The Oak Park River Forest (OPRF) Huskies made the trip to Elmhurst to take on their division rivals, the York Dukes in their first meeting of the season Monday.
Griffin Holderfield (Oak Park River Forest):
Holderfield is a solid pitching prospect in the class of 2019. He is committed to attend Creighton University after he graduates to play baseball at the Division-I level.
“Griffin is a phenomenal ball player for us,” an OPRF parent said. “Any time he is on the mound, we all feel pretty confident that he will get it done.”
“It’s pretty easy to be confident in a player who is already committed to play baseball at the next level.”
Charlie Pakenas (York):
Pakenas is a multi-sport athlete. He was the quarterback for the football team the past two years. Pakenas has had a strong season so far on the mound, but he will face a tough test when he takes on the Huskies.
“Charlie has some good stuff,” York assistant coach Bobby Fischer said. “But OPRF can really swing the bat so it should be a tough challenge for him.”
“One thing we can always count on with Charlie is that he will always battle, no matter the situation.”
When it comes to a conference matchup, there is always a lot more on the line. Therefore most conference games are heated and more intense. In a matchup between these two teams there is always something to play for. Whether its for a spot atop the standings or just for pride, you can always count on both teams giving it their all.
“When I was at York, OPRF was always somewhere atop the standings,” Former York baseball and football player, Mike Trumbull said. “So we knew every time we got to play them we had something to prove, no matter what sport it was.”
“The WSS conference is one of the top conferences in the state for athletics, so any time you played a conference opponent it was a great measuring stick to see where we were at.”
The two schools are only separated by 11 miles.
“We know that we are a spot behind them in the conference standings,” Fischer said. “So that gives the guys a bit more motivation and something to play for.”
The Huskies got on the board right off the bat, scoring a run in the first inning, putting some early pressure on Pakenas and the Dukes. In the second inning, the Dukes responded with two runs of their own to take an early one-run lead. The very next inning the Huskies responded with one-run to tie the ball game.
For the next five innings it was a pitching battle between Holderfield and Pakenas, in which no runs were scored. In extra innings, both teams were forced to go to the bullpen for the first time all game. In the bottom of the ninth, York’s Mike Pastuovic hit a walk-off sacrifice-fly to deep right-field that brought home second-baseman Clayton Letourneau for the game winning run.
The Dukes picked up a win in the first game of the conference series. This gives York their fifth win in a row and some serious momentum going into the final stretch of the regular season.
“This seems like one of the best teams I’ve seen in awhile here at York,” a York teacher said. “I’ve been to multiple games this season and you can put this one at the top of the list for most entertaining.”