Baseball: Oak Park-River Forest edges Evanston for regional title
Updated: May 26, 2012 5:01PM
Pitchers dominated the day as host Oak Park-River Forest edged Evanston 2-1 to take the Class 4A Regional title Saturday.
The No. 2-seeded Huskies (26-9-1) used RBI ground outs by Nick Kowalczuk and Alex Rice in the fourth to score Zach Weigel and Jack Picchiotti. Weigel and Picchiotti singled the first hits off Evanston starter Jordan Crawford (6 IP, 3 hits, 6 K’s), who retired the first nine Oak Park hitters.
The No. 7 seed Wildkits (17-19) tallied their only run in the sixth off of Huskies reliever Henry Cappell without the benefit of a hit. Brandon Vamarasi and Julian Gonzalez both walked and moved up a base after a wild pitch. With one out, Max Siedlecki hit a sacrifice fly to center, scoring Vamarasi.
“We knew coming in this game was going to be tough,” admitted Oak Park coach Chris Ledbetter. “Their pitcher (Crawford) has no-hitters, he only gave up one run the last time he pitched against us, and this is a No. 7 seed that has fought tooth and nail against Maine South twice, beat New Trier, so we knew our chances to score were going to be limited.
“Zach (Weigel) got a great read on Jack’s (Picchiotti) single and made it to third and after that we went into the game knowing we were going on contact in that situation. That was our plan all day – make them make plays.”
Oak Park starting pitcher Joe McKune hadn’t pitched in over two weeks because of arm tenderness, but it wasn’t evident Saturday. He went five innings and allowed two hits, striking out six and walking one before he was relieved by Cappell in the sixth. Weigel got the call in the seventh and retired the Wildkits in order, including two strikeouts, for the save.
“I felt good and refreshed out there and after not throwing for a couple of weeks I was a little out of sorts, but we got the win and that’s matters,” McKune said. “My slider was my go-to pitch today. No change-ups, a couple curves, but slider-fastball was what was getting them out.”
Now he said he is prepared for the team’s next challenge at the Evanston Class 4A Sectional beginning Thursday.
“I really think this team can go all the way,” McKune said. “I think we have the guys who have it in their heart, and we’re deep in pitching, so I believe we have a shot.”