Baseball: Oak Park-River Forest rallies late to beat New Trier
Updated: June 1, 2012 10:57PM
Oak Park-River Forest came back from a seven-run deficit to beat New Trier 8-7 on Nick Kowalczuk’s walk-off RBI-single in a Class 4A Evanston Sectional semifinal on Friday.
Jack Picchiotti’s three-run home run highlighted the Huskies five run sixth that pulled Oak Park within 7-5 off New Trier southpaw Nick Hedge (6 IP, 5 runs, 9 hits, 3 walks, 8 strikeouts).
The momentum was still with the Huskies (27-9-1) in the bottom of the seventh when Joe McKune and Jack Belcaster each had RBI singles. After a sacrifice bunt and an intentional walk to Picchiotti, Kowalczuk hit a ground ball toward right that eluded Trevians second baseman Max Thoma and scored McKune to complete the comeback.
McKune held the Trevians (26-11) scoreless in 4 1/3 innings of relieft to earn the victory, allowing one hit and a walk while striking out four.
“This is the type of momentum you ride. I can’t tell you how proud I am of the guys, the way they battled. Guys who were 0-for-2 coming up with bunt base hits, moving runners along. I’ve never seen us come back from being down so many runs before, especially in that fashion – bloop hit, smoked ball, home run, bunt hit, move a guy over, passed ball. I think it had almost every baseball play imaginable in it.”
Oak Park starting pitcher Zach Weigel strugled early with his control as he walked in a run and hit a batter to force in another after run after an error. Weigel gave up another hit and a walk before he recorded an out.
After New Trier’s Josh Perlmutter (2 runs, RBI) reached on an error with two outs in the second, Chris Hall (2-for-4, 3 RBI, 2 runs) drilled a two-run homer to left field.
“Our bats went to sleep a little bit and their pitcher (McKune) did a good job in relief,” New Trier head coach Mike Napoleon said. “I think Nick (Hedge) got a little tired to be honest, and their hitters, especially at the lower part of the order really battled, forcing him to throw extra pitchers, drawing some walks, then they have their good hitters coming up. When something like that happens you know it’s eventually going to come back and bite you. That five-spot in the sixth really gave them the momentum and we went down quietly in the seventh and they kept it going.”