With the Chicago skyline as a backdrop, the OPRF baseball team shutout its cross-town rival Fenwick 5-0 at UIC on Friday night to earn village bragging rights.
The Huskies (21-7 overall) followed up the victory with a doubleheader sweep of Downers Grove North on Saturday to secure lone possession of the West Suburban (Silver) Conference title. Meanwhile, the Friars (15-8) closed out their Chicago Catholic League (White) schedule with a hard-fought 9-8 loss to St. Ignatius.
Friday night’s big city win for OPRF was largely due to pitcher Eric Halla, who kept the Friars at bay by yielding just four hits through 4 2/3 innings. Halla allowed a walk and fanned two. Luke McLeese closed out the win for the Huskies, allowing three hits in 2 1/3 innings.
Cam Verbeke took the loss for the Friars, who left eight base runners stranded in the game. Verbeke yielded five runs-four earned-on eight hits in 6 2/3 innings.
Jo Jo Maldanado drove in OPRF’s first run of the night with a single in the fifth inning. Drew Golz, Joe Kelty, and Kyle Glancy also finished with RBIs.
The Huskies crushed Downers Grove North on Saturday 8-3 and 7-3 to push their Silver Division record to 14-3. The Huskies have now won or shared the conference title four out of the last five years.
Glancy earned the win over the Trojans in the opener, allowing three runs-two earned-on five hits. He also had a double and two-run homer in the win.
Golz struckout 10 batters in six innings to lead OPRF to the nightcap win. Kelty’s triple in the sixth drove in two runs to pin the score at 7-3.
Scott Rasley closed out both games for the Huskies, fanning a total of five in the two games.
“I like where we’re at right now as a team,” said OPRF head coach Chris Ledbetter. “Things were a bit challenging at the beginning of the year, but we seem to be clicking now.”
Rough week for Friars
The letdown against its rival may have carried over to Saturday for Fenwick. The Friars fell behind 6-0 to St. Ignatius after just the first inning, but bounced back in the second with a two-run double by Joe Ketcik. The rip that reached the warning track in left-center field put the score at 6-3.
The Friars closed the gap to 9-8 in the sixth. With two outs, Mike Falsetti blasted his own two-run double, and St. Ignatius allowed a run to score on a throwing error. But Fenwick was unable to produce any runs in the final stanza.
“We did not come ready to play,” said Fenwick head coach Dave Hogan, whose team committed three errors in the first inning. “You just can’t give up that many runs to a team like St. Ignatius. It’s a lot to overcome. I mean they certainly battled back, but we shouldn’t have been in that situation in the first place.”
On Thursday, the Friars also succumbed to St. Ignatius 7-5. The team closed out the CCL with a 6-8 record.
“It was a rough week for us overall,” said Hogan. “It was just too many mental mistakes. We need to go into the final week of the season with our heads up and gain some momentum before heading into the playoffs.”
The Huskies, who were awarded a No. 2-seed in the Mt. Carmel Sectional, will kick-off the playoffs at home on May 21 against either Farragut or Kelly. The fourth-seeded Friars will battle through the Lyons Township Regional beginning on the same day against either Proviso West or Curie. Fenwick could face Lyons in the regional title game on May 24.