By Mike Miazga

Correspondent

While the York baseball team lost a rough one in the regional final against Glenbard East, coach Dave Kalal saw many, many positives that outweighed the final game result.

“That was a heartbreaker,” said Kalal. “We got down and then took the lead and battled back. We came back, they came back. It was baseball. It was a very good high-school baseball game. They got the hits when they needed to. We couldn’t come up with the big hit.”

Kalal said York also played well in its regional-semifinal win against Streamwood. “The semifinal game against Streamwood was a very-well played game by both teams,” said Kalal. “We didn’t make an error in those two playoff games. Offensively, we couldn’t get out of the funk we’ve been in the last couple weeks. We had been ripping the cover off the ball most of the season and then the last few weeks we hit a wall.”

York finished 21-12 overall and went 10-8 in West Suburban Conference Silver Division play. “We had a really good season,” said Kalal. “We started out 18-5 and took that into seeding. We beat Oak Park-River Forest to make us 18-5 and got the No. 2 seed in the sectional. The kids were committed to the program and to each other. They grinded it out the entire baseball season. We got a lot of kids into games throughout the season in different ways whether it was offense, defense or pitching. Everybody got to contribute in some way shape or form. It’s always tough to say good-bye to the seniors. They gave everything they had to us.”

Ryan Ross, Dan Brown and Elliott Achepohl were named to the all-WSC Silver team and Ross was named the Silver Division player of the year.

“That’s exciting for Ryan,” said Kalal. “He had an all-around great year on offense and in the field. There was a stretch where he was sick and missed four or five games. We ended up putting Ian Steinorth at shortstop and we got Clayton Letourneau in the lineup and he played well. When Ryan came back we suggested running him out to center field and get him comfortable playing the outfield in case he has to play there in college. If you can hit in college they will find a place for you. He said let’s do it. That’s the kind of kid he is. To get a response like that from a 16-17-year-old kid is pretty incredible. By the end of the year he was back at shortstop and got that outfield experience. Ian was tough playing shortstop and Clayton got a lot of playing time as a junior. We were able to get a lot of production out of different people. This was a good season. The kids understood their roles and worked hard at it.”

York opened its summer season earlier this week. Kalal admits the sting of the regional-championship loss still is present.

“One of these years we will win a regional title,” he said. “That’s six times in the last nine years where we were in the regional-championship game. We haven’t won a regional in 22 years and were in the final six out of the last nine years. The kids are starting to understand that. The last two years have been one-run losses. We are so close. We’ve shown we can win during the regular season. People know that. York wins during the regular season. Now we have to get over that hump.”

Kalal noted three of the Silver Division’s teams had top-three sectional seeds and all lost in the regional round (Oak Park was a No. 1 seed, York was a No. 2 and Lyons Township was a No. 3).

“And we all lost,” he said. “That’s baseball. It’s a fickle game. You don’t necessarily have to have the hardest thrower. You have to make the plays and put the ball in play when it’s needed.”

Kalal added York’s sophomore team went 11-3 during May and the freshman group did “really well.”

“We will get back after it here,” he said. “We have some talent to work with.”

 

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