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By Brad Spencer
The headline for the preview story on the OPRF baseball team that ran in Wednesday Journal near the end of March was "Sunny days ahead for OPRF baseball." But the truth of the matter is the Huskies have been mostly under a dark cloud ever since returning from their trip to Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., over spring break.
The prolonged wet — and sometimes cold — weather of spring has forced postponements of postponements, not to mention disrupted the scheduling of pitching rotations for OPRF head coach Chris Ledbetter. The Huskies finally played their first game against West Suburban (Silver) Conference leader Lyons Township on Monday, falling to the Lions 6-0. The game was a makeup of a previously postponed game.
"It's been extremely aggravating but there's nothing that can be done about it," said Ledbetter of the weather. "What I'm finding difficult and frustrating is the fact that some of the younger guys who need to develop their skills aren't getting the opportunity because of how the games have been so spread out. Coaches have a tendency to go with their starters if the starters haven't played in four to five days."
Coming off a 10-4 loss to highly-ranked Leyden on Thursday, the skies stayed dry long enough for the Huskies to sweep Glenbard West in doubleheader action on Saturday. In the 6-3 opener, Will Polley, who is usually held to pitch the backend of a series, went to the mound for seven innings. He yielded three runs on 10 hits, while fanning seven and walking two.
OPRF's Alec Jeffries hit a solo homer in the second to tie the score at 2-2. In the fifth inning, Eric Cybulski doubled in Ryan Kurtzer. Matt McCormack hit a sacrifice fly before Jack Picchiotti drove in another run with a solo homer. A single by Zack Weigel with two outs in the sixth drove in a run for the Huskies.
Weigel also earned the 5-2 nightcap victory, allowing two runs on seven hits in a complete game. He struckout 10.
OPRF had to come from behind in the second game as well. Down 1-0 in the third, McCormack (2-for-4) drove in PJ Brennan (2-for-3) with a single. A balk by the Glenbard West pitcher allowed Cybulski to score from third.
The Huskies broke the game open in the sixth with three runs. With the bases loaded, Jeffries and Mike Brennan hit back-to-back fly balls to score runs. PJ Brennan closed out the scoring with an RBI double in the inning.
OPRF's record is 11-6 overall and 5-4 in the conference.
"That level of consistency is very hard for us to find right now," said Ledbetter. "We want to work on things individually and collectively as a team, and we just haven't been able to do that."
The Huskies were scheduled to play a game everyday this week, including against Lyons Township today (Wednesday, April 27) and Proviso West on Saturday (2 p.m.).
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