Varsity softball slides their way to victory

Huntley dominates Crystal Lake Central over six innings


Z. Emerson

Senior Jori Heard pitches the ball as her teammates look on.

By Zoe Emerson

As Huntley High School’s Red Raiders prepared for their game against the Crystal Lake Central Tigers on April 26, the distinct chill in the air was enough to make anybody complain. The near-freezing temperatures were further enhanced by the extremely high winds.

Although the weather conditions might have seemed unbearable to some, the low temperatures had no impact on Huntley’s varsity softball team. To the players, it was just another game in yet another dominating season. 

The eventful first inning began with CLC up to bat. Senior pitcher Jori Heard put on a stellar display during the inning, striking out three CLC players in a row. At the bottom of the inning, Heard only further demonstrated her athleticism as she hit a double on her turn up to bat. 

The remainder of the first inning proved to be in Huntley’s favor, as there were several hits, walks, and stolen bases from standout players like juniors Clara Hudgens and Katie Mitchell. At the conclusion of the inning, the score was 2-0.

The second inning passed by relatively quickly, as Heard once again asserted her dominance by striking out three more players consecutively. However, Huntley’s batting was riddled with strikeouts. By the time the inning was over, the score was still 2-0. 

The third inning only increased Heard’s momentum as she struck out three more Tigers in quick fashion. Huntley’s batting bounced back from the previous inning as senior Zoe Doherty hit a single, leading to a run being scored. The inning came to a close soon after, leaving the game at a score of 3-0. 

During the fourth inning, the Tigers started to get more hits. However, freshman Sadie Svendsen ended the inning quickly by getting all three outs at first base. 

The Red Raiders hit a flurry of singles as senior Reese Hunkins, Hudgens, and Doherty’s hits resulted in scored runs. At the end of the inning, the score had jumped up four points to make the game 7-0. 

The fifth inning resulted in Heard striking out two of her opponents, and Svendsen getting another out at first base. By the end of the game, Svendsen handed a total of four outs to CLC. 

Huntley contributed to the quick inning with a strikeout, a first base out, and a pop fly out. However, the Tigers failed to score any runs.

The sixth and final inning of the game had Heard sweeping at the pitcher’s mound, getting three strikeouts in a row. Mitchell and Hunkins both hit doubles, with Hunkins’ hit resulting in a run. Hunkins then stole third base shortly after.

Near the conclusion of the inning, CLC made a pitching change. With the end of the game on the horizon, Huntley continued on the offense. The game finished soon after, with the Red Raiders defeating the Tigers with a score of 11-0. 

Hunkins felt that the team played very well and putting up runs in nearly each inning contributed to the victory. 

“We had [to] battle each inning,” Hunkins said. “We scored runs every other inning or so. It was [a] good team effort.”

Junior Alyssa Ekstrom thought that although it was hard to play with the wind, the team tried their best to make solid contact. Ekstrom also has hope for the team going forward. 

“I think this game set a good example for how we want to continue to play,” Ekstrom said. “[We] just keep grinding as the teams get better and we hopefully get better as well.”

Head coach Mark Petryniec elaborated on Ekstrom’s statement, adding that the team’s ultimate goal is to win the conference. 

“This game is just a step in our process to get to our ultimate goal,” Petryniec said. “So far, we’ve been perfect through [the] conference. Tomorrow, we play a second-place team. This is a good step in the right direction.” 

The varsity softball team has been dominant in almost every game and has repeatedly proved that they are willing to put in the effort to win as many games as possible. 

The team has many goals set for their season, and after this game, it is evident that the team is on their way to greatness.