Hersey's Ryan Allain could have easily packed it all in.
The junior pitcher got the start in his team's regional play-in game Monday against Rolling Meadows. But after surrendering a hit and walking three batters in a row, Allain was pulled.
"All I could do was try to hit after that," said Allain, who was replaced by Tommy Pearson on the mound.
"I just had to calm myself down. When I was in right field waiting to start again, center fielder Joe Silva came over to talk to me. He helped me a lot. I knew that I would just try to do what I could to help our team."
Undaunted, Allain came up with a huge 2-run double and drove in 3 runs in the game as Hersey upended the Mustangs 8-4. The Huskies (18-16) advance to play at top-seeded Libertyville on Wednesday.
It was also the 400th career win for Hersey coach Bob Huber, who was greeted with a water cooler bath from his team.
"I guess this just means I am old and have been here a long time," said Huber, who is in his 20th year as head coach. "I am proud. It means that we have averaged 20 wins per year. And we have at least one more game left this year."
Huber said he was not afraid to go to the mound early.
"We have some depth there and it is one game at a time," Huber said. "Tommy (Pearson) was unbelievable. He just pitched last Thursday and came back today and did a great job for us."
Indeed, Pearson was terrific for the Huskies. After getting out the jam in the first, the senior allowed 8 hits and just 1 earned run.
"I was told to be ready," Pearson said. "But I was a little surprised how fast I came in because he (Allain) was our top guy out there. I just wanted to make sure it was not my last game. I feel on top of the world."
Rolling Meadows (12-19) took the lead in the top of the first. After Brett Gibson singled to lead off the game, the Mustangs got consecutive walks from Alex Niecikowski, Erik Schurtz and Bobby Suchecki to force in a run.
Hersey came back to score two in the second on just 1 hit.
The Huskies loaded the bases when Eric Lebahn had the first of his two doubles. Andrew Segalla then walked and Brett Harris reached on a sacrifice bunt that turned into a fielder's choice. Allain drove in a run on fielder's choice, and Harris later scored from third on a throwing error on a failed pickoff attempt at first.
Hersey added two more in the third without a hit to make it 4-1. The Huskies took advantage of 3 Rolling Meadows errors as CJ Reichel and Segalla each scored due to Mustangs miscues.
Meadows got one of those runs back in the fourth. Sean O'Brien doubled and later scored on a fielder's choice by Will Goldsberry.
Rolling Meadows turned the tables on Hersey in the fifth, taking advantage of two Huskies errors to tie the game at 4. Niecikowski scored on a error and Schurtz, who reached on the same error, came in with the tying run on a sacrifice fly by Kevin Montero.
Hersey put the game away in its half of the inning, when the Huskies scored 4 runs.
Reichel doubled and scored on Meadows' fifth error of the game. With two outs, Harris and Karl Taillin walked. Allain followed and drilled a double to right center, clearing the bases. Will Trossen tripled to score Allain to break the game open.
"You have to credit Allain today," Huber said. "He didn't have it on the mound and he hung in there and made a big play. That's what coaching and teaching is all about for me."
The 8 errors by both teams had a huge effect on the game, according to Rolling Meadows coach Jim Lindeman.
"Neither one of us played real well," Lindeman said. "It was ugly baseball on both sides. But they got some key hits and we couldn't get the key hits. We had the opportunity to out some runs on the board in the first inning and we weren't able to."