Mark Skonieczny's 3-run HR sends Huntley past Boylan
HUNTLEY – Huntley’s baseball team has grown to expect special things from catcher Mark Skonieczny.
And as a third-year varsity player, Skonieczny lives for tense situations like the one he faced in the sixth inning Monday.
Huntley trailed Boylan by two runs but had runners on first and second with two outs. Skonieczny ripped a 1-2 pitch over the left-field fence, giving the Red Raiders their first lead of the game.
Huntley added another run before handing over the seventh to closer Adam Kalish, who finished off the Titans in seven pitches for a 6-4 nonconference baseball victory.
“I love being in pressure situations,” Skonieczny said. “I always like the ball to be in my hands.”
Or in this case, the bat.
Pinch hitter Jake Ciskowski worked a 3-2 count, fouled off two pitches and drew a one-out walk. Leadoff man Brandon Altergott singled and Matt Sullivan popped out. Titans reliever Peyton Durst (1-1) was ahead of Skonieczny in the count, but Skonieczny delivered his first homer of the season.
“Cisko did a nice job coaxing that walk with one out and Altergott extended the inning,” said Raiders coach Andy Jakubowski, whose team is 5-2-1. “We wanted to have the winning run up at bat and we got it. Mark got down two strikes, but he stayed inside a baseball and got a good pitch to hit and was able to put it out.
"He’s a three-year varsity starter and he’s been through many pressure situations, so we have the utmost confidence in him and always think he’s going to come through."
After Skonieczny’s blast, Tommy Kiriakopoulos, Bobby Hecker and Jon Nugent singled to add another run.
Kyle Sabie (1-0) threw three scoreless innings in relief of starter Mason Martin to earn the victory. Sabie struck out four and did not allow a hit.
“My curve was working very well. They had a few lefties and it was working well,” Sabie said. “I was hitting my spots too. It was a great feeling. It was very intense and I felt good today.”
Sabie struck out Boylan’s top three hitters looking and whiffed all three of the Titans’ lefties. Boylan (4-3) has suffered all three of its losses to Fox Valley Conference teams.
Joe Fehrle allowed eight hits through five innings but kept the Raiders to two runs. Kiriakopoulos drove in Huntley’s first run in the third, and Hecker knocked in one in the fifth. Titans coach Matt Weber went to Durst after Fehrle had reached 90 pitches.
“The best part of this is this is our seventh game and we’re a young team,” Weber said. “[Durst] is a junior and he threw strikes and made the guy hit a three-run home run to beat us. It’s a game where they made the plays and beat us. If we play them again, maybe we make the plays and win.”