After easily dispatching a pair of public league teams — Whitney Young 12-1 and Bogan 16-0 — to win the Argo Regional of the Class 4A baseball playoffs, Oak Park and River Forest High School now turns its attention to a talented trio of Catholic League foes –Mount Carmel, St. Rita and De La Salle — in the loaded St. Rita Sectional.
“It’s a familiar spot for us to be in because we played Mount Carmel in the sectional last year,” OPRF coach Chris Ledbetter said. “All four teams are good. St. Rita, Mount Carmel and us all kind of staggered at the end of the season. It will come down to which team can rebound the fastest. De La Salle has some good wins, too, and they beat Fenwick [6-2 win] in a regional.”
The host Mustangs play De La Salle today at 4:30 p.m., while OPRF takes on Mount Carmel Thursday (4:30 p.m.). The winners advance to the sectional championship game on Saturday (11 a.m.)
The Huskies (26-11) advanced to the sectional by defeating Young 12-1 in the Argo Regional title game. Senior starter Jack Rogalla was outstanding, throwing five innings and allowing one run and three hits. Rogalla, who signed with Binghamton (NY) last week, had excellent control of his pitches striking out seven and walking one.
“Rogalla eliminated any opportunity Young thought they had of winning that ballgame right from the start,” Ledbetter said. “He gave us our best pitching performance of the year. It was a great week for Jack pitching so well in the playoffs and signing with Binghamton.”
Offensively, OPRF scored early and often with three runs in the first inning and two more in the second inning in support of an in-form Rogalla. Alec Jeffries and Rogalla each had RBI hits in the second. The Huskies broke the game open in the third when Jack Picchiotti blasted a two-run homer and Tim Sutton and Andrew Godbold (2-for-3, RBI) added doubles. Picchiotti (3-for-4, 5 RBIs) hit another two-run home run in the fourth.
“Young had been on a roll winning like 13 games in a row and the city championship,” Ledbetter noted. “Our kids came out focused.”
In the their postseason opener, the Huskies scored nine runs in the first inning en route to a 16-0 victory against Bogan. Will Polley, John Nowicki, Jack Picchiotti, Rogalla and Godbold combined to knock in the nine runs.