ALGONQUIN – Huntley junior Teagan O'Rilley isn't exactly sure why, but the Red Raiders' third baseman has all of a sudden found her power stroke.
"My mindest, maybe," said O'Rilley, who entered Monday's Fox Valley Conference game against Jacobs with six homers in the past six games, all wins for Huntley. "I guess I'm just in the zone."
O'Rilley again provided the Raiders with a big blast with a two-run home run in the first inning, senior first baseman Grace Kutz had a go-ahead RBI double in the sixth, and sophomore Briana Bower struck out 17 as the Raiders beat Jacobs, 4-2, for their ninth straight win.
O'Rilley's first-inning homer to center field was her 11th of the season and tied 2018 graduate Autumn Kasal for Huntley's single-season record. O'Rilley had nine combined home runs in her first two years on varsity.
"It really means a lot to me, because the last few years I've been around four or five [home runs]," O'Rilley said. "This year, I haven't gone in looking for them, but just trying to make solid contact, and they've been going out."
The two-run lead stood up until the third inning, when the Eagles (15-11, 7-8 FVC) scored twice against Bower. Two Huntley infield errors allowed the first run to score, and Sarah Lynch ripped a two-out double to score Delaney Garden for the second.
Bower (19-5) allowed one hit the rest of the way. She struck out 10 of the last 12 batters and did not issue a walk in the complete-game victory while lowering her ERA to 1.61.
Bower already has recorded 10 or more strikeouts 15 times this year. She had a school-record 18 strikeouts in her fourth start of the season against DeKalb.
Bower now has 262 strikeouts in 151 1/3 innings and owns the school's single-season record, Huntley coach Mark Petryniec said. She held the last six batters in Jacobs' lineup hitless in 17 at-bats with 15 strikeouts.
"We told them to make sure they're attacking the first good strike they see," Jacobs coach Katie O'Brien said. "Some of them did, and some of them didn't. The ones that did were more effective. We just couldn't put it all together."
After Sarah Lynch started and allowed two runs in 2 1/3 innings, Garden entered and went the final 4 1/3 innings, striking out five and walking none.
She almost escaped trouble in the sixth, but Kutz came through with a two-out double over the first-base bag to score Kendra Mitchell, who had an infield hit, from second. Mitchell added to Huntley's lead in the seventh with a two-out single to center field to score Micah Goodrich.
Huntley was hoping to play for a conference title this week, but Crystal Lake South wrapped up the championship Saturday, ending a streak of three straight FVC titles for Huntley (25-7, 11-3).
"We really just want to go out there, have fun, have a plan, and play with no pressure added," Mitchell said. "That's the big thing. If we play without pressure and have confidence, good things will happen."
STAR OF THE GAME
Teagan O’Rilley, Huntley, jr., 3B
O’Rilley tied Huntley’s single-season record with her 11th home run of the season, with a two-run blast in the top of the first.
17: Strikeouts for Huntley sophomore Briana Bower on Monday
AND ANOTHER THING …
Bower held Jacobs’ No. 4 through No. 9 hitters hitless in 17 at-bats with 15 strikeouts.
Huntley 4, Jacobs 2
Huntley 200 001 1 – 4 6 2
Jacobs 002 000 0 – 2 4 0
WP:Bower (7IP, 5H, 2R, 1ER, 0BB, 17K).LP:Garden (4.1IP, 5H, 2R, 2ER, 0BB, 5K).
Top hitters–Huntley:Mitchell 3-4 (2SB, RBI, R), O’Rilley 1-3 (HR, 2RBI, R), Goodrich 1-3 (R). Kutz 1-3, (2B, RBI), Jacobs:Armstrong 1-3 (2B, R), Garden 3-3 (R), Lynch 1-3 (2B, RBI).