Baseball: Priester fans 11, leads Cary-Grove over Huntley
Huntley battled back against one of the premier pitchers in high school baseball but Quinn Priester and host Cary-Grove had the final say in a 4-3 win Saturday.
Priester, a potential first-round pick in the June first-year player draft, according to multiple national publications, said he felt "awesome" throughout a 102-pitch performance, his first extended outing this season.
The 6-foot-4, 205-pound senior right-hander struck out 11, walked one and took a 3-1 lead to the top of the seventh. Then Huntley went first-pitch hunting.
Kyle Maurer delivered a one-out single to left on the first pitch. Jackson Broom lined the next pitch to right for a single. Dylan Janke then smacked a first-pitch double, scoring Maurer to make it a 1-run game.
"We had a game plan going in where the first pitch is yours," said Huntley coach Andy Jakubowski, who last year guided the Red Raiders to second place in Class 4A. "If he throws a ball, take until you get a strike. Get his pitch count up. Our game plan was to stay close, get into their bullpen and give us a chance to win."
Priester hit Michael Talesky with the next pitch to load the bases. He induced a popout for the second out, then beaned Hunter Rumachik to force in the tying run.
That was it for Priester, who was at his pitch limit. He allowed 3 runs (2 earned) on 7 hits in 6⅔ innings.
Huntley's A.J. Henkle stepped to the plate against left-handed reliever Ethan Estes and lined the first pitch to Cary-Grove second baseman Jack Thompson to end the inning.
"The second baseman made a nice play," Jakubowski said. "A couple inches here or there and we're up 2 runs going into the last inning."
Priester remained in the game. He tripled to the center-field wall against new Huntley reliever Eli Paplanus to open the bottom of the seventh, his second triple of the game. He drove in 2 runs and scored twice.
"I was sitting fastball pretty much and he gave it to me," Priester said. "It was a really good hitter's pitch and I was able to drive it to deep center."
Jakubowski elected to intentionally walk LJ Waco and Estes to load the bases. The strategy nearly worked. Paplanus struck out Ben Taczy looking and induced an infield popout from Jacob Duncan. However, Thompson worked the count to 3-1 and drew a walk-off walk to make a winner of Cary-Grove (7-2, 1-0) in its Fox Valley Conference opener.
Huntley, which opened FVC play earlier this week with a 3-game sweep of Dundee-Crown, slipped to 9-3 overall, 3-1 in league games.
"Granted, we're a series behind them right now but you want to keep everyone as close to you as possible," Cary-Grove coach Ryan Passaglia said. "You don't want to get too far behind and let them get a 4-0 lead. They're going to rack up a lot of wins this year. They're a good team."
Huntley starting pitcher Jimmy Fairley did not allow a run or a hit in 3 innings and three relievers limited the Trojans to 4 hits.
"Both teams played extremely well," Jakubowski said. "I'm very proud of our boys the way they competed and fought back. We've done that for years now and to do it against one of the best arms in the country speaks volumes about our guys. They just don't quit."