Baseball team has mediocre start to season


Photo by Archie Beecroft

The OPRF boys baseball team is off to a mediocre 8-8 start, but they do have multiple notable victories.

The team has had a lot of game cancellations but is determined to keep spirits high. “It sucks, getting everyone hyped up for game day to get the text at one o’clock ‘game canceled, wait for practice plans,'” said senior David Andolina. “Having the mental strength to be able to persevere through cancellations and staying ready I think talks a lot about the strength of our team.”

“It’s midwest baseball; we signed up for this. It looks pretty good from here on out,” said junior John Phillip Ferraro.

Physical Education teacher Kevin Campbell was promoted before the beginning of the season from assistant coach to head coach, replacing former head coach Joseph Parenti.

“There are always some unforeseen tasks to the job that you don’t really realize that you are going to run into,” said Campbell “But from a coaching standpoint, it’s been great. It’s been one of the more enjoyable experiences that I’ve had in baseball.”

A lot of pressure and expectations surround a first-year head coach, but Campbell has a ever-present support system around him. “My assistant coaches, Coaches Sakellaris and Dennehy, have helped take a lot of the work off my shoulders,” he said. “But also really leaning our captains and our returning varsity players as well.”

It is too soon to see if Campbell has delivered. Despite offensive woes, the team has remained competitive due to stellar pitching and timely hitting. The team won their series against Hinsdale Central 2-1, and backed by a Cole Shamhart no-hitter, the team salvaged a game from its series against Downers Grove North.

One team standout has been freshman Ethan Moore, who is committed to play baseball at the University of Louisville. Despite only being a freshman, Moore says “I’m a part of the family. Everyone treats me like a little brother, they tell me what’s right from wrong, the captains help me. It’s just a good experience overall, especially for my first year.”

Seniors Cole Shamhart, Danny Michaud, Maddox Neuman, Andolina, and Jack Flagg are this year’s varsity team captains. “We are the intermediary between the players and the coaching staff. So if players have questions about what we are doing that week: practice, what we’re wearing, stuff like that, they ask the captains first,” said Andolina.

“Also it’s just about setting a precedent of the culture, making sure guys are on time, making sure guys are doing warm ups right, making sure guys are focused during the game, so just like an extension of the coaches,” said Andolina

This year’s varsity players have big hopes. “The guys want to win a state championship, so that’s definitely on the horizon,” said Ferraro.

“The end goal is to win state. That’s always the goal, always the thing in mind,” said Andolina. “First step is winning our conference, our conference is probably one of the hardest conferences in the state. So being able to win that would be a big step.”

“I think this team definitely has what it takes,” said Campbell. “They are very good at learning from any mistake, or even any success that we’ve had. I think the one thing that we, with every other baseball team in the country, needs is we just need a little bit more timely hitting and sometimes a guy to step up rather than looking at the same two or three guys every single time.”