No. 6 Huntley Rallies Late, Knocks Off Neuqua Valley In Extra Innings

By Peter Hamot and Drew locascio
Illinois Staff

On Thursday afternoon, No. 6 Huntley traveled to play a Neuqua Valley team looking to rebound after their loss yesterday. Huntley strung together a late rally, eventually tying the game in the top of the seventh, before going on to win 5-4 in extra innings.

Neuqua Valley (1-2), who held a lead the entire game, was up 4-3 heading to the top of the seventh inning. With one out and nobody on, senior Alex Janke squared up a ground ball on the infield which could have resulted in out number two but an errant throw allowed Janke to reach third base with one out. Janke eventually scored on a game-tying RBI single to right field by senior Tyler Castro, a McHenry County JC commit.  Castro then went on to steal both second and third base to put himself ninety feet from taking the lead. However, Neuqua Valley’s third baseman, Sean Shannon, would go on to make a great running catch to prevent the winning run from scoring and keep the game tied at four heading into the bottom of the seventh. 

The game eventually headed to extra’s and in the top of the eighth inning, junior Nick Martino would get things started for the Red Raiders by roping a double into left centerfield. After a hit-by-pitch made it first and second with nobody out, C.J. Filipek would then single up the middle to bring home Martino who represented the go-ahead run. Neuqua would escape further damage in the frame to keep the score 5-4 heading to the bottom of the eighth. 

Eric Lin, who came in for Huntley in the seventh, went back out to finish off the eighth inning and close out the win for Huntley. Lin, a Triton JC commit, gave up a single in the frame but that was all Neuqua Valley could muster and Huntley held on for a 5-4 win. Lin, who was credited with the win, showed a big jump in velocity from our last look, sitting 89-92 mph, touching 93 in his 1.2 innings of work. Lin relied heavily on his lively fastball, allowing only one hit, no walks, while striking out four. 

Neuqua Valley got off to a quick start in the bottom of the first inning with Colin Lewandowski roping a double into right centerfield, which scored Grant Palmer who reached base earlier in the inning. Lukas Wenz would then single to right field to bring home Lewandowski for the second run of the inning. 

Neuqua Valley scored their other two runs of the ballgame in the bottom of the fourth inning with Lewandowski starting things off once again getting hit by a pitch to lead off the frame. Wenz would add another hit to his day by ripping a double into the left center gap, which moved Lewandowski to third. Jaden Mitchell would then ground into a fielder’s choice to the shortstop to plate Lewandowski and add another run to their lead at the time. Sophomore Mark Wagner then proceeded to hit a bullet into right center field to bring home Wenz and extend their lead to 4-1. 

Huntley scored all of their runs from the fourth inning on. Castro, who delivered the game-tying in the seventh, led off the fourth with a sharp single to right and would later score on a Brandon Hanley single up the middle. Huntley would go on to score two more runs in the fifth. Chase Jetel led off the inning with a line drive up the middle. Castro would go on to deliver yet another hit and RBI single, scoring Jetel and advanced to second on the throw home. Sophomore Ryan Bakes, a South Carolina commit, would then go on to single over the third baseman’s head and bring home Castro to cut the lead down to one at the time. 

RHP Adam Guazzo was the starter for Huntley going four innings. Guazzo featured a four-pitch mix of a fastball, slider, curveball, and changeup. His fastball sat comfortably at 84-88 with sink and featured a changeup thrown from a similar arm slot with good arm side movement. He also showed to have feel for his slider and plus curveball, with being able to throw them both for strikes. 

Freshman, RHP Malachi Paplanus came in for a one-inning stint and was extremely efficient striking out the side on 10 pitches. Paplanus, one of the top freshmen we have seen to-date, sat 80-83 mph with his fastball, went to a 70-72 mph sharp, biting curveball and late sinking 74 mph changeup to keep the Neuqua Valley hitters at bay.

With the 5-4 win, Huntley moves to 2-0 on the season.