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The OPRF baseball team received a little help from the weather during Saturday’s doubleheader sweep of Downers Grove North. Combined with the team’s powerful battering ram, the wind helped propel some balls over the fence in Oak Park as the Huskies downed the Trojans 17-8 in the opener and squeaked past their West Suburban (Silver) Conference rivals 13-12 in the nightcap.

With gusty winds blowing out, sluggers like Jack Picchiotti, John Frueh, Andrew Godbold, Neil Rothschild and Joe Gerace had a big day at the plate for the Huskies (9-2). In the opener, Picchiotti went 4-for-5 with four RBIs and three doubles, while Frueh was 3-for-5 with four RBIs and a three-run homer. Godbold also belted a solo shot in the opener to go along with a double.

Jack Rogalla (2-1) earned the win in Game 1, racking up 10 strikeouts while yielding eight runs – five earned – off 10 hits.

OPRF went up 12-6 early in Game 2, but the Trojans came back with six runs in the sixth. Rothschild, who went 3-for-4 in the second game, drove in the game-winning RBI in the seventh. Gerace, who scored the game-winner, had three singles and a triple in Game 2.

“They were both big victories for us, because we were coming of a disappointing loss to York,” said OPRF head coach Chris Ledbetter. “It really gave us a lift. Downers North is a really good team and to get two victories out of them is big for us.”

Picchiotti’s bat didn’t let up in the second game. The sophomore catcher went 2-for-4 with three RBIs, including a three-run homer. He also helped get his team out of a jam in the fifth inning. With two outs and the bases loaded, Picchiotti picked a runner off first base to get out of the inning.

“Teams are starting to catch on that it’s not easy to steal against our catcher,” said Ledbetter. “Word is getting around.”

The Huskies lost their conference opener to York 3-1. OPRF was stymied by 6-foot-5 right-hander Steven Adkins, who yielded just four hits while fanning eight in six innings. OPRF’s only run came when Adkins hit Godbold in the sixth with bases loaded. Two errors on the part of the Huskies in the fourth led to two runs by the Dukes.

OPRF hosts Hinsdale South on Thursday (4:30 p.m.) and travels to Loyola on Friday. On Saturday, the Huskies head to Lyons Township for a doubleheader (Game 1, 10 a.m.).

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Brad Spencer

Brad Spencer has been covering sports in and around Oak Park for more than a decade, which means the young athletes he once covered in high school are now out of college and at home living with their parents...