ATHLETE OF THE WEEK
Kyle Maurer, Huntley, sr., P-OF
Maurer came up big in the Red Raiders’ three wins that helped secure a share of their fourth consecutive Fox Valley Conference championship.
On Monday, Maurer allowed a leadoff homer to Hampshire’s Andrew Krajecki, then struck out 10 Whip-Purs and did not give up another hit in a 10-1 win. Huntley is finished with FVC games, and it clinched a share of the conference title.
Maurer delivered the big blow in Saturday’s 6-5 win over Hampshire with a three-run homer in the fifth inning that gave the Raiders their first lead, one they never gave up.
He also threw four strong innings in a 1-0 win against Prairie Ridge on May 7. And in Thursday’s 9-8 loss to Hampshire, he was 3 for 4 with two doubles and an RBI.
NORTHWEST HERALD POWER RANKINGS
(Records through Monday)
1. Huntley (24-8): The Red Raiders will be Fox Valley Conference champions, either outright or shared, for the fourth consecutive season. Huntley (18-6) is finished playing FVC games and could be caught by only Prairie Ridge.
2. Prairie Ridge (22-8): The Wolves were out of the rotation for FVC games and gained ground as other top teams lost. Heading into their Cary-Grove series Tuesday, they needed a sweep to give them a share of the FVC title.
3. McHenry (20-11): The Warriors swept C-G but were swept by Crystal Lake South. Still, Class 4A teams in the postseason will not want to see starters Joe Kaminski and Jake Evans, who have been tough.
4. Cary-Grove (19-10): The Trojans have lost six of their past eight games and were eliminated from winning the FVC. The starting pitching with Quinn Priester and Jack Wenninger makes C-G a formidable postseason team.
5. Crystal Lake South (18-9): The Gators have won seven consecutive games and have allowed more than four runs only two times in their past 11 games. The three-game FVC sweep of McHenry was impressive.
Marengo rolling: South has the longest current winning streak in the FVC, but Marengo’s nine-game streak is the longest in the area heading into Tuesday’s games.
The Indians’ last loss came to Sycamore, 14-9, on April 20. They have swept Johnsburg and Harvard in Kishwaukee River Conference games. They also beat North Boone, Wauconda and Woodstock.
Marengo has moved up to third place in the KRC.
Crack that Whip: Hampshire is assured of doubling its FVC win total from last year heading into this final week of the regular season. The Whip-Purs have been a tough competitor, with NCAA Division I player Matt Jachec leading the way.
Jachec, a right-handed pitcher and designated hitter, is hitting .395 out of the No. 3 spot, and shortstop Gavin Kriegel is batting .403 right behind him.
“They’ve been knocking it pretty good all year,” Whips coach Frank Simoncelli said. “We feel pretty comfortable if guys are on base with those two coming up.”
Jachec, who will pitch at Indiana State, also has been an ace on the mound, where he is 4-3 with an ERA of 0.40. Two of those losses were 1-0 to C-G’s Wenninger and 2-1 to McHenry’s Kaminski.
WHAT TO WATCH
Class 3A Crystal Lake South Regional: South has the highest seed (4) in the regional and is riding a hot streak heading into this week. Vernon Hills (5) is the next highest seed. The tournament starts Tuesday.
Class 3A Prairie Ridge Regional: The No. 1 Wolves should be a heavy favorite here with Antioch (7) as the next highest seed. The tournament starts Monday with a play-in game.
Class 3A Richmond-Burton Regional: Carmel (3) is the top seed. Richmond-Burton (8) vs. Marengo (11) on May 23 is intriguing. R-B’s pitching has been strong, and Marengo has been on a roll.
Class 4A Grant Regional: C-G (2) is the highest seed, one spot ahead of the host Bulldogs. C-G hit a recent skid, but the Trojans’ pitching makes them a threat to hang around in the postseason.
Class 4A DeKalb Regional: Huntley (1) is the top seed and looking for its fourth consecutive regional championship. Belvidere North (4) is next highest.
Class 4A Dundee-Crown Regional: Barrington (1) is the top seed and won a regional last year. McHenry is seeded No. 4 and has had another strong season.
Class 4A Harlem Regoinal: Hononegah (2) is the top seed, but Hampshire (3) is next. No opponents want to see Hampshire ace Matt Jachec with their season on the line.