HUNTLEY – Huntley’s Kyle Maurer knew immediately he had gotten it all.
The Red Raiders center fielder took a mighty hack, met the ball solidly with the bat’s barrel, took two steps and flipped his bat, then thrust his left arm in the air in triumph as he started his home run trot.
Maurer’s three-run shot in the bottom of the fifth inning gave Huntley its first lead, which the Raiders did not let go. Reliever Davis Pasco recorded the last five outs as Huntley held off stubborn Hampshire, 6-5, in their Fox Valley Conference game Saturday.
The win left Huntley (23-8, 17-6 FVC) one game ahead of Prairie Ridge (15-6), two up on McHenry (13-6) and 3 1/2 up on Cary-Grove (12-8).
Hampshire sophomore Dylan Petrey was tough on Huntley through four innings, allowing one earned run and leading, 3-2. The Raiders worked two walks and had two outs when Maurer stepped in.
“In the previous at-bats, I had the wrong approach,” said Maurer, who was 0 for 2 with a strikeout. “(Petrey) kept throwing me sliders. I told myself in that at-bat I was going to lay off of those and wait for a fastball, try to get deep in the count, and I ended up driving it pretty far.”
Whip-Purs coach Frank Simoncelli thought Petrey had only one bad pitch in those six innings.
“He did a heck of a job,” Simoncelli said. “He kept us in the game, he controlled the game well. It was a 3-1 count and he attacked with a fastball and the kid must have been guessing fastball. He put a pretty good shot on it.”
Hampshire (15-12, 10-10) had a chance to widen its gap moments before Maurer’s shot. The Whips put together three singles to load the bases with one out. Huntley starter Hunter Rumachik struck out Jon Mroz and Josh Sulejmani to end that inning.
“I wasn’t really too nervous,” Rumachik said. “It was just another game, I was trying to throw some strikes. I was just able to hit my spots. I got ahead in counts and got them to chase a few pitches. That was pretty big for us. Who knows what would have happened if they scored some runs there?”
Huntley coach Andy Jakubowski commended Rumachik for his work over 5 1/3 innings, with eight strikeouts and no earned runs.
“He did a really, really good job for us,” Jakubowski said. “That [fifth inning] was a big moment in the game. Hunter did a great job of pitching over our mistakes. We kicked it around and he was able to keep them at bay.”
Hampshire rallied in the seventh with three hits. Matt Jachec singled, Gavin Kriegel doubled and Caden Pyszka’s sacrifice fly scored one run. Mroz’s single scored another run, but Pasco struck out three of the last four batters to nail down the save.
Huntley, still in first place despite losing three of its last four games, is trying to win its fourth consecutive FVC championship.
“We’ll take it,” Jakubowski said. “Keep grinding. We have one more conference game (Monday at Hampshire) and if we win, worst case we at least get a share of the title.”
STAR OF THE GAME
Huntley, sr., CF
Maurer ripped a three-run homer in the bottom of the fifth inning to give Huntley the lead for good against Hampshire.
Strikeouts for Huntley starter Hunter Rumachik and hits for Hampshire off of him.
AND ANOTHER THING
Hampshire second baseman Caden Pyszka had a big day in the field. In the first, he snagged a tough ground ball to start a 4-6-3 double play. In the second, he ran down Dylan Janke’s soft liner toward right field. In the fourth, he hustled over and flipped a ball deflected by first baseman Jon Mroz to pitcher Dylan Petrey for an out at first.
Huntley 6, Hampshire 5
Hampshire 210 000 2 – 5 11 3
Huntley 002 031 x – 6 7 4
WP: Hunter Rumachik (5.1IP, 8H, 3R, 0ER, 0BB, 8K). LP: Dylan Petrey (6IP, 7H, 6R, 4ER, 4BB, 6K).
Top hitters–Hampshire: Nick Sladek 1-4 (RBI), Matt Jachec 3-4 (2R), Gavin Kriegel 3-4 (2R), Caden Pyszka 1-3 (RBI), Jon Mroz 3-4 (3RBIs). Huntley: Kyle Maurer 1-3 (HR, 3RBIs, R), Jason Peters 2-3 (R), Josh Tarlin 1-2 (2B).