The following story was submitted by a member of the Oak Park, River Forest community.
The Oak Park River Forest 14U PONY Baseball team beat Crest Hill, the PONY Regional Tournament host team, 10-0 Thursday night, July 10th. The victory was magnified by Brendan Barrette’s outstanding pitching performance. He went the distance without giving up a single hit or walk. Barrette faced the minimum number of batters, throwing only 51 pitches and striking out seven of the 15 batters he faced in the 5-inning slaughter rule game. He also contributed to the offense with a 2 run homer.
“He had outstanding control and location,” according to team manager Guy Brennan. “He kept the ball down as the umpire was giving nothing above the belt as a strike.” Barrette, who was the OPRF league MVP during the regular season, handled the pressure well. “Brendan was relaxed and under control…I don’t think he was aware of the perfecto.”
Traditionally, when a perfect game is in progress it is taboo to speak about it. If anyone knew, they didn’t crow about it. But Barrette was aware. “I knew it from the beginning,” said Barrette. “I just tried not to think about it.” As the game went on, it became harder to ignore what was happening. “I just kept it to myself and focused on little details to keep my mind off it. I felt great, like I could keep pitching forever. I was sorry we only played five.”
The entire team contributed to the win with timely hitting by Jack Brennan, Jeremiah Canada, Phil Saleh, David Trisko, and Barrette. The defense was solid when called upon, especially shortstop Canada and first baseman Saleh. “That was something special. My post game speech was the shortest in my 16 years of coaching…one word: Brendan!”
OPRF began the tournament by shutting down Romeoville 12-2 with five strong innings from Trisko followed by the perfect game against Crest Hill. OPRF needed just one more victory to advance to the PONY Zone tournament, the next step toward the PONY World Series. Crest Hill did not make that easy for them, coming from behind to defeat OPRF 8-5 in the rematch. The tournament came down to a third contest for all the marbles.
Barrette and Trisko combined to hold Crest Hill to two runs over four innings before Trisko had to exit due to arm pain. Brendan Carew entered on short notice and provided three scoreless innings to seal a 5-2 victory. “This team is very close knit and focused on the team concept. Their enthusiasm and support for their teammates during the comeback win in the championship game was outstanding,” said Brennan. The defense remained solid, with second baseman KJ Slepicka stopping everything that came his way as Crest Hill repeatedly drove the ball to the right side of the diamond. But the biggest key came from Brendan Carew’s shut out pitching performance. “He had ice-water in his veins.”
The OPRF 14U PONY team advances to the next level of play at Bay City, Michigan.