By Marty Farmer
I suppose any time OPRF and Fenwick square off in an athletic event, that's the best matchup (and rivalry) in town. In over a decade and change of area sports coverage, I've also discovered that the annual baseball series between OPRF and Lyons Township is about as good as it gets.
In 2012, OPRF outlasted LT 4-3 in the Class 4A state championship game. OPRF senior centerfielder Mike Brennan laced a game-winning single off LT ace Steve Heilenbach into right-field, scoring OPRF catcher Jack Picchiotti to trigger the Huskies' first state title celebration since 1981. Under the guidance of head coach Chris Ledbetter, the Huskies also earned runner-up finishes in the state playoffs in 2001 and 2008.
In the past three seasons, LT has won the 2011 Class 4A state championship, finished second in the state in 2012 and played in the last two IHSBCA summer state title games, winning one.
Obviously, each program has enjoyed more than its share of success in recent years.
The Huskies and Lions kick off a three-game set Friday (4:30 p.m.) and play again tomorrow at 2 p.m., a game which I will attend and can't wait to see. The series closes on Monday as the Huskies will host LT, after the Lions host the games Friday and Saturday.
Both teams are loaded with deep pitching staffs and rock solid lineups. The Huskies are led by versatile players like Sam Cottingham-Beard, Alex Rice, Ian Luttrell, Patrick Rumoro and Keith Rogalla. I'm picking the Huskies to take two out of three and claim the series. Regardless of who claims this early season showdown, both teams will be in the mix for the conference title and potentially a deep run in the playoffs.