Girls softball heading to state: the Rocks won’t know what hit them

Fans gather to cheer on the softball team as they head to Peoria for state. 
June 7, 2018

Fans gather to cheer on the softball team as they head to Peoria for state. June 7, 2018

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Today, the girls softball team was sent off to the IHSA State tournament with a police escort. They will be playing in the 4A division and competing against the most successful teams in the state for the championship. The finals and semifinals will be taking place at East Peoria’s Eastside Center Stadium and can be viewed on the NFHS network.

Fellow student athletes, fans, and staff sported pom poms, spirit wear and noisemakers while beaming with pride. The York Dukes (28-12-1) will take on the Rocks of Rock Island High School (30-5) in tomorrow’s 3:00 p.m. semi-final at the Eastside Center. This year’s team consists of 18 student athletes, 13 of which are upperclassmen. Based on the outcome of their first game, the girls will play either Palatine HS (29-5) or Plainfield North HS (28-5) on Saturday.

“It’s pretty cool,” Jason Litton, an accompanying police officer said. “It’s exciting that the students get a send off from police, and they get an escort with lights and sirens.”

Sirens could be heard echoing outside the school as an announcement came that the team was leaving. The team was supported by motorcycles, vans, cars and local and state police.

It’s “very exciting,” Michelle Derkowski, mother of softball players Julia and Lauren Derkowski, said. “This team is coming together and doing great things.”

This year the Dukes took home the West Suburban Silver Conference Champion title. They also claimed their seventh regional title in ten years.

“This may be a once in a lifetime opportunity for them,” said Sophomore Girls Basketball Head Coach Mr. Cass Rufus, filled with pride.

York is ranked 31 in the state. Out of 16 teams who qualified for the tournament in the 4A division, they are one of four left.

“Heck yeah!” Mr. Ryan Doherty, assistant principal, said, after being asked if he was excited. “It’s always good to see peoples’ dedication have results…These kids have devoted a lot of time outside of school and in the summer.”

The three teams were selected in February, and they have had practice nearly everyday since. In addition, these girls condition by participating in yoga and weight training.

“As long as we trust our team, we’ll be good,” said all-star freshman pitcher Lauren Derkowski.