Softball: Maude makes most of her turn, leads Huntley over Oswego
Huntley junior Juliana Maude hasn't seen much time in the pitcher's circle the past few seasons, but she was sure happy to be there Saturday afternoon against Oswego.
Last year, she wasn't a member of the varsity squad. This spring, she's been stuck in the rotation behind the strong arm of Jori Heard, who gobbles up most of the Red Raiders' innings.
Maude did not allow an unearned Oswego run in the bottom of the first get to her. Instead, she clamped down the rest of the way while leading Huntley (21-5) to a convincing 11-2 nonconference victory.
Maude (3-0), who remains unbeaten as a starter, scattered seven hits and struck out eight while walking just one during the complete-game effort.
"My success today was all about hitting my spots," Maude said. "Hitting spots is mainly a mindset thing, along with good footwork. I was fortunate to have good spin on my pitches as well."
Also spinning was the Raiders' lineup, top to bottom. All nine starters reached base safely, which included Heard's three opposite-field doubles, a single and four RBI.
"I was just getting a lot of pitches on the outside part of the plate, so I took them that way," Heard said.
Earlier in the day, Heard also tossed an eight-inning no-hitter during Huntley's 1-0 win over Kaneland -- her third no-no in the past week, and fourth of the year.
Against Oswego, Huntley trailed, 1-0, in the top of the third. That's when the Raiders broke away for good, kickstarted by back-to-back singles from leadoff hitter Katie Mitchell (3 for 5, RBI) and No. 2 batter Clara Hudgens.
That was followed by Heard's first double of the game, scoring a pair. Then a single from Reese Hunkins, plus RBIs by Madison Smith (2 for 4), Meghan Ryan (3 for 4, 2 RBI) and Zoe Doherty (2 for 4, 2 RBI). Huntley jumped ahead, 5-1.
The Raiders scored twice more in the top of the fourth, to go up 7-1, before Oswego's No. 5 hitter, sophomore Madyson Smith, belted a solo homer in the bottom half.
"Madyson is one of several underclassmen who have made significant contributions to our lineup this year," Oswego coach Sara Pawlowski said. "She had some real nice at-bats this afternoon."
Another is freshman Aubriella Garza, who had an RBI single, while tossing a complete game for the Panthers (14-7). Although she took the loss against a loaded Huntley lineup, she held them scoreless for five of her seven innings.
"Huntley is an extremely talented team, and I told the girls after the game, this should be a learning experience," Pawlowski said. "We still have big goals and know we're a pretty good softball team, ourselves. We still have about half our conference games remaining, so that's going to be a big focus the rest of the way."
Also contributing for the Panthers were Kaylee LaChapell (2 for 4, stolen base), Corrin Kennedy (1 for 4, run scored) and Madelyn Hernandez (1 for 3, stolen base).
Five of Huntley's 17 hits were two-out RBI hits. Eight starters scored at least one run, and the Raiders did so with line drive after line drive, rather than launch-angle swings that have become more prevalent.
"That's not our identity," Huntley coach Mark Petryniec said. "We're a slap-hitting, line-drive hitting team that wants to wear you out. We'll use our speed and intelligence to take an extra base on the basepaths. We'll put pressure on the other team's defense. We'll advance runners.
"Our identity is a bit more old-school, but it's our identity and it's what wins us games and works for us. I've been coaching a long time, and that's part of the fun of this game. Seeing where our different blend of players takes us year after year. Right now, we're just out there battling each pitch, each at-bat and having fun doing it."