaire Browne, Garofalo, Jessica Balich, Voss and Walinski.
“These girls are awesome. These seniors would run through a wall for me if I asked,” Biebel said. “They always gave 110 percent and kept the team together. They really made us a unit. These were awesome kids. They were the heart and soul of the team.”
Despite losing a deep, Division-I heavy senior class, the cupboard is far from bare for the RedHawks as Biebel can build around Dunning, shortstop Easton Lotus, Case and catcher Gabby Altobelli.
“We had some talented girls who did not play dominant roles, but they will,” Biebel said. “We know we have these girls for the future. We’ll have great pitching, phenomenal defense and good speed.”
Case and Garofalo had a RBI apiece in the state semifinal. Voss and Brown scored a run each.
Zedak (21-2) gave up 3 runs on 6 hits and 3 walks with 7 strikeouts.
Balich led the effort with 2 hits with Lotus, Zedak, Lindmark and Garofalo chipping in with a hit apiece.
The semifinal loss snapped a 35-game winning streak dating back to March 15. It was Marist’s first loss of the season to an Illinois team.