Huskies halted by Hampshire in 4A quarters

OPRF baseball enjoys fun season with 24 wins, regional and sectional titles

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Melvin Tate

Contributing Reporter

The Oak Park and River Forest High School baseball team's postseason run fell one game short of advancing to the IHSA Class 4A semifinals at Silver Cross Stadium in Joliet.

Hampshire blanked the Huskies 4-0 in a supersectional game at Boomers Stadium in Schaumburg on Monday, June 3.

Matthew Jachec notched the shutout victory for the Whip-Purs, allowing just five hits and striking out nine hitters while issuing no walks. 

OPRF senior Nate Diamond turned in a credible performance on the mound in a losing effort. He gave up four runs (one unearned) on eight hits with three walks and five strikeouts in six innings. Offensively, Dylan Whitney went 3-for-4 for OPRF.

The Huskies' best chance to score came in the top of the fifth inning. With one out, Tregg Lofgran doubled. Whitney followed with a single as Lofgran was held at third. But Jachec struck out Alan Brown, and after Whitney stole second to give OPRF a pair of runners in scoring position, Luke Fitzgerald flied out to end the inning. 

Despite the disappointing loss, OPRF (24-13) accomplished a lot this spring under the guidance of head coach Joe Parenti and the assistant coaches.

Utility player Adam Landsman inspired the team's deep postseason run when he belted a walk-off two-run homer against Maine West in a regional final.

"Landsman's bomb in the bottom of the seventh inning was unbelievable," said Diamond, who will play college baseball at Pepperdine. "I've never been so pumped up and proud of our team's heart and fighting spirit. We were three outs away from being done, but that lit a fire in us because we weren't ready to hang it up."

Inspired by that dramatic win over the Warriors (who had knocked OPRF out of the playoffs the previous two seasons), the Huskies defeated Glenbrook South and New Trier to claim the Loyola Academy Sectional championship.

In the championship game against Glenbrook South on June 1, Tommy Cronin came up clutch for OPRF. He hit a three-run home run in the bottom of the fifth inning to give the Huskies the breathing room they needed en route to a 7-3 victory over the Titans. Creighton-bound Griffin Holderfield went the distance on the mound for OPRF. He gave up three runs on five hits, walked two and struck out ten.

In the semifinals, the Huskies trounced New Trier 12-2 in five innings.

Diamond earned the win for OPRF, giving up two runs on three hits with no walks and seven strikeouts. Offensively, six Huskies had two hits apiece as the team pounded out twelve overall against the Trevians.

"We had a pretty good season overall," Diamond said. "We won over 20 games and it was great winning both regionals and sectionals this year."

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