Timely hitting lifts Cary-Grove over McHenry baseball

CARY – Cary-Grove squandered some opportunities, but compensated against one of the area’s hottest teams with something that recently had been missing – timely hits.

The Trojans had one runner picked off first base, another caught at home on a double steal and another thrown out at second on a missed hit-and-run play. Still, they persevered against McHenry by scoring four of their runs with two outs. That clutch hitting resulted in a 5-4 victory in the teams’ Fox Valley Conference Valley Division baseball game Tuesday.

“Our offense has been kind of down lately and it was nice to see us come out swinging, especially against a team like McHenry, who’s at the top of the [Valley Division],” Trojans starter Andrew Splitt said. “It’s a good win for us and a great momentum booster as we head into more conference games.”

C-G (12-8 overall, 7-3 FVC Valley) got a two-out RBI single from Splitt in the first and a two-out, two-RBI double from Jason Barrett in the second. The Trojans also scored their final run with two outs on a wild pitch.

“We’ve always been taught when there are guys on base to attack early in the count and I got a good pitch,” said Barrett, a left-handed hitter who ripped his double down the left-field line. “We were mentally tough. These guys are pretty hot; it’s a good win.”

McHenry (14-4, 7-2) was 6-1 in one-run games before Tuesday, but every time the Warriors scored to lead or tie, C-G answered to grab the lead right back.

“We didn’t have two-out RBIs and what’d they have, four?” McHenry coach Brian Rockweiler asked. “They answered back, then we answered back and it seemed like every time we’d get two outs [on defense], we couldn’t get that third out.”

McHenry, which had won six of its past seven games, almost had a two-out run in the fourth, but right fielder Jimmy Perkins charged hard and threw out Mike Aiardo, who was trying to score from second on Cody Freund’s single.

“We stayed tough through our bad luck and our own mistakes,” C-G coach Don Sutherland said. “It’s a good sign to win in those situations. You usually don’t (win). We hung in there and came up with some clutch hits with two outs. Splitter did a fantastic job getting us through six and we made the decision that Larkin (Hanselmann) was going to face the top of their order in the seventh.”

Hanslemann, a left-hander, allowed a one-out single to Freund, then Mike Borst topped a ground ball about 30 feet down the third-base line for a hit. Hanselmann then got Dylan Weston on a called third strike and Payton Lykins on a fly ball to right field.

“I just tried locating my pitches there,” Hanselmann said. “That’s a big team lift. We can play with anybody. It’s the Fox Valley, anyone can beat anyone. We’re looking forward to the next game.”

McHenry hosts C-G at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday at Petersen Park in McHenry.

“We had a chance, we put ourselves in that position, but we didn’t get the hit,” Rockweiler said.

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