Matt Dennis of Rolling Meadows wasn't about to let his well-pitched game go to waste Monday against host Hersey.
So the senior took matters into his own hands at the plate.
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With the Mustangs trailing 2-0 in the 7th inning, Dennis blasted a long 2-run homer over the fence in left-center to send the game into extras.
Rolling Meadows (3-2-1, 1-0) plated a run in the top of the 10th to defeat the Huskies 3-2 in the Mid-Suburban East opener for both teams.
"I was looking for a fastball, something to hit," said Dennis of his dramatic longball. "I had to remind myself to stay back because I'd been hitting off my front foot the whole game."
Dennis struck out nine in 9 innings of work to get the win. Mustangs senior Jack Milas got the final three outs to preserve the victory.
"I thought both teams played well," said Meadows coach Jim Lindeman. "It was a nice win for us and a tough loss for them."
While Hersey starting pitcher Alex Sutrinaitis kept the Mustang bats at bay through 6 innings, the Huskies (2-4, 0-1) were able to manufacture single runs in the fourth and fifth.
A sacrifice fly by Andrew Segalla gave Hersey a 1-0 advantage, then Jake Yager's Texas League single doubled the lead.
"We've been striving for consistency so far this season," said Hersey coach Bob Huber. "We played a lot better today and I was happy about that, but it doesn't make the loss any easier to take."
After the shot by Dennis tied the score, the teams battled into the 10th as the day turned from warm and sunny to cold and blustery with a biting wind in a matter of minutes.
Meadows junior Alex Niecikowski lined a sharp single to left to open the 10th. A single by Zach Schultz pushed Niecikowski to third, and with two outs the junior scored the game-winner on a wild pitch.
"Our coaches always tell us to be smart on the basepaths, but also be aggressive," said the junior. "I saw the ball get away from the catcher and I went for it."
Niecikowski slid in safely under the tag, then Milas shook off a leadoff single by Hersey's Segalla in the bottom of the 10th to record the final three outs.
"We've been talking about taking conference since day one," said Niecikowski, "so this was a great way to start."
Junior CJ Reichel of Hersey recorded the only other extra base hit of the day, a double, while Mike Dolan, Dan Hendrickson, and Dan Hendricks added base hits for Meadows.
"Their guy (Sutrinaitis) threw a great game, as did our guy," said Lindeman. "We got a little fortunate at the end with the wild pitch but hey, we'll take it."