In a key West Suburban Conference Silver Division baseball showdown May 2 in Western Springs, visiting Oak Park and River Forest High School used a four-run first inning to pave the way to a 5-3 victory over Lyons Township High School.
“It was a great win,” said OPRF coach Kevin Campbell. “We went through a bit of a rough patch the past two weeks and just weren’t in sync. Now we’re having much better approaches at the plate, and our starting pitchers [David Andolina, Calvin Proskey and Cole Shamhart] are all rolling and giving us an opportunity to win each time out.”
Leadoff hitter Kevin Cortez began the game with a single off LTHS starting pitcher Luke Stockbridge, then Ezra Moore and Dan Michaud followed with singles to bring home Cortez and give the Huskies (11-8, 5-5 in WSC Silver) a 1-0 lead.
After a Jack Flagg walk loaded the bases, John Phillip Ferraro (2-for-4) was called out on strikes. But OPRF’s next hitter, Jack Chambers, reached on an error by LTHS shortstop James Blokell, allowing Moore to score.
Maddox Neumann followed with a RBI single to right that plated Michaud, then Shamhart hit a sacrifice fly to make the score 4-0 in favor of the Huskies after the first inning.
“The guys that might not have been everyday guys at the start of the season have really stepped up lately,” Campbell said. “Our depth is starting to show up and gives us a lot of flexibility in our lineup.”
After the Lions (13-7, 8-5) rallied for a run in the fourth inning and two in the fifth, OPRF came up with an insurance run in the top of the sixth. Ferraro led off with a single and courtesy runner Jack Gooch advanced to second when Moore was hit by a pitch. Neumann sacrificed the runners over, but Gooch was thrown out at home on a fielder’s choice.
It looked as if the Huskies would come up empty, but Mason Phillips hit a grounder that was mishandled by LTHS third baseman Jack Falls, allowing Moore to score.
Andolina pitched five innings to get the win for OPRF. He allowed three runs, four hits, and three walks with six strikeouts.
Jack Spinks pitched the last two innings, getting out of a bases-loaded jam in the sixth and inducing a game-ending double play in the seventh, to earn the save.
“The bullpen has been outstanding the last four games,” Campbell said. “We still want to get the most out of each starting pitcher, but the ability to call on four or five guys out of the pen with a lot of confidence is again giving us the flexibility to match-up and keep everyone rested for the long run.”
The Huskies sit in fourth place in the West Suburban Silver, trailing leader Downers Grove North by two games in the loss column. After a rematch at home with LTHS on May 3 after press time, OPRF will again meet the Lions in Western Springs on May 5, then host Addison Trail for Senior Day on May 6.