Prep Baseball Report

Oak Park, Cottingham-Beard blank Lyons

By Sean Duncan
Executive Director

OAK PARK, IL – The teams were the same, but the level of play was a far cry from what made last year’s Class 4A state championship game one of the most memorable in history.

In a rematch of the 2012 Class 4A state championship – and a classic matchup between West Suburban Silver perennial powers – Oak Park-River Forest avoided a three-game series sweep by blanking Lyons Township, 7-0, on Monday.

Junior right-hander Sam Cottingham-Beard made sure the Huskies (12-7, 8-4) stayed in the hunt of a jumbled West Suburban Silver race by working six impressive innings of three-hit baseball. Cottingham-Beard (3-0) struck out seven, walked two and pitched out of a few tight situations behind a consistent 84-86 mph fastball and a sharp breaking ball.

The 6-foot-2, 180-pound Cottingham-Beard struck out two batters in each the fourth, fifth and sixth innings to drop Lyons to 14-7 and 8-4 in conference play.

“I felt in total control of all my pitches today,” Cottingham-Beard said. “It was a day that everything was working. … This is a really big win for us.”

Mired in a scoreless tie through four innings, Oak Park scored three in the bottom of the fifth, aided by two Lyons errors and two run-scoring wild pitches. The Huskies added four more in the sixth to bust open the game. Junior third baseman Keith Rogalla put the exclamation point on the four-hit inning by ripping a two-run homer to left field.

Senior first baseman Nick Kowalczuk led the Oak Park attack by going 4-for-4 with two doubles, two runs and one RBI, which he delivered in the big sixth inning. Senior shortstop Charlie Fencik added two singles and junior outfielder Alex Rice added an RBI, to go along with a single and a walk.

Lyons, which took two games from Oak Park on Saturday, received singles by Sam Heilenbach, Matt Aikens and Stewart Nelson.

“Sam was really good today,” said Oak Park coach Chris Ledbetter. “I thought he really knuckled down and made some big pitches when he needed to. That was as good as I’ve seen him work all three pitches.”

 Complete detailed scouting notes will be posted on Tuesday at the Illinois Scouting Blog

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