Baseball: York defeats McHenry 9-5 in Class 4A Kane County Cougars Supersectional

Dukes earn second straight trip to state; Warriors finish 30-8

Ryan Sloan, a hard-throwing right-handed pitcher who led York to back-to-back state tournament appearances in 2023 and 2024, was selected on Sunday night by the Seattle Mariners in the second of the MLB Draft with the 55th pick.

GENEVA – McHenry scraped and fought to score three runs in the sixth inning, cutting York’s six-run lead in half with only one ball that left the infield.

It was just what the Warriors needed.

“That was everything. It gave us life, a little bit of hope,” McHenry right fielder Owen Micklinghoff said. “We couldn’t come through in the end, but it was everything. It made the game more competitive.”

That hope was fleeting when the Dukes added a run in the top of the seventh, then summoned flame-throwing Ryan Sloan from the bullpen for the bottom of the inning.

Sloan, who likely will go in the middle of the first round of the MLB First-Year Player Draft on June 14 threw his first pitch at 98 mph and his next at 99.

The 6-foot-4, 230-pound right-hander struck out three Warriors on 15 total pitches to nail down York’s 9-5 victory in the Class 4A Kane County Cougars Supersectional on June 3 at Northwestern Medicine Field.

The Dukes (31-9) make their second consecutive trip to Joliet’s Duly Health & Care Field on Friday where they will face Conant, which beat Glenbrook North 6-1 in the Schaumburg Boomers Supersectional.

McHenry (30-8) was trying to make its second trip to state in three seasons, having knocked out York in the Cougars Supersectional in 2022.

“It was definitely an electrifying game,” York starter Chris Danko said. “The atmosphere and everything about it was awesome. Going into that game I felt pretty confident. I was ready to go. I wanted to get to state again. That was our goal from the preseason.

“When you’re up four and Ryan Sloan’s coming in, it’s electric. You know he’s going to shut the door. I had no doubt in my mind we had the ‘W’ when he came in.”

York celebrates their victory over McHenry to win the class 4A Kane County supersectional at Northwestern Medicine Field in Geneva on Monday, June 3, 2024.

York scored a run in the first, but McHenry answered with two runs as Jack Stecker tripled into the left-field corner for an RBI and scored on Micklinghoff’s single.

The Dukes took advantage of two bad throws in the fourth inning before Danko tripled to the wall in left-center field. York scored five times on two hits in the inning for a 6-2 lead.

“We don’t quit. We’ve been down a lot and come back and won a lot of close games,” Dukes coach Dave Kalal said. “These kids just keep fighting. The experience we’ve had these last two or three seasons has helped us a lot.

“We have a lot of guys who are multi-sport athletes who have played at a high level with York hockey or football and they’ve been in these pressure games. We have a bunch of dudes on the roster.”

York added two more runs in the top of the sixth, but the Warriors rallied with three in the bottom of the inning.

“We had that one inning where we made a couple errors and gave up five runs,” Warriors coach Brian Rockweiler said. “It was big, but our guys never really got down. They never felt like they were out of it.

“If Owen puts a ball in play there [with two outs and the bases loaded], we score another run, it gets a little more interesting. I’m proud of these guys. It’s a heck of a season. We kind of ran out of juice there at the end.”

McHenry's John Stecker (6) singles against York during a class 4A Kane County supersectional baseball game at Northwestern Medicine Field in Geneva on Monday, June 3, 2024.

Stecker had a two-run single in the sixth to go with his triple and three RBIs.

“We had great at-bats [in the sixth],” he said. “It’s all about getting to the next guy. That’s all you have to do.

“[The season] was great, man. You can’t ask for anything better. These juniors, sophomores and freshmen are great. They’re going to do something great. They’re going to be right back here next year.”

Micklinghoff was a sophomore on the 2022 team that went to state.

“It was a great season. I couldn’t ask for anything better,” he said. “I love all 23 of these guys. It reminds me a lot of my sophomore year when we made the run to state. I love these guys.”

York now is set up with Sloan, whose father David was a catcher on the Dukes’ 1993 Class AA state champion team, to throw in Friday’s 7 p.m. semifinal. Noah Hughes, who shut out St. Charles North for the sectional title, will throw Saturday.

Danko pitched 5 2/3 innings with Jack Lawton finishing the sixth. Even though the Dukes added a run in the seventh, Kalal was set on closing with Sloan.

“That was the plan all along. We were hoping to get Chris through six. If not, we had Jack Lawton as the bridge to get to Sloan,” Kalal said. “To guarantee another trip to the Final Four we had to make sure that we brought our stud in for three outs. It’s nice when a plan works out.”

York 9, McHenry 5
York 100 502 1 – 9 9 3
McHenry 200 003 0 – 5 7 2
WP: Chris Danko (5.2IP, 6H, 5R, 5ER, 1BB, 3K). LP: Kadin Borck (3.1IP, 4H, 6R, 2ER, 1BB, 2K).
Top hitters–York: Danko 2-3 (3B, 2RBIs, 3R), Nico Ruggieri 2-4 (RBI), Josh Fleming 1-4 (2B, RBI). McHenry: Jack Stecker 2-4 (3B, 3RBIs, R), Owen Micklinghoff (1-4 (RBI).
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