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Red Raiders finish season, prepare for regionals game

The Red Raiders baseball team has prepared for the regionals game by strengthing their defense and hitting (M. Makowski).

This season, Huntley’s varsity baseball team floundered at times with key situational hitting.  If it can do so in its next game, the sky’s the limit.

The Raiders, who finished the regular season with a record of 20-14 (10-8 in conference), will be taking on the Jacobs Golden Eagles in their first regional game on Thursday at 4 p.m.  Huntley will need to tune up its hitting to advance in the playoffs since 11 of its 14 losses this season have been by two runs or fewer.

“We struggled in the middle part of the year with our offense, executing our bunts, hitting with man on third and less than two outs,” said Jakubowski.  “[But] we’re swinging the bat a lot better and we’re executing better.”

Among those hitters who have swung a hot bat recently are juniors Colin Lyman and Bryce only, as well as senior Jordan Chuipek.  But what Huntley will have to fall back on during the postseason will be what it has done well all season: pitching and defense.

Huntley has shown a solid defense this season with a fielding percentage of .953 as of last week, the highest the Raiders have ever had.  Along with its defense, Huntley has a core of pitchers who will prove valuable in the postseason.

“Our pitching staff has stepped up,” said Jakubowski.  “Our top five, [Dan] Lowry, [Bryan] Doherty, [Jake] Perkins, [Justin] Gundlach and [Craig] Klein, have done a real nice job.”

The Raiders have prepared for their next game by working on situational hitting and by solidifying their stalwart defense, but they also hope that some momentum will help carry them through regionals.

“We’re playing a lot better than we have since the early part of the season, so we’re pretty excited” said Jakubowski.

“Success isn’t justified in wins and losses, it depends how far you go in the playoffs,” he said.  “We set our goal to win at least three playoff games, if not more, and we have the ability to attain that if we go out and play hard each and every day.”

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