Baseball: Oak Park-River Forest sweeps Hinsdale Central
Updated: April 14, 2012 9:19PM
It might be hard to decide just who had the better game for Oak Park-River Forest Saturday.
Sophomore designated hitter Alex Rice smacked the first home run of his career in the first game against visiting Hinsdale Central and then responded with a grand slam in the second game to finish with seven RBI on the day.
The No. 3 Huskies swept the Devils 13-1 in five innings in the opener and won 9-2 in the second game.
The other candidate for single game MVP honors could be Seton Hall-bound pitcher-outfielder Zach Weigel, who raised his record to 4-0 by allowing four hits, no walks and striking out seven in the opener. In center field, Weigel also started the defensive play of the doubleheader in the second game when his diving catch led to a triple play in the top of the fourth with OPRF leading 3-1.
With the bases loaded, Will Howson ripped a sinking line drive that the left-handed Weigel rushed in to snag. Hinsdale Central’s runners at third base, Sam Burnett, and second base, Tom Delzenero, broke toward home on the batted ball and were double and tripled up when Weigel threw to shortstop Colin O’Brien to tag second base and then O’Brien’s throw to third baseman Michael Adams completed the triple play.
“I told the kids after the game that I was very impressed how the team was very focused after the first game,” OPRF coach Chris Ledbetter said.
The Huskies (11-1, 4-1) earned their first West Suburban Silver doubleheader sweep of the year since suffering their only loss of the season to Glenbard West 5-4 March 31 in the second game of a doubleheader. The Devils (7-9, 3-5) will send ace Adam Dressler to the mound to conclude the three-game series at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday in Hinsdale.
“It’s going to be a challenge, for sure,” Dressler said. “They definitely hit the ball. You have to mix the speeds up and keep them off balance. I beat them (4-2) last year. We definitely need a win Tuesday.”
Dressler, playing second base and batting third, went 2-for-2 with a double in the second game. Backup catcher Tyler Ward came in after Jay Richards was injured in the second inning of the opener and Ward went 2-for-2 with an RBI in Game 1 and he doubled and scored in Game 2.
OPRF has won six in a row while Hinsdale has lost six of its last seven games. The Devils had a six-game win streak earlier this season.
It was a rough day for Hinsdale Central starters Sam Burnett and Tom Bieber. Burnett gave up Rice’s first career homer when Rice pulled an inside fastball over the left field fence for a three-run homer. The grand slam to close to the identical spot of his first homer.
“It’s pretty exciting for me,” Rice said after the first game. “I couldn’t explain it. I didn’t hit a ball soft all game. We also had great pitching from Zach Weigel.”
All 13 of OPRF’s runs in the first game came in the first and second innings with two outs. The Huskies scored five runs on five hits in the first inning and added seven more runs in the second off Burnett. Reliever Andrew Eck allowed another run in the second as OPRF send 12 runners to the plate and scored on three wild pitches.
“I thought the guys that threw today, although Sam B. had a rough start and the exception of the grand slam; the guys threw the ball well. Adam beat them last year, but that was last year. It’s an important one for us Tuesday and it’s a home game,” Devils coach Justin Cronin said.
Weigel claimed to have one of his best outings of the season in the first game rout. With a 13-run cushion, Weigel said he started experimenting with a slider that he has been working on.
“Today, I felt the best I have felt all year; perhaps even last year,” Weigel said.
Joe McKune, who has at least one save this season, earned the victory in the second game.