Baseball IBy Bob Balgemann


MACHESNEY PARK – Harlem’s varsity baseball team recently found itself with nine days off because of bad weather.

That meant lots of indoor practices. Despite the downtime, the Huskies managed to score a big 6-4 victory over Belvidere North on April 11, in the 2016 conference opener at home.

It also was a pleasing win because the Blue Thunder beat them twice last year.

This time around they got right to it with Bryce Goodall singling to begin the bottom of the first inning. He stole second, moved to third on an error and scored when Zach Jones stroked a long sacrifice fly to center field. After a single by Tyler Deitz scored two, a couple of more runs came home on North errors for a big, early lead.

Aaron Cusimano pitched 5 2/3 innings, allowing just one earned run on three base hits.

The Blue Thunder made some noise in the seventh when they scored a run, on a hit and three walks, and had the tying run on second base.

Joey Parsons came on in relief, with the bases loaded and nobody out, and preserved the win. He first struck out the No. 3 hitter in North’s lineup, then got the cleanup batter to hit into a 1-2-3 double play to end the game.

Rockford East was up next, on the road, and Harlem came home with an 8-3 victory.

Jake Nimtz pitched all seven innings to record his second win of the season.

Brock Soter got the game off to a good start for the Huskies when he tripled in the first inning and scored on a passed ball. Harlem wound up scoring three more times in the third and while adding another three-spot in the fifth.

Cusimano had two RBIs in this game, with Goodall collecting two of his team’s eight hits. Defensively, catcher Cody Paholski picked two runners off third base in the seventh and final inning.

Harlem (7-4, 2-0) has a couple of big NIC-10 games coming up, at Hononegah on Monday and at Boylan on Wednesday. But before that, they will be home Friday against another tough league opponent, Belvidere. All games will begin at 5 p.m.

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