Bulls Prep Defeats Pritzker for Softball Championship in Instant Classic

 

The Ballpark at Rosemont - Pritzker and Bulls Prep culminated the spring NAC season by facing off in the softball championship at the Ballpark in Rosemont on Sunday, June 5th.  Familiar adversaries, these two campuses had previously met for 2015-16 championships in Football, Boys and Girls Soccer and placed first and second at the NAC Cross Country championships.  They took the field Sunday with Pritzker racking up six NAC championships (Football, Girls Rugby, Boys and Girls Cross Country, Cheerleading, Girls Soccer) on the school year, followed closely by Bulls Prep with five (Boys Soccer, Girls Volleyball, Girls Basketball, Boys and Girls Track).  This was a match-up of perennial NAC powers and it definitely delivered.

In the bottom of the 2nd inning, Bulls Prep strung together six walks and a single to put up eight runs and take an 8-1 lead.  Both teams settled in over the course of the next two innings when Pritzker came to bat in the top of the 5th trailing 8-2.  Getting singles from Sr. Janira Gomez, So. Jocelyn Santos and adding four walks, Pritzker scored seven runs in the inning and took a 9-8 lead.  Asked about this momentum shift, Pritzker coach Emily Driessen said, “One of the best moments of this game was when the girls came together with positivity, support, and love for each other and were able to not only tie up the game, but take the lead. That was a huge moment of inspiration because as a team we have been working on perseverance all season.”  

Pritzker take 9-8 lead: https://twitter.com/NAC_Athletics/status/739589568584929284

Bulls Prep answered in the bottom half of the 5th by So. Kiaralene Acevedo leading off the inning with a single and later scoring to tie the game.  Headed to the top of the sixth tied at nine, the championship atmosphere was primed.  Utilizing singles from Sophomore’s Nanette Perez and Jocelyn Hernandez, Pritzker took the lead 10-9.  Bulls Prep came back in the bottom half scoring four runs and seemed to be in control heading to the top of the 7th with a three run lead.

The 7th inning will be remembered as one of the most exciting championship moments to date in the NAC.  Trailing 13-10, Pritzker sent their top of the order to the plate.  However, after three batters they were down to their last out with a runner on first.  After a Diamond Josephs walk and Perez single, Pritzker had two runners on trailing by two.  Santos hit a deep fly to right field that scored two and sent the Pritzker dugout into delirium.  They had scored three runs with two outs in their last at bat to tie the game.

Jocelyn Santos ties game: https://twitter.com/NAC_Athletics/status/739603704316350464

Having had little time to process and with the prospects of extra innings looming, Bulls Prep Sr. Elyssa Pina stepped into the batter’s box to lead off the bottom of the 7th.  She took the first pitch for a ball and then laced a triple to the gap.  Attempting to get Pina at third, the ball got away from the third baseman and Pina advanced home for the walk-off win as the Bulls Prep dugout emptied in celebration.  With four lead changes over the course of the final three innings, these NAC powers delivered a finish that will be remembered for quite some time.

In defeat, Mason touched on the season and championship, “I couldn’t be more proud of my team and the way they performed this season. Our season was all about overcoming adversity, and they truly showed that resilience in the championship game.  We finished the season with 12 strong, dedicated players. Each of them played a major part this season. We couldn't have made it this far without our senior leadership from Janira Gomez, Isabel Del Valle and Nitza Rosario. Our pitcher, Sophia Gomez, only pitched 4 games last season, and due to shifts in line-up, Sophia stepped up and pitched every game for us and showed a lot of leadership which is particularly exciting as she has two more years with our program.”

When asked what got them to this point, Bulls Prep coach Roberto Rosado said, “Our girls showed a lot of heart and resilience, as well as a refuse to quit attitude.”  It’s also no surprise the championship ended in dramatic fashion, “I've been coaching for a long time and I never had a playoff run which all of our games ended in our last at bat. I'm so proud of this team and how they handled this remarkable season.”  Rosado became the first NAC coach to win varsity championships in three different sports (Girls Basketball, Baseball and Softball).