Softball: Huntley routs Jacobs
Huntley's Makayla Rasmussen remembers watching the Red Raiders play in big games growing up and thinking how cool it would be to compete on the same stage one day.
"It was so exciting to see them keep winning and go to state," said Rasmussen, one of four freshmen on Huntley. "It was so much fun."
Huntley's first-year pitcher who teammates call "Mak" has been a big part of her teams' success this year, teaming up with senior pitcher Juliana Maude and many others to lead Huntley to the top of the Fox Valley Conference once again.
On Tuesday, Rasmussen allowed only a hit, while freshmen Grace Benson and Aubrina Adamik also had big days to lead Huntley past Jacobs 21-0 in four innings.
Seven of the first eight batters for Huntley (14-6, 11-1) reached base, with only Adamik not getting on after hitting a sacrifice fly to right field to drive in the third run of the first inning.
Three batters later, it was Benson's turn to knock in some runs when she ripped a two-run home run to center field.
Benson's first career homer gave Huntley a 7-0 lead.
"The pitch was there and I just went for," said Benson, who was 3 for 4 with two runs scored and three RBIs. "It was really a team effort in that inning. We were just stringing hits together and the energy in our dugout was really good.
"I was sprinting, and I almost caught up to [pinch runner] Ellie [Winter], and she had to tell me to slow down. I saw it go out, and I was just really happy."
The Raiders scored four runs in the second and had a 10-run fourth - sending 16 batters up to bat.
Huntley finished with 15 hits, including 13 singles. Ava McFadden (2 for 3, two runs) had the only other extra-base hit with an RBI double in the fourth.
Clara Hudgens (2 for 3) and Adamik each had two runs scored and two RBIs, and Katie Mitchell scored twice and had two steals. Alyssa Roos (2 for 2) tallied two RBIs, and Madison Rozanski, Meg Ryan, Alyssa Bonner (two runs), Christina Smith, Rasmussen and Alyssa Ekstrom each added an RBI.
Rasmussen reached base three times and scored a run, while she kept Jacobs (9-13, 6-5) second guessing with a variety of looks. Strong winds seemed to help her pitches get more movement.
"I didn't think I was going to pitch this much, but it just feels great that I'm getting opportunities to play," Rasmussen said. "The season's been very good for me. All the girls are really nice and super fun. They just make it so much fun."
Benson has not been surprised by Rasmussen's success.
"Mak has great confidence," Benson said. "If people do hit her, she's never fazed. I've been playing with her since her and I were nine years old, and she's always been confident on the mound no matter what. Always smiling Mak."
Jacobs coach Jessica Turner, who was an assistant coach for Huntley last year, said Rasmussen did a good job of keeping her team off balance.
Kaitlyn Wysong had the only hit for the Eagles, a solid single to center field in the second.
"She's got that screwball that comes inside, she's got the curve ball that goes outside, and she's also got that changeup," Turner said. "Pick the one that you hit well. When you see it in your at-bat, that's the one we have to hit hard."
Huntley coach Mark Petryniec said all four freshmen - Rasmussen, Adamik, Benson and Lyla Ginczycki - have played important roles.
"We're fortunate to have a lot of talented players come in," Petryniec said. "They've been taken in by our seniors, and they've followed their great examples. Every time we put them in, they're doing something successful for us."
Benson feels grateful to have a spot on the team.
"Just to have the opportunity to play with these really talented girls and be able to wear Huntley across our chest as freshmen has been really cool," Benson said. "The experience has been amazing so far. I'm really happy to be a part of this team.
"This is a really good group."