Oakton 2 wins away from making another trip to NJCAA World Series

Veteran head coach Bill Fratto had a hunch this season was going to be full of challenges for the Oakton Community College baseball team.

He was right.

The No. 3-ranked team in the NJCAA Division III poll when games started in March, the Owls' bid to make it to the World Series for the fourth straight year got off to a bumpy start.

"We ran into some injuries," Fratto said.

Left fielder Brandon Matias, who prepped at Glenbrook South High School, had to deal with a hamate injury earlier in the season. That was a big loss for OCC.

"He was basically playing one of every four games," Fratto said. "Taking him out of the lineup, you lose your No. 4 hitter, we were having a hard time scoring runs and we must have lost 10 or 11 1-run games."

Matias got healthy and back to doing damage and the Owls won 5 of 6 and claimed the Region 4 championship last weekend.

"With him back in the lineup, it's a little bit different," Fratto said. "When he was playing every day, the last 14 games, that's when we started taking off."

Oakton heads into Friday's District championship with a nice head of steam. If the Owls win 2 of 3 against Owens (Ohio) Community College, they're going back to the World Series.

Sophomore Kyle Moore (Bolingbrook) and freshman Aidan Pavoris (Huntley) are Oakton's scheduled starters for Friday.

Oakton beat College of DuPage in a doubleheader sweep Sunday to win the Joliet Regional and advance to the Great Lakes District tournament. Christine Paciero/Oakton Community College
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