HUNTLEY – Every now and then, a baseball team’s best closer can be a very good offense.
Huntley came to bat in the sixth inning with the score tied and the sun still peeking through clouds on the horizon. More than 25 minutes, eight hits and eight runs later, daylight was gone and DeKalb never got another chance to swing its bats.
The game was called with two outs, giving Huntley a 16-8 victory in its nonconference baseball opener Wednesday.
Huntley junior right-hander Mason Martin, who lost his father Roger in a boating accident in August, was given the start and threw two innings, allowing two earned runs.
The Raiders (1-0) were held to two runs over the first four innings by John Crosby, who was pulled in the fifth after reaching 75 pitches. After that, the Raiders could not be stopped.
“I was real happy with the way we overcame adversity,” Huntley coach Andy Jakubowski said. “You’re down, 6-2, going into the fifth and our guys did a real nice job coming back. Our top four guys were outstanding, and Kameron Sallee did a real nice job in the bottom of the order.”
Sallee singled with the bases loaded and an error on left fielder Nick Bourdages allowed all three runners to score for an 8-6 lead. Sophomore Logan Haring ripped a two-run double to tie the score at 8-8, but the Raiders kept rolling in the sixth.
“We had a huge inning and got each other’s back, and came up with a couple clutch hits,” Huntley second baseman Tyler Albright said. “[Mark] Skonieczny led off with that double [in the fifth] and all you need sometimes is one hit to get it going, then it’s a hitting parade.”
Jakubowski and his team agreed the opening starter should be Martin. Martin almost escaped the second inning unscathed. DeKalb’s Shaun Johnson just reached third base on a wild pitch ahead of catcher Tyler Mindak’s throw or the inning would have been over. The Barbs (0-1) scored twice.
“I thought I threw pretty well,” Martin said. “I got ahead in the count and threw strikes and let them hit it. I felt like they were a good-hitting team, I give them credit. I pitched to contact and did what I was supposed to do.”
Martin’s mother Drecinda and sister Miranda, along with several friends, neighbors and his Dirtbags travel teammates were there for Martin’s big moment. He had lunch with Miranda when he found out the field, still wet in some places, was deemed playable.
“I was pleasantly surprised,” he said. “I thought I would be more nervous. I was calm and went about my day. I was a little nervous, but I figured out what I was supposed to do and just did it.”
Jakubowski thought Martin did a fine job.
“He pounded the strike zone, he probably left a couple pitches over the plate he wishes he had back, but he competed well,” Jakubowski said. “He did exactly everything we wanted him to do. It’s something he can build upon for his next opportunity.”