HUNTLEY – All Huntley shortstop Jessica Shields wanted was another chance. Shields, who had grounded into a fielder’s choice with two on earlier in the game, got her chance in the bottom of the seventh inning and took advantage of it with a game-winning two-run single to left field to give the Red Raiders a 4-3 Fox Valley Conference Valley Division victory over Jacobs.
When the inning began, it didn’t look like Huntley was going to have a chance to pull out the win.
Huntley (7-7, 2-2) came into the seventh inning trailing 3-1. Megan Baczewski led off with a single and, after a groundout, moved courtesy runner Michelle Caputi to second. Shannon Walsh then hit a tapper in front of home plate. Jacobs catcher Kelsey Cummings’ throw, trying to get Walsh at first base, was high and went into right field to score Caputi to make it 3-2.
Brittany Koss added an infield single to move Walsh to third and, after a Koss steal of second base, Shields lined a single into left. Walsh scored easily and Koss got in just under the tag of Cummings to score the winning run. Shields said that she was motivated from her failings earlier in the game.
“I knew, obviously, that I had to come through since my previous two at-bats weren’t so hot,” Shields said. “I just wanted to help the team.”
Huntley coach Mark Petryniec said that there was no hesitation in sending Koss on the single trying to win the game.
“You got to put the pressure on to get the girl at the plate,” Petryniec said. “They've got to field it, they've got to throw it and everything has got to be perfect there. We were successful and it worked out.”
It was a tough way to lose for Jacobs (11-6, 2-2) and Golden Eagles coach Jeremy Bauer said that his team played a solid game all the way until the pivotal inning.
“We played a pretty clean game up until the seventh inning and, defensively, we played well up until that inning,” Bauer said. “We had a few physical mistakes and that was it.”
The first four innings were dominated by the team’s pitchers before Jacobs broke through in the fifth on an RBI double by Alyssa Lach, which was followed two batters later by a RBI single from Emily Borg to give the Golden Eagles a 2-0 lead.
Huntley responded with a run of its own in the bottom of the fifth on a RBI single by Koss, who had four hits. Jacobs got that run right back in the sixth, however, on an RBI double from Courtney Cotungo, who had three hits of her own, before the seventh inning heroics from Shields to win the game for Huntley.