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High school baseball insider: Cary-Grove's Tyler Pennington is Athlete of the Week; power rankings and more

Tyler Pennington
Tyler Pennington

Athlete of the Week

Tyler Pennington

Cary-Grove, Sr., C

Pennington was 9 for 12 over four games and knocked in nine runs as the Trojans continued on their hot streak with four victories.

Pennington was 3 for 3 in a 4-1 win over St. Charles North, then gave Hampshire’s pitchers fits in three games. He was 3 for 3 with a double, triple and five RBIs in an 11-0 win over the Whip-Purs on Thursday.

Pennington then was 2 for 3 with two RBIs in a 16-5 win over the Whips on Saturday and went 1 for 3 with two RBIs Monday as the Trojans beat Hampshire, 8-1.

Northwest Herald Power Rankings

1. Huntley (26-5): The Red Raiders allowed two runs in their last four games to overtake Crystal Lake South for the Fox Valley Conference lead.

2. Crystal Lake South (26-4): It was a tough weekend for South, which lost a pair of FVC games to Huntley despite allowing only four runs.

3. Cary-Grove (22-7): The Trojans are playing some of their best ball and riding an eight-game winning streak. They even have a shot at second place in the FVC if they sweep South.

4. McHenry (19-10): The Warriors have fallen back a bit in the FVC standings, but still are not a team others want to see in the postseason with NCAA Division I pitchers Bobby Miller and Mike Lasiewicz.

5. Johnsburg (16-13): The Skyhawks took two of three from co-Kishwaukee River Conference leader Burlington Central last week. Two more wins against Woodstock North can wrap up the conference title.


Balanced staff: Huntley coach Andy Jakubowski sees signs of the hitting coming around, but knows the Red Raiders are resourceful enough to find other ways to win — mainly with pitching and defense.

The Raiders did not commit an error in three games against South (the Gators also did not have an error). Starters Kyle Morgan, Adam Smylie, Cameron Reed and Nick Laxner combined to allow one run in their last games (the other run allowed came off the bullpen).

Laxner missed 2 1/2 weeks with some arm soreness, but returned last week and has two wins. He threw 55 pitches in his first start and went five innings with 69 pitches in Monday’s 2-0 triumph over South.

Jakubowski’s staff is deep enough that Reed’s start against South on Saturday marked the first time a Raiders hurler had reached triple digits on the pitch count. Reed was at 104 and was taken out after the seventh inning. The Raiders won the game, 2-1, in the eighth.

Engelking is ready: South right-hander Andrew Engelking has been tough on hitters most of the season, but allowed more runs in his last two starts than he has all year. He was experiencing some arm soreness, but Gators coach Brian Bogda said he feels better.

“He has no diagnosed injury, just some tightness,” Bogda said. “He’ll be ready to go Wednesday, Thursday or Friday. We have a couple other guys, it’s not just the Kyle (Lang) and Andrew Show.”

Noah Tyrrell threw six shutout innings on Saturday against Huntley and Riley Tannhauser allowed one run in four innings on Monday.

Watching her boy: South third baseman Brian Fuentes is enjoying that his mother Scarlett has come to the U.S. from Venezuela for the end of the season and to see him graduate.

Fuentes, one of the area’s most feared hitters, came here from Caracas, Venezuela last May to go to school for his senior year. He lives with Damil and Morgan Reyes, his uncle and aunt. Damil came to the U.S. in 2009 to play college baseball, so Brian has done something similar.

What to Watch

Cary-Grove vs. Crystal Lake South

• C-G is in third place in the Fox Valley Conference; South is in second, one game behind Huntley and may need a sweep to have a shot at the league title. They play Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

Huntley vs. Prairie Ridge

• The Red Raiders overtook South for the FVC lead with a pair of tight wins on Saturday and Monday. If they sweep the Wolves, they win the title outright. They play Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

Woodstock North vs. Johnsburg

• Johnsburg holds a one-game lead on Burlington Central with two games to play. If the Skyhawks hold off the Thunder in those two games, they win the title outright.

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