Mt. Carmel 11
One thing went the OPRF baseball team’s way in the third inning of the Mt. Carmel Sectional semifinals last week, but that was about it.
OPRF’s Sam Picchiotti looked to be picked off second base by Mt Carmel pitcher Kevin Johnson in the top of the inning, but the ump said Picchiotti had called timeout. The Huskies’ good luck didn’t last long as the Caravan responded in the bottom of the inning with seven runs on their way to an 11-4 victory.
“The momentum shifted for sure and we didn’t respond,” said OPRF Chris Ledbetter. “We ended up walking some guys and practically made it impossible to battle back at that point.”
John Frueh got OPRF on the board with an RBI single in the first inning. But Mt. Carmel seemed to rally after the controversial call in the top of the third. Steven Bajenski’s RBI double and Brad Myjak’s two-run single were part of the four-hit inning. The Caravan added another run in the fourth and three more in the sixth.
Picchiotti, who was swiped of a two-run homer in the fifth when the Mt. Carmel left-fielder snagged it at the fence, belted one in the seventh to give the Huskies some late hope. But Johnson (9-2) fanned the side to end the game.
The Huskies finish the season with an overall record of 20-15, which was buoyed by a 13-game win-streak before falling to Mt. Carmel. They won their third-straight West Suburban (Silver) Conference with a mark of 16-2. No team in the conference since it was realigned in 2001 has won 16 games or more in one season. This season also marked the first time the program ever won three-straight conference titles.
OPRF loses 10 seniors to graduation, including starters Picchiotti, Mike Locasto, Jo Jo Maldonado and pitchers Luke McLeese and Evan Vondrasek. Maldonado was awaiting word on whether or not he may be selected in Tuesday evening’s Major League Baseball draft (after deadline). If not, the shortstop was headed to Howard Junior College in Texas.