CRYSTAL LAKE – Whenever the Prairie Ridge softball team finds itself trailing, the Wolves don't panic.
Of course, it helps that the Wolves' offense averages 8.4 runs a game and features, in the words of coach Mike Buck, one of the best top-to-bottom lineups he's had in his 16 seasons at Prairie Ridge. Their offense again shined Wednesday in a Fox Valley Conference Valley Division showdown against Huntley.
Prairie Ridge erased a 2-0 Huntley lead with a seven-run third inning in which the Wolves sent 12 batters to the plate. It gave Prairie Ridge all the cushion it needed en route to a 13-3 FVC Valley win in six innings against the Red Raiders.
"We've got some good hitters, bottom line," Buck said. "We've got good, solid hitters. That's really a nice plus. If we have good pitching and solid defense, we're going to be in any game we play."
As the Wolves' offense has been prone to do, they were nearly impossible to keep off the bases on a blustery and cold day. Emily Widger hit a leadoff double to start the third against Huntley starter Haley Spannraft (2-3). Emily Doomis followed with an RBI double to cut Huntley's lead to 2-1. That advantage didn't last long for the Red Raiders (4-5, 0-1 FVC Valley).
Claire Bowman, the third hitter of the inning, drove in Doomis on a game-tying single. With Alyssa Doomis hitting with two outs, she gave Prairie Ridge (7-2, 2-0) the lead for good on an RBI single to make it 3-2. The Wolves added four more runs in the third, including another RBI double by Emily Doomis.
The Wolves added three runs in the fourth and sixth innings. Emily Doomis finished with three RBIs, while Bowman and Alyssa Doomis each drove in two runs.
"We're pretty contagious once we start hitting," Emily Doomis said. "I think we were definitely seeing the ball better and were waiting for our pitch."
Spannraft gave Huntley at 2-0 lead in the first inning on a two-run homer to left-center field. Spannraft and Wolves pitcher Hailey Baker were both making their first starts after missing time with injuries. Spannraft was sidelined four games with a left foot injury.
Baker missed two games after suffering a bruised hand when she caught a line drive with her pitching hand. Baker (5-2) said she was a little apprehensive in her return but was confident her team would offer plenty of support.
"I've been working a lot on my drop (pitch), so with the wind blowing out we want it to be on the ground," Baker said. "That was pretty good and just hitting my spots."
Defensive letdowns were an issue for the Red Raiders. A misplayed routine pop up in the infield resulted in two scoring runs in the third while two errors in the fourth extended the inning and led to another run.
"It was almost like quicksand," Huntley coach Mark Petryniec said. "One mistake just led to another. Can't leave the runners on base. We've got to score when we get runners on, and our defense has been letting us down a little bit."