Huntley baseball coach Andy Jakubowski's midseason decision to switch submarining right-hander Adam Kalish from closer to starter continued to pay off Saturday.
Kalish -- making his fourth start since departing the bullpen, where he had 4 saves in 4 opportunities -- snapped Cary-Grove's 8-game winning streak by holding the first-place Trojans to 3 hits and 2 walks while striking out 6 in a 5-3 win.
The victory gave the Red Raiders a 2-game series split following Cary-Grove's 15-5 win on Friday.
The win also vaulted Huntley (18-6-1, 11-4) into a three-way tie for first place in the Fox Valley Conference's Valley Division with Cary-Grove (16-9, 11-4) and Jacobs (17-11, 11-4), which defeated McHenry (17-8, 10-5) on Saturday, 5-1. Each team has 4 conference games to play.
"I think we needed this psyche-wise after (Friday) because we didn't play very well defensively and it really hurt us in the outcome of that game" Jakubowski said. "It was good for our psyche to bounce back. It was a good character game for us."
Kalish (4-0) allowed 2 runs in the first inning on an infield hit, a walk and a two-out, 2-run single by Wyatt Mascarella. Then he found his groove and retired 14 straight.
"It was a must-win for our conference standing, so I had a few jitters," said Kalish, whose 2 earned runs allowed lowered his ERA to 0.79 in 35⅓ innings. "I had one bad inning, settled in and just got back to what I'm used to doing."
Huntley tied the game 2-2 in its half of the first inning on a run-scoring single by cleanup hitter Tommy Kiriakopoulos and Jake Ciskowski's RBI groundout, which scored Brandon Altergott, who led off with a single.
The Red Raiders grabbed a 3-2 lead in the third inning when the right-handed hitting Kiriakopoulos used an inside-out swing to belt a pitch from Cary-Grove starting pitcher Andrew Splitt (5-2) into right center.
"He gave me a high fastball and I just hit it that way," Kiriakopoulos said.
Splitt lasted 4⅓ innings. His undoing was leadoff walks issued in the third and fifth innings, both of which eventually scored. His leadoff walk of Troy Cantu in the fifth turned into Huntley's fourth run when Altergott bunted the runner to second and Matt Sullivan singled him home.
The Trojans drew within 4-3 in the top of the sixth when Splitt's sacrifice fly to deep left field scored junior Jason Barrett.
However, with runners at first and third and two outs, Kalish faked the pickoff move to first base, wheeled and fired to third base to pick off the potential tying run. He then retired Cary-Grove's 6-7-8 hitters in order in the seventh to complete his 3-hitter.
"They played much better than us," Cary-Grove coach Don Sutherland said. "They were down on pitching and their kid pitched a gem. Shoot, we got 2 hits. Three, actually, but they covered second and we got a groundball through. You can't win a game when you have 3 hits. That's the way it is. They got stolen bases when they needed, they got bunts down when they needed. When that happens you lose games."
Cary-Grove has a pair of 2-game FVC Valley series remaining against Crystal Lake South and Jacobs. Huntley's 4 remaining FVC games include home games against CL South and Woodstock and a 2-game set against Dundee-Crown.