Baseball: Huntley routs Harlem to take regional
Huntley executed head coach Andy Jakubowski's game plan to perfection.
Starting pitcher Eric Lin tossed four solid innings and the Huntley offense provided plenty of support in a 11-1 victory over Harlem in five innings on Monday in a Class 4A regional baseball championship game -- the fifth straight regional title for the Red Raiders.
"We did exactly what we wanted to do," Jakubowski said. "Eric was efficient all day long, he threw 52 pitches, and we got him out after four, which gives us some flexibility to bounce back. We gave up one hit, can't be disappointed in that."
Huntley (31-2) will play in the sectional semifinals against Mundelein at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday in Huntley.
Lin retired the side in order in each of the first three innings, striking out five along the way. Harlem didn't have a baserunner until a two-out error allowed Javier Garcia to reach first base. Lin didn't allow a hit in four innings of efficient work.
"The whole game plan was to go out there and throw strikes," Lin said. "I needed to get the outs, so that went well."
Harlem didn't score until the fifth inning, already trailing 10-0. With one out, James Cooper Jr. reach on an error and came around to score Harlem's only run when Eli Barefield fired a double to center field. Reliever Jake Jakubowski was able to escape any further damage with back-to-back strikeouts.
"They were throwing strikes," Harlem head coach Scott McCloy said. "Their starter was hitting the outside corner where he wanted, he was pitching the ball where he wanted. When you can throw strikes in high school baseball, and throw the ball where you want, it's going to be tough."
Despite the score by Harlem in the top of the fifth, Huntley managed to close out the game in the bottom of the fifth. Tyler Castro smashed a double to center field. Brandon Hanley, who was 2-for-2 and also reached base on an error and a walk, followed with a line-drive single to bring Castro home and secure the regional title.
"I saw we had a great lead, and I thought, 'Just put the ball in play, we've got nobody out, move him over,' " Hanley said. "It was a great feeling, another walk-off. I love these guys, they played really well today. We came out the gate really well, and if we keep doing that, we're going to go really far."
The run capped a big afternoon for the Red Raider offense.
Huntley put up 5 runs in the first inning on 4 hits and with the help of 4 Harlem errors. Ryan Kelly and Lucas Goldstein each delivered RBI singles. Alex Janke drew a bases-loaded walk, Harout Meyer was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded, and a Harlem error allowed the Red Raiders to push across their fifth run.
Huntley posted 3 more runs in the third inning from 3 hits -- a triple from Brayden Bakes, a single from Goldstein and a single from Ryan Bakes (2 for 3, 2 runs scored). The Red Raiders tacked on 2 more unearned runs in the fourth.