Oak Park and River Forest High School’s Jack Flagg stepped to the plate in the sixth inning June 7 with two outs and a man on third. The second-seeded Huskies were trailing seventh-seeded Von Steuben in the IHSA Class 4A regional finals by a run, and Flagg took a simple approach to his at-bat.
“I was looking for the right pitch,” he said. “Coach [Joe] Parenti said look for a perfect pitch and don’t do too much.”
Flagg’s strategy paid off as he belted a go-ahead two-run homer that proved to be decisive as the Huskies slipped past the Panthers 8-7 to claim the regional title and advance to face No. 3-seed Evanston in the IHSA sectional semifinal round on June 9 at 4:30 p.m. at Triton College.
“Both teams absolutely battled,” said Parenti. “Von Steuben didn’t go away and kept fighting. It’s a well-coached team with a lot of great players, and they’ve got a bright future ahead.”
Von Steuben scored three runs in the top of the third inning to break a scoreless tie, but OPRF struck back in the bottom half with three runs of their own. Ethan Glossa’s triple scored Jared Cortez and Josh Diamond, then Glossa scored when the relay throw got away.
The Huskies (16-7) then staged a two-out rally with no one on base to take a 6-3 lead in the fourth. Flagg doubled in Quinn Flemming and Dan Michaud, then came home on a single by Gio Pamias.
Von Steuben wouldn’t quit, however, and the Panthers got two runs in the fifth on a single and a RBI groundout.
Then Von Steuben took a 7-6 lead in the sixth on a RBI single by Joe Gonzalez and a sacrifice fly by Eduardo Letamendi.
In OPRF’s half of the inning, Diamond doubled to lead off and Glossa reached on an error by Gonzalez to put runners on first and third. Michaud then bounced into a double play, but Diamond stayed at third base.
However, Flagg bailed out the Huskies with his clutch home run to center off Panthers’ reliever Jakob Sfikas.
“We had a bit of a hiccup in the sixth,” Parenti said. “We needed someone to step up big, and did Jack deliver. You can’t get any better than that.”
Flagg went 3-for-4 with four RBI on the day for OPRF, while Glossa, Michaud, and Pamias each had two hits.
Cole Shamhart, who started the game playing third base, pitched the final 1.2 innings to gain the victory for the Huskies.
“I was looking to throw first-pitch strikes,” said Shamhart. “I used a variety of pitches and attacked the zone.”
The Huskies opened postseason play June 4 with a 10-0 rout of visiting Proviso East in six innings.
Shamhart pitched a one-hit shutout for OPRF, striking out 11 with no walks. Michaud went 3-for-4 and had four RBI. Glossa tripled twice and drove in two runs, while Diamond and Flagg each had two hits.
Montini no-hits Friars in season finale
Fenwick High School’s baseball team had its season ended June 7 in the IHSA Class 3A regional title game as two Montini pitchers combined for a no-hitter, leading the Broncos to 5-0 win
The loss gave the Friars a final record of 6-17-1.
In the postseason opener on June 4, the Friars held off Bulls Prep 10-8 at the Priory in River Forest.
Pearse Gorman’s two-run RBI single in the fifth inning broke a 7-7 tie and put Fenwick ahead to stay. Gorman and Luke Mockler each went 2-for-3, while Will Mazzocchi drove in two runs for the Friars.