The bats were lively and they were lively early for the OPRF baseball team against York on Saturday in a key West Suburban (Silver) Conference matchup.
The Huskies (8-3, 5-0) shut down the Dukes 7-1 in the opener and 3-0 in the nightcap of a doubleheader at OPRF.
In Game 1, the Huskies didn’t hesitate to get things going in the first inning. Patrick Rumoro and Sam Cottingham-Beard led things off with back-to-back singles. Michigan-bound Nick Kowalczuk followed with an RBI groundout to the third basemen to put the Huskies on the board, and junior Keith Rogalla gave the Huskies a 2-0 lead with a single to right field to score Alex Rice, who had walked in his at bat. The Huskies completed their first-inning scoring with an RBI single to right field from senior Charlie Fencik to give the Huskies a 3-0 lead.
“We saw the ball well,” Rogalla said. “We got a couple of fastballs early in the count and jumped on those. (York senior pitcher River Pitlock) is a great pitcher and had some good off-speed stuff, but we jumped on him early in the count.”
Rogalla went 3-for-3 with an RBI and a run scored in the first game, while Kowalczuk went 2-for-4 with two RBIs and a run scored. Junior pitcher Ian Luttrell threw five innings, giving up one run on three hits while striking out four and walking two. Rice came on in relief, pitching two shutout innings with one strikeout and no walks.
“(Luttrell) pitched a great game,” said Rogalla. “He got out of the first inning with a guy on third base, and we helped him out in the bottom of that inning and got some runs for him. He felt comfortable after that.”
Head coach Chris Ledbetter said fans will be seeing more of Luttrell in the future.
“(Luttrell) has had three dynamite outings for us. The more we get him out there, the more confident we are in him and the more confident he is in himself.”
Rice notched a two-RBI single to left-center in the sixth inning to score Cottingham-Beard and Kowalczuk to give the Huskies a 6-1 lead, and senior second baseman Jacob Harris followed with a pinch-hit RBI single to left field to seal the 7-1 victory for the Huskies.
“We’ve been hitting the ball well all year,” Rogalla said. “This was another game where we made some contact and got guys in prime position. We didn’t use a lot of power, but we got guys over with singles and got them in.”
Saturday was the first doubleheader in three weeks in which both games were played by the varsity team, and Ledbetter was glad to see his team come out swinging against one of the area’s top pitchers.
“We came out focused (in Game 1) against a great pitcher,” Ledbetter said. “(Pitlock) is a Division I type pitcher, so it was good to see our guys getting hits against him.”
In Game 2, Rice knocked in two RBIs on a homer to right field in the first inning, and Henry Cappell tossed a two-hit shutout in 6 1/3 innings with eight strikeouts.