AURORA – It was clear from the early stages of the Class 4A softball state championship game that if Lutheran could just keep things close, it would have a chance to defend its state championship.

Hailey Maestretti is all the Lions needed to keep things close. She struck out 11 hitters and allowed just a single run as the Lions beat Riverdale Ridge 6-1 at Aurora Sports Park to win their second straight state title.

That one run was off a Tegan Medina solo home run in the bottom of the second to give the Ravens a 1-0 lead.

“I left one a little too down the middle,” Maestretti said. “She did exactly what she was supposed to do.”

After the Lions (23-5 overall) broke out for 11 runs early in the day to get a win over Holy Family in the semifinals, it took a little time for the offense to get going in the championship game. It was in the top of the fifth that freshman Kiley Glenn hit a 2-RBI double to get Lutheran ahead. She added another RBI double in the top of the seventh to push the lead to 4-1. But it was all sparked by the double in the fifth.

“These teammates are like my family,” Glenn said. “They help through everything; my good and bad days.”

The Lions also scored on a couple of home runs in the game. Addi Cramer hit a solo shot in the top of the sixth and Meredith Barnhart blasted a 2-run shot in the top of the seventh that eventually pushed the lead to 6-1.

In the midst of all that, Maestretti was masterful in the circle. She struck out 11 hitters and the only time she got in a bit of danger was when the Ravens (26-3) loaded the bases in the bottom of the sixth. The Lions escaped the jam and it wasn’t long after that they were hoisting another state championship trophy.

For Maestretti it was an emotional moment considering an arm injury in the summer jeopardized her chances of playing a complete season. But she battled back and put together a storybook ending to her high school career.

“I was able to come back for this last tournament strong and willing to fight for my team and give it everything I have,” she said.

Maestretti was also 2-for-3 at the plate in the state championship game but didn’t score a run or even drive one in. That was a reason that the championship was so special; it was a genuine team effort where players either contributed from their spot in the lineup or with their work in the field.

This was the third fourth straight appearance in a state championship game for the Lions and the third straight win. They lost to Eaton in the 3A state title game in 2020 before beating University in 2021 and then they beat Holy Family in 2022 in their first year playing at 4A.

This was the first state championship game appearance for Riverdale Ridge and the Ravens will graduate just two seniors from the starting lineup.

(Dan Mohrmann/