Everything went perfect for Montini in Wednesday’s game against York.
The Broncos plated runs in bunches, didn’t allow a run until the fifth and final inning and several players padded their stats in a 14-1 five-inning victory over the Dukes at The Dome at Parkway Sports Complex in Rosemont.
Even the early-morning game came to a fast ending, finishing in just under 90 minutes.
But then, the Broncos (5-1) encountered an unbeatable foe when attempting to exit the indoor facility — a hard-driving rain.
Still, the downpour didn’t dampen the Broncos’ spirits, not after winning their third game this week in Rosemont.
“Weather is a factor, so we have to play here in spring break in the Midwest,” Montini coach Erin Bradarich said. “(Tuesday) we played in 30-degree weather, and no one likes that. Getting in games is the main purpose. We were able to get some girls some experience today that they normally get, and today we were able to do that.”
The Broncos racked up big numbers in the win, with Kora Navarro batting 3 for 3 with three runs scored and an RBI. Miranda BonDurant had three RBIs, and freshman Katherine Filkowski added a single and triple and three runs scored.
Junior pitcher Amanda Wozniak pitched all five innings, allowing two hits and one run to get the win. She allowed her lone run in the fifth. Wozniak said the Broncos are motivated to surpass last season’s run to the 3A sectional finals, where they lost 2-1 to Ridgewood.
“We have really good potential and got basically the same team as last year,” Wozniak said. “We have a very good pitching staff with me and Kora (Navarro). I liked pitching in here. It was a fun game. The defense played great.”
Navarro, who committed to University of Findlay in Ohio, pointed to her team’s strong start as a good sign.
“I think the potential for this team is good,” Navarro said. “We have great chemistry and need to build on the field and be more talkative. We have to continue to work hard. I’m very happy how we’ve played and hope we can build on this.”
Freshmen making an impact
Winning two state titles from 2016 to 2018, Montini is one of the teams in the hunt for a Class 3A state championship this spring due to eight returning starters.
But four freshmen — Samantha Lehnherr, Katherine Filkowski, Payton Atkins and Delaney Spontak — all played key roles in Wednesday’s rout.
“We have two freshmen who have jumped in right away in Samantha Lehnherr who has been starting center and doing great,” Bradarich said. “Katherine Filkowski led off today and is doing pretty well. Payton Atkins got the start at third today, which was nice. Delaney Spontak finished the game in right and battling well.
“With any program, when you start to win a little bit, people start to learn your name and want to go there. That’s the success we’re trying to build on. There’s nobody left from our last state title team, so they have to earn it. They’re trying to build on this history and legacy, but the (freshmen) have to make for themselves.”
York transitioning with Derkowski
York softball coach Brendan Holba admitted his program is enduring a transition stage.
That’s what happens when you graduate an iconic player in four-year starter Lauren Derkowski, the 2021 Suburban Life Softball Player of the Year.
The Michigan freshman recorded an 18-2 record with 257 strikeouts last season, so replacing those numbers — or even coming close — are nearly impossible. The Dukes (0-5) gave up five runs in the third inning against the Broncos to remain winless on the season.
“Last year, when you have an All-American who goes to Michigan, there’s a bit of a learning curve for some of the girls who didn’t play as much last year or experience the spotlight,” Holba said. “We’re making adjustments. It’s definitely weird not having Lauren. The biggest thing is she and the other seniors did a great job of keeping their teammates accountable. Right now, we’re not that team.
“They’re not ready to step in and encourage or get on each other, but that falls on the coaches’ shoulders. We had three great senior leaders last year. This year we don’t have that. We have the talent and pieces, but just need the leadership. Once we get that, we will be fine.”