ELMHURST – Huntley junior Brandon Altergott’s main goals early in Wednesday’s game against Conant were to keep warm and pay attention.
“I was expecting to stay on the bench, but you never know,” Altergott said. “Always be ready when you’re needed.”
When Red Raiders coach Andy Jakubowski called on Altergott to pinch hit in the fourth inning, he was ready. Altergott punched a single through the hole at shortstop for two runs as Huntley went on to defeat the Cougars, 6-1, in both teams’ season openers at Plunkett Athletic Complex.
The game was arranged Tuesday night after South Elgin was unable to play. Both teams were happy, despite temperatures in the 30s, to get on the synthetic turf field to play.
Altergott’s clutch hit was just one of several things Jakubowski saw and liked from his team.
“Our pitching was outstanding today, all three guys did an outstanding job,” Jakubowski said. “We played well defensively. We have to continue working on some situational hitting, but for the first time facing an opponent, we’re happy to come away with a win against a good program.”
Senior right-hander Eric Luecht (1-0) picked up the victory with 5 1/3 innings, five hits, eight strikeouts and no walks. Mason Martin retired the final two batters of the sixth inning and Adam Kalish faced three batters in the seventh.
“It was fun to finally get out here,” said Luecht, whose pitch count limit was 75. “We had some good baserunning and great defense behind me. Two good pitchers came in after me. Everything just clicked and we’re ready to keep moving forward.”
Shortstop Matt Sullivan had two hits and scored a run. Altergott also had an infield RBI single in the sixth when Trevor Symbal, on second base, was stealing third and Jakubowski sent him home. Altergott beat the throw to first and Symbal raced in ahead of the throw home.
“We’re very high on Brandon,” Jakubowski said. “We like his athleticism and the fact he can go run and get a ball [in the outfield]. He can swing it a little bit too.”
Conant scored in the first inning, but Luecht left runners stranded at second in the third and fifth innings, then hit his limit in the sixth.
“My changeup was a little bit off, so I just went to my slider and it started working for me,” Luecht said.
Huntley did not commit an error and took advantage of some of Conant’s five errors for three unearned runs.
Cougars coach Derek Fivelson said his team was ready to play after having nine games canceled or postponed this week.
“The guys were excited, they got their first-game jitters out of the way,” Fivelson said. “They scored on our errors, for sure. We did a lot of things right, we got a nice two-out hit from Mike Matej in the first and scored first. We have to build on stuff like that.”