By Bob Balgemann


MACHESNEY PARK – In the early going of this new varsity baseball season, Harlem has posted a 5-1 record against non-conference opponents. Four of those five wins have been decided by one run.

The Huskies made it four wins in a row March 28 with a 5-4 home victory over Elgin.

They took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inningm helped by the first of three errors committed by the Maroons in the game, and a single and stolen base by Jake Nimtz. Elgin came back to take a 2-1 lead in the third, but Harlem evened it in the bottom of that inning.

Each side scored once in the fourth and fifth and a 4-4 tie was taken into the seventh.

Aaron Cusimano got the start and pitched six innings, allowing just two earned runs. Joey Parsons came on in relief in the seventh and held Elgin scoreless. In the bottom of the seventh Zach Jones worked the Maroon pitcher for a two-out walk. Sophomore Jamie Bolanos came in as a pinch runner and stole second base. He then scored the winning run on a clutch, two-strike RBI single by Drake Sundstrom.

After seeing Sycamore end their winning streak, the Huskies bounced back with an 8-7 road victory at DeKalb.

It was one of those northern Illinois spring-like days, chilly and very windy, yet the Huskies managed to collect seven base hits in the win. The Barbs also contributed with a couple of errors and several walks.

There were three firsts in this game, with seniors Chase Taylor and Cusimano, and sophomore newcomer Takuma Kobayashi, being a combined presence on the mound. Taylor picked up his first varsity victory while Tobayashi pitched four innings in his varsity debut. It was one of the team’s many veterans, Cusimano, in relief, who pitched the seventh to record his first save.

A decisive defensive play was made by third baseman Parsons, who converted a 5-3 double play with the bases loaded and nobody out in the seventh inning.

Jones had two base hits in the win.

The Huskies spent last weekend on a lengthy road trip that took them to southern Illinois. They will be away from home again this weekend, but not nearly as far. They’ll be commuting to Freeport today (Thursday), Friday and Saturday for the annual Pretzel City Classic.

NIC-10 play will kick off at home Monday against Belvidere North, in a 5 p.m. start. On Wednesday, they’ll be at Rockford East.

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