By Brad Spencer
If you see Mel Kolbusz, the longtime softball coach at OPRF High School, give him a hug. He needs one.
Kolbusz, who last year was inducted into OPRF’s Coaches Hall of Fame, is enduring a rough start to the season. His team of talented players, that are just as frustrated as he is, are off to a 1-6 start and have lost five games in a row, something that has never occurred with Kolbusz as head coach. To make matters worse, the Huskies lost 4-2 to cross-town rival Fenwick this week, something that hasn’t happened since Justin Bieber came into the world (in the physical sense).
Kolbusz’s team of 2005 won the Class AA State Championship. Backed by ace Leah Bry last year, the Huskies won 21 games. Bry, who racked up 321 strikeouts, is now at Butler. But while OPRF’s pitchers are doing a respectable job this season, the errors in the field — mostly throwing — have hurt the team.
The thing about it is, the Huskies are good, and it’s likely they’ll pull themselves out of this rough start soon. But the losing is all new to Kolbusz, and he doesn’t like it.
Last season he had to experience something for the first time as well. During a game against Lyons Township exactly a year ago this month, an umpire called one of his players out for interference after she hit a two-run homer. Apparently, one of her teammates touched her before she finished her trot around the bases.
“In all my years of coaching, I've never seen such a thing called,” groaned Kolbusz at the time.
He’s been coaching softball for 25 years, 18 as skipper at OPRF. And now a 1-6 start and a loss to Fenwick?
The coach needs a hug.