With Tyler Hall and Bryce Only on the mound Thursday, both Crystal Lake South and Huntley knew their game was likely going to be low scoring.
It was, but the Gators got the key hits when they needed them. CL South scored 2 two-out runs in the bottom of the fifth inning to rally for a 3-2 Fox Valley Conference Valley Division victory in Crystal Lake.
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"We know when Hall is pitching if we put up a couple of runs we have a really good chance to win," CL South senior Jake Bigos said.
Hall (5-1) allowed just 5 hits to the high-powered offense of the Red Raiders (14-2, 7-2). The senior right-hander allowed a solo home run to Matt Sullivan in the second and an unearned run in the third. Hall walked 3 and struck out 5.
"I had a little adrenaline going toward the end of the game," Hall said. "I have a passion for the game and I just keep going as hard as I can until they tell me I can't throw no more."
Only (3-2) pitched well enough to earn the victory according to Huntley coach Andy Jakubowski. Only struck out 7 and walked 3 in 5 innings.
But the Gators (11-1, 8-1) finally got to Only in the fourth, scoring an unearned run as Huntley made 2 errors in the inning. In the fifth, Bigos had a two-out double to right field that brought in Troy Bittenbender to tie the game at 2-2. Max Meitzler followed and singled to center to drive in Bigos.
"I thought we had some decent at-bats off of (Only)," Gators coach Brian Bogda said. "I really liked we got guys in scoring position, but we just had to come up with another hit so it wasn't so close."
The Red Raiders had chances to score more runs in the third and score in the fourth and sixth, but baserunning mistakes doomed Huntley. The Red Raiders had runners picked off second for the final out of the third. After a leadoff double from Sullivan in the fourth, he was picked off second for the first out. In the sixth, they had a runner on third with just one out but failed to score as Sullivan hit a chopper back to Hall, who threw home to get Dillon Dell Aquilla, who was going on first contact.
"We hurt ourselves," Jakubowski said. "Hall pitched a great ballgame and kept our hitters off balanced, but we hurt ourselves defensively and on the bases."