With the exception of one setback to Glenbard West in the second game of a doubleheader, the OPRF baseball team enjoyed another productive week, winning three of four games.
The Huskies (5-1) split the aforementioned twin-bill with host Glenbard West on Saturday in West Suburban (Silver) Conference action, taking the first game 12-1 before losing a 5-4 heartbreaker to the Hilltoppers in Game 2. In the opener, Sam Cottingham-Beard just missed hitting for the cycle with a triple, double and two singles to spark the Huskies’ hitting attack. In the sixth inning, Matt McCormack smashed a two-run double and OPRF scored an additional run off a wild pitch to essentially seal the outcome. Cottingham-Beard, McCormack and Mike Brennan did the most damage offensively, combining for 10 hits and six RBI.
On the mound, starter Zach Weigel allowed one earned run and four hits while fanning five to pick up the win. Reliever Colin O’Brien also turned in a solid effort with two scoreless innings including two strikeouts.
In the other game, the Hilltoppers pulled out a 5-4 win in part due to their early offense. Glenbard West scored three runs in the first frame. Myles Purdom went 2-for-4 and scored three times for the Hilltoppers. Glenbard West sophomore Hayden Carlson gave up four runs, scattered six hits and struck out five Huskies to earn the victory.
Weigel reached base three times and had an RBI and run scored for OPRF which struggled, leaving way too many runners left on base.
“This was an extremely hard loss for our team,” OPRF coach Chris Ledbetter said. “We had the bases loaded with no outs in the seventh, trailing 5-4 and failed to score. We hit into four double plays with nobody out, and two of those four came with the bases loaded.
“We need to have a couple of great practices and compete better [next week] against Glenbard West. Winning the series would be a huge momentum builder for us.”
Fortunately, the Huskies came out on the right side of another thriller against Willowbrook last Wednesday, claiming a 9-8 win. The teams combined for 23 hits, including six for extra-bases.
Nick Kowalczuk went 3-for-3 at the plate for OPRF. Henry Cappell earned the win allowing three runs and five hits in 2-plus innings. Lefty reliever Max Guzzetta held the Warriors at bay throwing two innings of hitless ball, highlighted by two punchouts and no walks.
OPRF opened last week with a 6-3 victory against Prairie Ridge in Crystal Lake on March 26. Kowalczuk drove in three runs while Brennan yielded one earned run and one hit with five strikeouts over five innings to record the victory. Guzzetta earned the save with a scoreless frame.
“This was a great win against a highly-ranked opponent,” Ledbetter said after knocking off Prairie Ridge. “This is the same program we played in the 2008 championship game.”
That year, the Wolves edged the Huskies 3-2 in the Class 4A championship game. OPRF finished 29-10 that season.