Skiing accident puts OPRF starter out for season

? Team will be without two key starters now.

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By BRAD SPENCER, Sports Editor

A standout player on the Oak Park and River Forest baseball team suffered serious leg injuries while skiing in Breckinridge, Colo., during the weekend of Jan. 22-23.

Eric Lisle, who started at numerous positions for the Huskies last year, including pitcher, outfield and first base, ruptured three main ligaments in his right leg, severely dislocated his right knee and fractured his left leg when he lost control and hit a tree while skiing at a mountain resort with a school group called The Outdoor Adventure Club.

Lisle, a senior, underwent major reconstructive surgery at Rush Presbyterian Hospital in Oak Park yesterday (Tuesday) to repair the ACL, MCL and PCL ligaments in his right leg. A full recovery could take up to a year.

According to OPRF head baseball coach Chris Ledbetter, Lisle was slated to start at catcher this season with the departure of Ruairi O'Connor, who graduated early from High School in December to get a jump-start playing for Florida State University.

"He was definitely going to start somewhere," said Ledbetter of Lisle, who batted over .300, led the team in infield hits, and nailed two 380-foot homeruns in one game last year. "I had him down for some pitching as well because he's such a versatile athlete. We're going to miss him on the field, there's no doubt. We're all just hoping everything works out fine with the surgery and the recovery. Eric is a great athlete, but he's also a great student and leader at OPRF."

The Huskies finished 28-13 last year, winning the West Suburban (Silver) Conference, a State regional and sectional, before falling to eventual State champ Notre Dame in the Supersectional.

Ledbetter said he remains optimistic about the upcoming season, despite the loss of two key players from last year.

"It presents a challenge, but I still think we can win the conference championship and make noise in the State tournament," he said. "These are a bunch of talented and determined ballplayers. They'll find a way to get things done."

Lisle expressed the same confidence in his fellow players.

"Somebody will step up and fill in the role," he said last week before the surgery. "All the seniors will have huge years. I know that they are going to do all right."

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