Baseball: Chris Rafacz leads Oak Lawn past archrival Richards
By Pat Disabato email@example.com April 1, 2013 8:14PM
Jake Kendryna, of Richards, tags out Oak Lawn's Jake Slusinski attempting to steal third base. | Gary Middendorf~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: May 3, 2013 6:17AM
Oak Lawn senior Chris Rafacz admittedly struggled at the plate in 2012.
A strong offseason program has paid dividends in 2013.
Rafacz continued his hot hitting Monday against Richards, reaching base five times and scoring four runs as Oak Lawn edged host Richards 12-11 in a South Suburban Red thriller.
Rafacz was hitting .375 entering the contest. With three singles, to go along with a walk and getting hit by a pitch, he’s hitting above .400.
“My confidence is sky-high,” said Rafacz, who will attend Benedictine University in the fall. “I feel like I can hit any pitcher in the state right now.”
Oak Lawn (1-3, 1-0) led 12-3 entering the bottom of the seventh, but had to hold on dearly to register the “W.”
The Bulldogs (3-5, 0-1) sent 14 batters to the plate in the seventh, scoring eight runs. Richards had just four hits in the inning, with Harley Miller and Charlie Zeschke each contributing two-run singles.
Five walks by three Oak Lawn pitchers and two big errors had Richards in position to pull off the comeback win.
A.J. Sanchez hit the ball right on the button with the bases loaded and two outs in the seventh, but Rafacz barely had to move in center field to record the final out of the game.
“It’s nice to be able to score eight runs in an inning, but why didn’t we do it in the first inning?” Richards coach Brian Wujcik wondered. “We didn’t play very well defensively and we just aren’t playing as a team.”
Oak Lawn pitcher Bob Kametas didn’t have his best stuff, but the St. Joseph’s recruit worked his way out of multiple jams during a 115-pitch performance. Kametas allowed seven hits, walked three and struck out four.
The Bulldogs had runners on base every inning and stranded 11 in the game.
The Spartans, on the other hand, came through with timely hits. Oak Lawn scored four runs in the first and two more in the second to gain control. A six-run outburst in the sixth extended the lead to 12-3.
Kametas also was effective at the plate, going 2-for-3 with two intentional walks and three RBI.
Marcin Krzysiak had a big day for the Spartans, going 2-for-4 with five RBI. Billy Thome (3-for-4) also was a key contributor to Oak Lawn’s 13-hit attack.
“I’m glad we hung on,” Oak Lawn coach Bill Gerny said. “I’m happy to see our guys come out and hit the ball.”
Jimmy Wujcik (2-for-5, 2 RBI), Eric Hall (2-for-5) and Danny Estrella (2-for-4) had multhit games for Richards.