Softball: Huntley pulls away from Crystal Lake South
Nursing a tenuous 3-2 lead after 5 1/2 innings, Huntley exploded for 7 runs in the bottom of the sixth and cruised to a 10-3 win over Crystal Lake South in Fox Valley Conference action in Huntley Monday afternoon.
The Red Raiders defeated South 8-0 in Crystal Lake on April 26.
The key hits in the decisive inning for the 2019 Class 4A state champs were a 3-run double by Marley Reicher, an RBI double from freshman Meghan Ryan, and a run-scoring single by winning pitcher Bri Bower.
Ryan, who is replacing injured catcher Lindsay Morgan, stroked a solo homer in the bottom of the fifth.
"It was stressful at first, but this team welcomed with me open arms," said Ryan. "I have been in a groove at the plate."
After giving up an RBI single to South's Molly Cook in the first and a solo homer to Kennedy Grippo to lead off the third, Bower retired 15 of the final 16 batters she faced. The only blemish was a double by Alexis Pupillo with 1 out in the sixth.
Bower struck out 15 with 1 walk. The fifth through ninth hitters in the Gators lineup were 0-for-14 with 11 strikeouts.
"It was a rocky start," said Bower. "I started attacking the hitters. We are taking it one game at a time."
The Raiders (18-6, 12-0) tallied their 10 runs on 12 hits. Katie Mitchell, in the leadoff spot, collected 2 hits including a bunt single. Reicher (4 RBI), Ryan and Alexandra Kiriakopoulos each collected 2 hits. Jori Heard laid down a perfect sacrifice bunt in the 7-run inning.
"With the slap hitters and the speed we have we can play small ball," said Huntley coach Mark Petryniec. "We know we are going to get everybody's best shot. South is a very good team and should do well in 3A. Megan has done a good job with Lindsay out. Bri settled down and pitched well."
The Gators got on the scoreboard in the first on an RBI single by Cook scoring Grippo who led off the game with a double.
The Raiders tied the game in the bottom of the inning on an RBI single by Reese Hunkins to score Reicher, who walked and stole second.
The Gators (11-6, 7-5) took a 2-1 lead on the solo homer by Grippo.
Grippo was 2-for-3 with 2 runs scored, a double and a homer.
"This was a much better effort than the first time we played them," said Gators coach Patrick Kelly. "They are a great team with a great pitcher."