DEKALB – As the Class 4A DeKalb Regional final went to extra innings Saturday, Huntley could not help but think about last year's playoffs, and a game in which Dundee-Crown sent the Red Raiders home. When senior first baseman Tommy Kiriakopoulos stepped into the box in the eighth inning, he wanted to make sure that didn't happen again.
Kiriakopoulos drove a ball into the right-center field gap, scoring teammate Brandon Altergott, and winning the Red Raiders a regional title over Dundee-Crown, 3-2.
"We were so much more hungry of a team after what happened last year," Kiriakopoulos said. "When I saw that pitch coming in, I knew that was going to be the pitch I could do something with. I'm just happy I found a hole and got us the win."
The walkoff double gave the loss to D-C's Ahren Ludwig, despite what his coach called an extremely gutsy effort.
"He did everything we could have asked," coach Jon Anderson said. "I thought, at the time, it was the right thing to take him out where we did, and it just didn't work out this time."
Johnson pulled Ludwig after he walked back-to-back batters in the eighth, and his pitch count reached 135 pitches. Riley Alvarado got Huntley catcher Mark Skonieczny to fly out to center before Kiriakopoulos drove in the winning run.
"I'm so proud of the way our kids battled today," Red Raiders coach Andy Jakubowski said. "We stuck with it, and, wow, what a great high school baseball game."
The game went scoreless through the first two innings before Huntley capitalized in its half of the third inning. After Johnny Nugent had a bunt single and Altergott walked, Skonieczny came up with two outs. The senior catcher took a two-strike pitch that did not miss by much, and then lined a ball into right field scoring both runners.
Huntley (26-7-1) did not hold off D-C for long, as the Chargers loaded the bases in their half of the fourth. No. 9 hitter Tyler Lewan hit a groundball to shortstop, and beat the throw for an infield RBI single.
D-C (14-19) tied the game in the fifth on back-to-back doubles by Zach Girard and Brett Johnson. Two batters later, Huntley starter Adam Kalish was pulled, giving way to Nick Costantino, who threw 3 1/3 shut out innings and got the win.
"He [Costantino] came into a tough jam," Jakubowski said. "He held them right where they were, was lights out, and gave us a chance to win."
Huntley will play the winner of Grant and /Prairie Ridge at 4 p.m. Wednesday in the McHenry Sectional at Petersen Park.