Saturday ended up a day of frustration for the OPRF baseball team. After a week of focused practice prepping for a crucial West Suburban (Silver) Conference doubleheader against Hinsdale Central, the Huskies went cold at the plate and numb in the field, losing both games by a score of 5-3.
Any chance at a conference title went out the window as OPRF left a total of 18 runners stranded on the bases in the two games. To make matters worse, the team committed six errors in the opener and struck out seven times in the nightcap.
“This is not what I expected at all,” said a disappointed Chris Ledbetter, OPRF’s head coach. “We had a great week of practice but we played like we hadn’t practiced in months. And this is something that’s not just going to go away. We are going to have to play through it and get focused again before the playoffs start.”
In the opener, OPRF’s Alec Jeffries tied the score 1-1 with a solo homer in the second with two outs, but the Red Devils scored three in the third. Jack Picchiotti’s solo blast in the seventh came too late as the Huskies’ six errors had already led to three runs.
Jack Rogalla took the loss, yielding nine hits in seven innings with two strikeouts.
“For whatever reason when Jack pitches for us we don’t support him,” said Ledbetter. “I’m not setting the bar too high for these guys. These were routine plays that high school ballplayers should make. Jack has had to throw probably 30 extra pitches because of the errors behind him. It’s just not conducive to getting a win.”
While the fielding seemed to pick up a bit in Game 2, OPRF struggled at the plate. The Huskies fanned seven times and left 11 runners on base.
“We’re in a phase where we are doing the same things incorrectly and it’s getting frustrating,” added Ledbetter. “These guys need to start listening and understanding what we’re coaching. They need to make some changes and do it quick.
“The light at the end of the tunnel is that we’re not the only team that’s taking some losses right now. The question is who is going to bounce back the quickest, or are we going to continue to beat ourselves?”
With the two losses, the Huskies dropped to 10-7 in conference and 22-10 overall.
The Huskies wrap-up the regular season at Downers Grove South on Thursday. They’ll play either Bogan or Kelly in the first round of the Argo Regional on May 26.