CRYSTAL LAKE – Patience and plate discipline proved to be Huntley’s best allies.
They had to be, because hits were scarce.
The Red Raiders drew nine walks and had four hit batters reach base. They needed almost all of them to subdue Crystal Lake South, 7-5, in their Fox Valley Conference game Wednesday at The Swamp.
Huntley’s Dylan Janke drew the ninth walk of the game to bring in a run in the top of the seventh. Evan Tocmo’s ground ball scored another run, and Davis Pasco finished 3 1/3 scoreless innings with a perfect seventh for the victory.
“We won the freebie award today,” Raiders coach Andy Jakubowski said. “They gave us a lot of free passes and hit by pitches. Our guys believe. We always find a way to get the tying run on base or up to the plate and push it across. They kind of turn that light switch on in the seventh inning.”
Huntley (13-4, 7-2 FVC) moved into a tie for first place with Prairie Ridge, which lost to McHenry, 4-0. South fell to 8-6, 4-6.
The Raiders scored three in the first inning on two walks, a hit batsman and Zach Model’s deep fly ball to right-center field that Gators center fielder Kyle Hetherington could not hold on to.
They took a 5-0 lead after three innings with one hit.
“We had some good at-bats in the first couple innings, got guys on, moved them over and took advantage of their mistakes,” said Model, who had the Raiders’ only two hits.
South came back to tie the score, and reliever Nathan Schlaiss was in a duel with Pasco.
“I like to throw inside fastballs, and I was trying to keep with that,” Schlaiss said. “I hit some outside corners. I wasn’t throwing much offspeed because they couldn’t touch my fastball.”
Schlaiss struck out six over five innings, while Pasco faced one over the minimum for the final three innings.
“The curveball was working nice,” Pasco said. “I kept it around the zone, and I knew the guys behind me would back me up.”
Huntley eventually broke through against Schlaiss when Jason Peters walked with one out in the seventh and Model singled. Kyle Maurer struck out, but Jackson Broom was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Janke’s walk and Tocmo’s ground ball brought in two runs.
“We just walked too many guys,” Gators coach Brian Bogda said. “I like how we bounced back and didn’t give up, down five to a real good team. Nathan did a nice job and kept us in the game. We’ve just been on the wrong end of these lately.”
Jakubowski said the late rallies have become a characteristic of the Raiders.
“We were like that last year a lot,” Model said. “We were really down, they had all the momentum, and we rallied up and got it done.”
Pasco was encouraged by the manner in which the Raiders won.
“It’s nice to know that even if we aren’t playing to our full potential, and against a good team, we can still grind out a win,” Pasco said.
STAR OF THE GAME
Huntley, sr., SS-2B
Model had the Red Raiders’ only two hits in the game, the second coming with a runner on in the seventh inning as Huntley scored twice.
2: Huntley runs that scored off RBIs.
AND ANOTHER THING ...
Gators pitcher Nathan Schlaiss had trouble gripping his changeup because of a jammed right ring finger, an injury he suffered in P.E. class. Schlaiss was effective, however, by working his fastball and breaking pitches for six strikeouts in five innings.
Huntley 7, Crystal Lake South 5
Huntley 311 000 2 – 7 2 4
CL South 002 300 0 – 5 9 1
WP: Davis Pasco, 3-0 (3.1IP, 1H, 0R, 0ER, 0BB, 0K). LP: Nathan Schlaiss, 1-2 (5IP, 2H, 3R, 3ER, 4BB, 6K).
Top hitters–Huntley: Zach Model 2-4 (2R), Evan Tocmo 0-3 (RBI), Dylan Janke 0-2 (RBI). CL South: Jacob Bimbi 2-4 (RBI, R), Patrick Fischer 1-3 (RBI), Kyle Hetherington 2-4 (RBI), Nick Mannella 2-2 (2R).