Oak Park’s Weigel Ks eight of first nine in win
Updated: May 27, 2011 8:03PM
Zach Weigel has proved that he is capable of hitting. But Friday, the left-handed junior helped Oak Park-River Forest win its playoff opener on the mound.
Weigel has been waiting two days to make his postseason debut and took advantage of the opportunity by pitching a two-hitter with 10 strikeouts in the Class 4A OPRF Regional semifinal. The fourth-seeded Huskies (26-9) won 10-0 in five innings over 13th-seeded Proviso East.
The Huskies host fifth-seeded De La Salle or 12th-seeded Lincoln Park in the regional final at noon Saturday.
Weigel struck out eight of the first nine batters he faced and struck out the side in the first and third inning. The 6-foot, 170-pound center fielder has pitched in only a handful of games this season. A couple of his outings were against losing teams, Proviso East and Proviso West, for example.
The regional final was scheduled to be played Wednesday, but was postponed twice due to the recent rain showers.
“I’ve been, in everyone one of the off days, preparing for this game,” Weigel said.
Weigel’s biggest impact this season has been at the plate. He has hit safely in all but one game for the Huskies this season and opened the year with a 29-game hit streak. The streak ended in the second game of a three-game series against Hinsdale Central when the Devils won 4-2 in Hinsdale May 17. That game also ended OPRF’s 12-game win streak.
Weigel is batting over .500 in his first varsity season.
“I went into the season not thinking [about hitting], but getting used to the varsity,” Weigel said. “I have seen the ball nicely. I worked on it in the offseason. Everything clicked at the right moment.”
Weigel will play this summer with OPRF’s summer league team and with his travel team, the Carol Stream-based DuPage Training Academy.
OPRF opened the season with a five-game trip to Florida in March. Weigel went to Florida just a few weeks earlier with his travel team for a four-game tournament in Coco Beach. He visited the Sunshine State twice in one month.
“I thought we would have confidence [in the playoffs],” Weigel said. “We’re trying to get the little things done now like situational hitting, which is what we are working on now.”