Baseball: Huntley handles McHenry for 11th straight win
Huntley sought to apply pressure right away against McHenry on Friday, taking up where it left off on Thursday.
That plan is easier to talk about than it is to execute, although the Red Raiders pulled it off quite nicely. Huntley used an error, a hit-and-run, another error and a sacrifice fly to push in its first two hitters and set the tone.
The Raiders then rode the strong pitching of junior Andrew Ressler to a 5-1 Fox Valley Conference victory at Petersen Park. Huntley, which is ranked No. 1 in Illinois by Prep Baseball Report, won its 11th consecutive game.
"We talked about scoring early and continuing our momentum from last game," said Raiders coach Andy Jakubowski, whose team closed out an 8-0 win against McHenry on Thursday with three runs each in the fifth and sixth innings. "Our guys executed that."
Alex Janke reached on an error, Tyler Castro dropped a hit-and-run single into left field, Janke scored when Castro stole second and the throw to second was dropped, then Brandon Hanley scored Castro with a single.
"We played really well," said Hanley, who also threw out runners stealing second in the first and third innings. "Our pitching staff was great, as they usually do. We got up on them early, which was great, that's a recipe for success. Once we get settled in, there's no stopping us."
Huntley (20-1, 11-1 FVC) added two runs in the fourth and another in the fifth. Ressler (4-1) struggled early, but came back with six strong innings, striking out nine and allowing three hits.
"That first inning I couldn't throw my off-speed, they were hitting the ball and I walked the first guy, which is never good," Ressler said. "I felt better as the game went on. It felt like my velocity was higher, the slider kept moving more and I felt more confident with it."
Jakubowski had his doubts about Ressler early.
"He labored in the first inning and the mindset was, 'I hope he can give us four (innings),' " Jakubowski said. "As the game progressed, he just got better and better. He got stronger as the game went on, he found his arm slot and stayed consistent with it. He did a really, really nice job."
From the third through the sixth inning, Ressler faced only two batters over the minimum.
McHenry sophomore Cooper Cohn had two doubles and Lleyton Grubich singled to drive in Cohn in the second for the Warriors' lone run. McHenry fell to 10-13, 5-7.
"(Ressler) mixed in the slider and curveball a little bit more," Warriors coach Brian Rockweiler said. "And he threw strikes. In high school, when kids can throw multiple pitches for strikes, it's kind of tough and he did that."