McHENRY – Remaining upbeat in their dugout proved difficult for McHenry’s players as one thing after another piled up in Woodstock’s favor.
Blue Streaks starter Austin Butts had allowed only four hits through six innings. The top of Woodstock’s lineup had its way with the Warriors' pitchers, scoring all the Streaks’ runs and producing a six-run lead heading into the bottom of the seventh.
And when McHenry put its first two runners on base, Ryan Grannemann was out trying to score on a wild pitch at home plate.
Then, one of the most unlikely rallies transpired. There was patience on McHenry’s part, a couple of timely hits and some help from Woodstock’s defense, which had not committed an error in the first six innings.
Eventually, freshman Bobby Miller’s bases-loaded fly ball was dropped, sending in the final two runs for a walk-off 8-7 Fox Valley Conference crossover baseball victory Thursday at Petersen Park.
“We tell them you [don’t have to] defense a strikeout,” Warriors coach Brian Rockweiler said. “The catcher only has to catch that. When you put it in play, something can happen. And today, something happened.”
Miller, a left-handed hitter, fell behind Woodstock reliever Zach Kammin 0-2, but worked the count full. He hit a fly ball to left-center field that Streaks left fielder John Kruse raced under. But Kruse could not hang on, and by the time the ball was on the ground, Payton Lykins was almost at home with the winning run.
“We were kind of down all game and were trying to get pumped up,” said Lykins, whose two-RBI double put Robert Nagel at third with the tying run. “We had one more chance. We made it happen somehow.”
Miller doubled as the second batter of the inning, and Streaks coach John Oliveira lifted Butts for Jace Pohlman, who walked two batters before Cody Freund’s RBI single. Kammin then came in and struck out Mike Borst.
Kammin almost ended the game on Dylan Weston’s one-hop shot back through the middle, but he could not hang on to the ball, making the score 7-3.
“When we had the bases loaded, even with one out, I was thinking, ‘We could make something happen here,’ ” Lykins said. “Everyone in the dugout believed, and that’s what did it.”
Robert Nagel was hit by a pitch, and Lykins doubled down the right-field line. Grannemann worked his second walk of the inning to set up Miller.
“I was just thinking about hitting the ball hard and getting an RBI,” Miller said. “I was trying to hit it in the gap, but I thought it was going right to him. I thought it was over. It was great. We had a lot of momentum going and got some hits.”
McHenry (15-5 overall, 8-3 FVC Valley) was coming off back-to-back losses to Cary-Grove and wanted to stay close to division leaders Jacobs (10-1) and Huntley (8-2).
“We really needed this,” Lykins said. “We had a rough week with Cary; they straight-up outplayed us. We really needed to get a win.”
Woodstock (4-10, 2-9) had big games from center fielder Jordan Sumner, who had three hits and scored twice, and catcher Eric Bell, who doubled, homered and drove in three runs.
Oliveira was almost speechless after the loss.
“All I want to say is [Austin] Butts threw a heck of a game and we played well offensively,” Oliveira said. “Let’s leave it at that.”