HUNTLEY – Adam Kalish hadn't made a start in two years. But when the Huntley baseball team found itself thin on pitching, the senior closer temporarily stepped into a new role.
Or maybe into an old one.
Despite falling behind early, Kalish settled in to keep Prairie Ridge's offense off-balance for 6 2/3 innings in a 4-3 Fox Valley Conference Valley Division victory Friday afternoon.
Kalish blended a slider and change-up in what was by far his longest outing, scattering seven hits and allowing only one earned run in a game he entered with no butterflies.
"I'm not supposed to have nerves as a closer," Kalish said. "But it was definitely something new. I just kept going. I didn't have an option to stop, so I just kept pitching."
The Red Raiders (12-4 overall, 6-2 FVC Valley) broke a two-game losing streak despite managing only three hits off Prairie Ridge starter Jack Myers. Myers struck out seven and didn't allow an earned run as Huntley scored all four of its runs off Wolves errors.
All of Huntley's runs – which came in the third and fifth innings – came with two outs. Myers induced a collection of ground balls, only to have his defense let him down.
"We put a little pressure on them and, fortunately for us, they weren't able to make plays and we were able to capitalize," Huntley coach Andy Jakubowski said. "It wasn't pretty, but we'll take it."
Prairie Ridge (9-11, 4-4) took a 4-3 lead in the fourth inning on Christopher Slack's RBI single. Slack paced the Wolves offensively, finishing 3 for 4. The go-ahead run stood up until the fifth inning when Huntley pushed two runs across to take a 4-2 lead – again making the most of an error that wasted Myers' solid effort.
Like Kalish, Myers made the start Friday despite being used primarily as a closer.
"We weren't sure how he was going to do being extended, but he was lights out," Prairie Ridge coach Glen Pecoraro said. "We couldn't have hoped for him to do as well as he did. [The errors] were tough to see because [Myers] got us ground balls in key moments and those are outs that end innings.
"So it was tough because we had a chance."
Kalish came within an out of a complete game, but a throwing error kept Prairie Ridge alive. The Wolves cut the lead to 4-3 on a Myers RBI single before Mason Martin got Austin Covers to fly out to end the threat.
For the Red Raiders, the victory meant more than how it was produced, getting them back on track after a pair of losses – their first two in FVC play – this week to rival Jacobs.
"It's big because we got down [emotionally] pretty bad [after the two losses]," Kalish said. "So we needed this to get back up to start the next few games. So we should be good."