Softball: Huntley’s bats stay hot in FVC victory over McHenry

Huntley came out swinging Wednesday, sending 13 batters to the plate against McHenry in the top of the first inning.

The Red Raiders’ first three batters – Ajai Bonner, Aubrina Adamik and Meghan Ryan – ripped base hits to all three outfield spots to load the bases, and cleanup hitter Lyla Ginczycki had another hard hit to score Huntley’s first run.

Bonner, Adamik and Ryan would all get a second at-bat in the inning, and all three came through with their second base hits as the the Raiders scored seven times on nine hits en route to a 14-1 Fox Valley Conference victory in six innings.

Huntley (17-5, 9-2 FVC) finished with 17 hits (14 singles, three doubles) and has scored 33 runs over its past two games.

The Raiders also had seven steals, with Sadie Svendsen and Lana Hobday getting two apiece.

“I think we were just seeing it really good off the hand, and we were communicating what we saw to our team,” said Ryan, who went 4 for 4 with two runs scored and one RBI. “We all made the adjustments. All of our hits worked together. It only takes one to be contagious.”

Six of the Raiders’ nine starters accounted for all 17 hits. Bonner was 4 for 5 with a double, two runs scored and two RBIs, Adamik was 3 for 5 with two runs scored and one RBI, Ginczycki had two hits, including a double, and drove in one, and Ava McFadden was 2 for 4 with a double, two runs scored and three RBIs. Christina Smith had two hits and drove in two runs from the No. 9 spot.

Huntley lost its second FVC game of the season to Crystal Lake Central on Monday, giving the Raiders more than one loss in conference play for the first time since 2019.

Huntley’s offense seems to be hitting its stride at the right time.

“Just getting through the season and getting more repetition, more at-bats and being a little more disciplined at the plate,” Huntley coach Mark Petryniec said. “We’ve had some really good approaches up and down our lineup, and that’s why we’ve been successful the last couple of days.

“Dropping a conference game was a little reality check and a knock for us. It’s always good to get a little refocused for the stretch run here.”

Bonner has taken a liking to the leadoff spot, a new role for her.

“I think we definitely went in with a purpose,” said Bonner, who is tied with Ryan for the team lead with four home runs. “We weren’t all trying to do it with one swing. I’m just really grateful I can help and contribute to my team in that way.”

“She sets the tone,” Ryan added. “We need solid contact from our first batter. Everyone feeds off our first batter.”

Huntley junior pitcher Gretchen Huber held McHenry (10-8, 6-4) to one run – a solo homer from Vanessa Buske in the first inning – on only three hits. She struck out six and walked one.

Huber has been a big addition to the Raiders’ pitching staff this year.

“She stays so calm in every situation we’re in,” Ryan said. “We can have bad calls or things aren’t going her way, and she’s like, ‘Oh, I’ll just keep doing my thing.’ ”

Buske entered in relief of sophomore Natalie Bender after the first inning and tossed three shutout innings before Huntley added a run in the fifth and six in the sixth.

“They’re fantastic hitters, there’s nothing you can do about hitting it in the hole or hitting line drives like they do,” McHenry coach Mikaela Mitsch said of facing Huntley.

Huntley defeated Jacobs 19-1 on Tuesday and plays them again Thursday before getting the weekend off.

On Monday, Huntley plays at Prairie Ridge, which no-hit the Raiders in their first meeting April 8 and leads the FVC with a 10-1 record.

“It might come down to Monday, but that’s exciting,” Petryniec said. “[Prairie Ridge sophomore pitcher Reese Mosolino] is having a great year and it’s exciting to go up against her. We’re ready for the challenge.”

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