By Brad Spencer
A trip south to the sunshine state has apparently done the OPRF baseball team some good. The Huskies went 4-1 in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., and made it to the Hall of Fame Spring Classic title game where they fell to hometown team Flagler Palm 12-7.
But OPRF was the talk of the town, setting a new tournament record with 14 homers in three games. The Huskies opened the tourney by pummeling two-time state title winners First Baptist of South Carolina 15-0. Zack Weigel, who led all batters in the tournament by going 11-for-15, led the onslaught by driving in four runs off a double and homer. Tim Sutton had a three-run blast that drove in three runs for the Huskies, while Alec Jeffries went 3-for-4 with three RBIs, including a two-run homer. Nick Kowalczuk (2-for-4) also had a two-run blast.
Will Polley earned the victory on the mound by allowing just three hits in four innings. He struck out five.
OPRF's bats didn't let up in the second round, and the howling wind aided their efforts at the plate. Down 12-2 after three innings to South Fork of Stewart, Fla., the Huskies came back to secure a 16-14 victory.
Two-year starter Jack Picchiotti (3-for-5) hit two homers in the win, including a grand slam. He finished with five RBIs. PJ Brennan nearly hit for the cycle, finishing with a single, double and two-run homer. Ryan Kurtzer had two singles and a three-run dinger.
"This has been a great experience for these guys," said OPRF head coach Chris Ledbetter. "We've had some uncharacteristic errors, but overall we've played well to start the season."
In a precursor to the title game match-up, the Huskies edged Flagler Palm 10-9 in the third round. OPRF committed seven errors — six of which were throwing mishaps — but hit six homers in the game. Weigel (3-for-3), Sutton (1-for-3), Jeffries (1-for-3), Frank Picchiotti (1-for-3) and Brennan (2 HRs) all went long for the Huskies.
In a non-tournament game, OPRF downed University School at Nova (Fla.) 4-3.
The Huskies were scheduled to begin West Suburban (Silver) Conference play against York this week.