The Fenwick High School baseball team won its second consecutive IHSA Class 3A regional title on May 27, blanking Payton Prep 3-0 in the Prosser Regional final.

Juniors Mike Sosna and Justin Pinkowski were a powerful duo on the mound for the Friars (15-16), allowing the Grizzlies a combined four hits for the day. Sosna started and was wildly effective. He issued five walks and allowed three hits over 4.1 innings, but he also had 10 strikeouts.

Pinkowski relieved Sosna in the fifth with two Payton runners on and one out. But he struck out Nick Linares and got Brendan Haviland to fly out to left fielder Tommy Clark to end the threat. Pinkowski allowed one hit and struck out three in 2.2 innings to notch the save.

“They both did very well,” said Fenwick coach Kyle Kmiecik. “They have some similarities but a lot more differences, and they can work well together.”

Fenwick’s bats didn’t do much, getting just five hits off of Grizzlies’ pitcher Maxwell McNamara (6 IP, 3 ER). But the Friars managed to make the most from some small ball.

Alex Boliker led off the bottom of the third with a double. He moved up on Clark’s single and scored on a fielder’s choice by Ian MacKinnon.

With one out in the fourth, Ben Jarnecke walked and Ryan Lazewski singled. Finnlay Koch then hit a ground ball to second that forced out Lazewski, but Linares’ relay throw to first was errant, allowing Jarnecke to score. Koch stole second and came home on an RBI single by Tanner Malchow.

“We knew it would be tough, but we got timely hitting when we needed it,” Kmiecik said.

The Friars are hosting a Class 3A sectional for the second consecutive year and will face Ridgewood in a semifinal June 1 at 4 p.m. on the Priory Campus. The winner meets the winner of the Niles Notre Dame/St. Patrick semifinal for the sectional championship June 3.

OPRF bows out in regional semis

For the second consecutive year, the Oak Park and River Forest High School baseball team saw its season end with a defeat in the first state playoff game.

The Huskies entered the IHSA Class 4A Mount Carmel Sectional having won four straight and eight of their last nine games. But that momentum came to a crashing halt with a 2-1 loss to Reavis on May 25 in a Kenwood Regional semifinal.

OPRF (17-18) struggled at the plate, managing just four hits against Rams’ starting pitcher Nathan Montalto (7 IP, 1 ER, 3 BB, 9 K). Ethan Moore had two hits and drove in the Huskies’ only run with a triple that plated Carlo Lissuzzo in the top of the third.

Moore’s hit came with no outs, but he got stranded at third as Patrick Carmody, Brady Green, and J.P. Ferraro all went down on strikes.

“[Montalto] was really good,” said OPRF coach Kevin Campbell. “We couldn’t get him out of his rhythm.”

The missed opportunity ultimately came back to haunt OPRF as Reavis (20-16) took the lead with three consecutive hits off Huskies’ ace Calvin Proskey to start the bottom of the fifth. Noah Caceres supplied the big blow for the Rams with a two-run double.

OPRF loses 12 seniors, and Campbell thanked them for their leadership in a year that saw the Huskies play home games at three different sites (West Field, Triton College, Concordia University) due to the beginning of construction on the new track and field facility.

“I appreciate and love those guys for everything they did,” he said. “We were dealt a weird hand with the renovation of our field and asking them to play off-campus at Triton and Concordia. There was a lot that took place and I’m really happy with how they handled it.”

The Huskies return 12 players next year, and Campbell wants them to use the back-to-back early postseason exits to fuel their hunger.

“I told them to remember what this feels like,” he said. “We have a good number of returners, and the hopes are really high again going into 2024.”

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