Whenever Oak Park-River Forest and Lyons Township meet on the baseball field, anything can happen. Saturday night’s doubleheader at Standard Bank Field in Crestwood was no exception as the West Suburban (Silver) Conference rivals battled late into the evening despite a scary injury to the Lions’ Chas Straface.

Lyons Township (17-6-1, 10-3) swept the highly anticipated twin-bill by scores of 9-6 in Game 1 and 3-2 in Game 2.

LT senior C.J. Esposito set the tone early in the opening game when he grooved a two-run single up the middle that sparked the Lions to a 3-0 lead in the first inning.

While Huskies starting pitcher Kyle Glancy (5-2) labored on the mound, Esposito (4-for-5, 5 RBIs) continued to apply the pressure via his red-hot bat by adding a two-run double in the second and a solo home run in the fourth.

Trailing 5-0, the Huskies (17-7, 11-3) roared back with four runs in the third inning. OPRF outfielder Mike Michon broke up Brian Lorenz’s no-hitter by smashing a sharp single to right. Andy Brashler added a single to right on a well executed hit and run.

With runners on the corners and no outs, Max Edwards stroked a single, scoring Michon. After a walk to Sam Picchiotti loaded the bases, Mike Locasto grounded out to first to score a run. Drew Golz then hit a sacrifice fly, and Joe Kelty added an RBI single.

Lorenz restored order when he fanned the Huskies’ Vince Lucchese to end the frame.

Despite their rally, OPRF coach Chris Ledbetter sensed something wasn’t right with Glancy or the Huskies even before the first pitch.

“I’ve never seen Kyle like that before,” Ledbetter said about his NIU-bound pitcher. “Something was funky because he has been lights out for us all year. [Today] our pregame was the worst we have had all year. There are no excuses.”

With the Lions holding a 6-4 lead in the fourth, LT had runners on first and second with no outs when Straface squared up to bunt. Luke McCleese, an OPRF reliever, threw a fastball that may have ricocheted off Straface’s bat and hit the LT third baseman on the mouth. Coaches and athletic trainers tended to Straface for nearly an hour before he was taken by ambulance to a local hospital. Lyons head coach George Ushela said Straface underwent successful surgery to restore lost and damaged teeth.

The Lions tacked on three more runs in the fourth when play resumed, extending their lead to 9-4. Brian Zotti provided a clutch two-run single to spark the run.

“We really rallied after that delay,” said LT second baseman Ryan McMillin. “We did what Chas would have wanted us to do and we won.”

The Huskies responded again with two runs of their own to pull within 9-6.

“The key for us is keeping our focus,” said OPRF shortstop JoJo Maldonado. “When we do that, we’re fine.”

Lorenz (3-1) threw well for LT, allowing seven hits and fanning seven during a gutsy complete-game effort. The Lions committed three costly errors in the fourth.

Conversely, the Huskies hurt their cause on the mound by issuing 12 walks and using five pitchers.

In the nightcap, LT’s Esposito (6-0) struckout nine over seven innings and Trefil hit a three-run triple in the fifth en route to the 3-2 victory.

OPRF faces another big rival on Friday. The Huskies take on Fenwick (14-6, 7-6 Catholic League White) at UIC at 7:30 p.m.

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Marty Farmer

The Illinois Press Association recently honored Marty with the 1st & 2nd Place Awards for Best Sports Feature for his article He's in an Oak Park state of mind: Former OPRF star Iman Shumpert returns...