The SLP High varsity baseball team jumped to 8-0 and 7-0 leads by getting 27 hits in two games and received excellent starting pitching to pound Prior Lake 10-4 on Saturday and Robbinsdale Cooper 7-3 on Monday in North Suburban action. Aaron McEachran's club has been making great contact and has only struck out eight times over the last four games against Minneapolis South, Benilde-St. Margaret's, Prior Lake and Cooper.
The conference win over Cooper continued Park's excellent play against league leaders BSM, Totino and Cooper. Park finished the season 3-2 against them with one win against each team. The Orioles outhit them significantly in four of the five matchups. If things fall correctly later in the week, Park still has a chance to finish in second place in the North Suburban.
In Monday's battle at Cooper, senior Jacolbi Courington-Meier and junior Cole Hoyt each banged out three hits to pace the 13-hit attack. Their hits included doubles to score four runs in the second and third innings to stake the O's to an early lead. Junior Ryan Froom started and pitched six scoreless innings, allowing three hits and only one walk to go 3-0 with one save on the season. He allowed two runs in the seventh on two walks and has a 2.59 ERA for the season. Junior Austin Broz finished the Hawks off on the slab.
Courington-Meier's work allowed him to run his hitting streak to 10 games and gave him seven hits in 11 ABs, including three doubles and four RBIs in the last three games. He has moved his average to .419 and leads the Orioles with eight extra base hits and is second with a .537 on-base percentage and nine steals. Hoyt's three-hit game concluded a four-game stretch where he collected eight hits and pushed his average to a team-leading .440, and he leads the team with 15 RBI and 10 steals on the season. Cooper entered the game 9-2 in the North Suburban and the loss ended their title hopes.
On Saturday, the Orioles took the show on the road as they played a night game at Prior Lake at scenic Memorial Park. Senior righthander Jack Olevitch started and pitched four scoreless innings in his third appearance in three days on the hill to also run his record to 3-0 on the mound. He has a fantastic 2.52 ERA with nine steals and a .351 OBP. Freshman Joe Burnley pitched the final 2 1/3 of hitless relief and struck out two in his first varsity game. He entered in the fifth inning with two outs and struck out the last Laker to end a bases-loaded threat.
The Orioles scored in six of the seven innings as they collected 14 hits, as Parker Stennes scored three runs and was on base four times. He has been one of the O's leading hitters from his spot in the three-hole, and has been robbed several times this year. Park was aided by great defense by senior Ben Taylor at third and sophomore Jacob Lukasavage at catcher subbing for Mitch Thomas, who has done yeoman's work all season behind the dish. McEachran is a former catcher and his work with them has produced big dividends.
Lukasavage had six RBIs with five hits in the last four games, including a big two-run single on Saturday and a long double. He is hitting a robust .375 for the season. Senior Zach Lewis had a nice hit and has pushed up his average to .333 with eight walks on the season. He has also recorded two wins on the mound and leads the team with a microscopic 1.79 ERA.
Stennes has had several hard hit balls not fall his way recently, including two huge 330-foot drives that were caught against the fence against Cooper's ace in a close loss a few weeks ago. He is raking at a .360 clip. He has played great defense in left field and Park's outfield, which includes Hoyt and Courington-Meier, is the best and fastest in the league.
Froom pitches and plays shortstop, and is hitting .422 and has 13 walks for a team-leading .550 on-base pct. Broz has great speed and skills at second base, and continues to be a table-setter at the top of the order with a .351 OBP and nine steals—and he plays excellent defense at 2B. He is also 3-0 on the mound and has only allowed six walks in 26 innings pitched.
The Orioles play at Fridley on Wednesday at 4:15 p.m., and EVERYONE is encouraged to attend Thursday against Columbia Heights at Dakota Field.
Senior Night Info
The May 17 game starts at a special 5 p.m. time and it is Senior Night. It is the last regular season game. There will be a special program after the game recognizing graduating seniors Jack Plonsky, Danny Schwartz, Jack Olevitch, Zach Lewis, Ben Taylor and Jacolbi Courington-Meier for their commitment and contributions.
Please come on Thursday and support the Orioles as they get ready for playoff baseball. The game will be broadcast by ParkTV 16 and info is available at parktv.org.
The Orioles defeated Minneapolis South 8-7 on May 10 and lost a hard-fought 7-3 game against BSM on May 11 at Dakota. The Orioles outhit BSM 10-7 in the contest but BSM was able to jump out by four runs in the first inning on a error, walk and two-run homer. Jimmy Heck, the BSM senior ace, threw a complete game but SLP only had two Ks for the game. Park closed the game to 5-3 in the fourth. It was revenge for the Red Knights, who had lost 8-3 to Park on April 26 as the Orioles outhit them 10-3
Playoffs Start Next Week
Park will probably open section 6AAA play at Dakota Field on Thursday, May 24 at 4:30 p.m. in the first round. If Park is able to secure a top-three seed in section, they will earn a bye and open at home on Friday, May 25, at 4:30. Hopkins, Wayzata, Edina and Benilde St. Margaret's, along with Park, are all ranked in the top-20 statewide in the latest power rankings on May 15 from www.minnesota-scores.net.
Dugout Club News
A special thanks to Sandy Olevitch, who helped put together and organize the St. Louis Park Dugout Club as president to support high school baseball at Park. We have a nice grill and refrigerator and portable PA system, and he and parent Patty Hoy were able to secure a grant through Hennepin County to add some new amenities at Dakota and Carlson. The team has had two fundraisers so far and partnered with St. Louis Park Patch and raised nearly $300 at the BSM game by grilling hot dogs, brats and having soda and chips for sale.
If you are interested in donating or volunteering, please contact John Froom at 612-751-0625.
Derrick Keller Fundraiser
Linnea Donahue sold home-designed T-shirts and hats at the BSM game to benefit 2011 graduate Derrick Keller, who was an all-state player last year at shortstop and continues his fight with leukemia. If you can help with a donation or purchase to benefit Derrick and his family, you can see her shirt and hat designs by watching replays of the BSM/Park game on Cable 16, or on your computer, as she was interviewed during the first inning. She can be reached at 612-849-0703 with questions.
Derrick has a CaringBridge page and is hopeful of playing baseball with the SLP Town Team later this summer.
Froom Brothers Story
Monday at Cooper, both Ryan Froom (junior) and his eighth-grade brother Kyle were the starting pitchers for the varsity and 8/9 grade teams. The fields were only 30 feet apart at Cooper, so parents John and Nancy were very pleased and nervous. Ryan was happy to pitch against his best friend since age 5, Cooper's Nehwon Norkeh, and Kyle pitched against two former Little League teammates.
Park Coaches Have Orange and Black in Their Blood
Head coach Aaron McEachran ('98), and assistants Danny Bissonnette ('03), Jake Evers ('93) and Geoff Boyer ('04, JV Coach, & Jr. Legion) are all Park graduates who played baseball. McEachran was coached by his father Dan McEachran in high school, and played D1 baseball at Northern Iowa, where he was an All-American. He was drafted in 2001 by the Toronto Blue Jays and played six years in the minors. Bissonnette played collegiately at Gustavus Adolphus. McEachran, Bissonnette and Evers were also hockey stars at Park, and McEachran and Bissonnette both played in the state hockey tourney their senior years.