Nazareth left-hander Peter Minella pitched a two-hitter Wednesday to end Oak Park-River Forest’s summer league season.
Still, there was much OPRF coach Chris Ledbetter was pleased about, although the No. 2-seeded Huskies didn’t make it to the Fenwick Regional final. Third-seeded Nazareth advanced to Thursday’s regional championship game at 2 p.m. Thursday with a 3-1 victory over OPRF at the Priory.
The Roadrunners will play neighborhood rival and top-seeded Lyons, which beat Leyden 7-0 in the other semifinal.
“It was a productive (summer),” Ledbetter said. “We saw most of our innings out of the four-through-seven pitchers on our staff. With our 1-2-3, we didn’t see them as much. Ryan Chancellor was someone who worked his way up. He went 5-0 during the summer.”
The Huskies (17-3) managed only a pair of doubles off Minella, one of Nazareth’s top returning starters from the spring season. Minella also walked two batters, but picked off both.
Minella worked both sides of the plate and struck out seven batters while walking three. He threw 102 pitches — 66 for strikes — in the complete game. OPRF’s only run came in the bottom of the fifth when Keith Rogalla led off with a double for the Huskies’ first hit of the game. Pinch-runner Cam Smart scored on a groundout.
Ian Luttrell had OPRF’s other hit, a double to right field, in the sixth.
Rogalla was OPRF’s starting third baseman in the spring, but has moved to first base replacing Michigan-recruit NIck Kowalczuk.
“(Minella) had a weird arm slot. It was lower than three-quarters,” Rogalla said. “He hid the ball well. You couldn’t see the ball come out of his hand and he stayed away from us. He was a solid left-hander.”
Minella received all the support he would need with runs in the second and third innings. Matt Wilson (3-for-4) scored the game’s first run on Brandon Bossard’s single. Bossard’s base hit also plated pinch-runner Mike Greene in the third.
Minella, a Western Springs resident, is looking forward to seeing some of his pals in the opposite dugout Thursday.
“A lot of my friends are on LT,” Minella said. “I’ve always wanted to play LT. We always bicker about who will be better.”
Nazareth (25-12-1) had nine hits off four different OPRF pitchers. Starter Sam Cottingham-Beard took the loss, but left in the top of the third, after 54 pitches, when he re-injured his right knee after throwing one pitch to designated hitter Drew Dunker. Cottingham-Beard sprained his knee earlier in the summer and was appearing in his first playoff game.
The winner of the regional final advances to the Phil Lawler state summer tournament starting Monday in Lisle and Naperville.