Friday, June 14, 2024

Softball: Ottawa falls to Oak Forrest in sectional semifinal

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LEMONT – Ottawa softball coach Adam Lewis said it best Wednesday afternoon.

“Ten years from now no one remembers what your record was or how far you made it in the playoffs,” he said. “They remember the times you had.”

From the Pirates’ standpoint, the times were nearly all good. Lewis noted only one team ends the season truly happy, and Ottawa may not be that team this year, but there will be many good times to look back on.

Ottawa lost 2-1 to Oak Forrest in a Class 3A Lemont Sectional semifinal Wednesday. The Pirates finish the season 21-12 overall.

“We thank our seniors, obviously,” Lewis said. “It was a small group, but a really talented group and good group. It really comes down to what you had throughout the season. The things you remember when you look back is how you treat your teammates and how much fun you had. That’s what we choose to lock in on.”

The game was scoreless through the first three innings before Oak Forrest struck in the top of the fourth when Kamryn Castillo scored on an error to give Oak Forrest the lead. The top of the fifth saw the Bengals extend the lead to 2-0 on another error with Keira Oliver scoring and putting the Pirates in a bind.

Ottawa didn’t go down without a fight, responding in the bottom of the fifth with Maura Condon’s sacrifice fly to score Kendall Lowery and cut the deficit to one.

It was all the Pirates could muster, however, as Oak Forrest got the win to advance to the sectional final. The Bengals will play the winner of Lemont and Providence Catholic.

For Ottawa, it’s the end of the line, for now. For three seniors, it’s the end of high school. Lewis couldn’t say enough about how much they meant to the culture of the Pirates’ program.

“One of the big things we talked about is the team dynamic,” Lewis said. “Every group is different even if you have a lot of the same faces. Our three seniors are just super nice kids, really hard workers, and they just set the tone for everybody. We just have such a supportive group from the best player on the team to the worst player on the team. That’s what I’m most happy with.”

Lowery, one of the seniors, has had some tough times over the years with injuries but put up an All-State caliber season this year. She wouldn’t have traded her time as a Pirate for anything.

“I could go on and on about my time here at Ottawa,” Lowery said. “I didn’t get to play much my first two years because I was injured, but these past two years were the best. It’s been great. The coaches have had the biggest impact on my life. I wake up every day wanting coaches like them. It stinks thinking about how I have to put a different color jersey on next year, but I’ll forever be a Pirate.”

As for what’s next, it’s probably going to be good considering the number of players Ottawa will return.

“We’re really, really young,” Lewis said. “We’ve got a lot of really good young players that were playing new positions this year because that’s what we needed. I think a lot of kids got a ton of reps in. Moving forward the program is definitely in a good position because we have a lot of good talent coming back.”

Lowery’s message to next year’s group? Keep looking up.

“Look up to the girls in front of you,” she said. “I feel like when you come to this position in postseason every year it lights a little fire under your butt. These girls will want it. I know they want it. 2-1 is a close game, and they should be able to get it done soon.”

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