By Bob Balgemann


MACHESNEY PARK – The week of May 16 began as most did through the course of the 2016 baseball and softball seasons at Harlem. Both teams won, though the Lady Huskies were tested by a scrappy Hononegah team.

Playing at home, it appeared that Harlem was going to run off with the game against the rival Lady Indians. It was 7-0, Lady Huskies, after two innings of play.

But suddenly Hononegah struck for eight runs in the top of the third to make it an 8-7 game. And that set the stage for a tense run to the finish.

Harlem eventually won, 13-11.

As has been the case so many times this spring, leadoff batter Bianca Barone started the contest by getting on base. Usually it’s a hit or a walk, but this time she was hit by a pitch.

Mackenzie Lawrence followed with a single and the race was on. After Olivia Penney was hit by a pitch, Megen Johnson drilled a two-run single.

Elle Adams recorded an RBI with a single and Caitlin Bodling reached on an error by the center fielder. They all scored for the early 6-0 lead.

Penney, a freshman who’s been hitting cleanup this season, led off the second with a walk and came home when Madalynn Fajardo collected a clutch, two-out RBI single.

After being stunned by the Lady Indians’ eight-run outburst, Harlem showed its resilience by scoring twice in the last of the third to regain the lead, 9-8.

Barone was in the middle of that one, too, starting the inning with a walk. (For the game she was on base a perfect five times and scored four runs).

Penney drew a two-out walk and Johnson walked to load the bases. Adams kept the inning alive with a two-run single.

The Lady Huskies took a more comfortable 12-8 with three runs in the last of the fourth. Once again some two-out heroics figured prominently in a run-producing inning.

Bolding opened with a walk and Barone walked with two out. Lawrence singled in one run and Kirstin Fudge contributed a two-run single.

Barone put Harlem’s final run on the board in the last of the sixth with a solo home run. Hononegah scored late but was unable to overcome a four-run deficit.

A breather in baseball

Harlem’s baseball team had an easier time of it, starting Title Week with a 17-4 win over Jefferson.

The J-Hawks took an early lead but the Huskies countered by scoring 17 unanswered runs in the first four innings to put the game out of reach.

Sophomore Logan Burbach struggled a bit in the first inning but recovered to pitch 4 2/3 innings and record his second varsity win in a week. He was helped out of early difficulties by a senior, catcher Cody Paholski, who threw out yet another base runner, this one trying to reach third base.

Another senior, Brock Soter, had a memorable day, with two doubles off the fence in right-center field and driving in six runs. Classmate Aaron Cusimano had two hits among the 13 pounded out by the Huskies.

At that point Harlem (21-6, 15-1) had assured itself of at least a share of the NIC-10 championship.

On the night that retiring head coach Doug Livingston was recognized for his contributions in 24 years of coaching, visiting Crystal Lake South treated itself to a 4-0, non-conference victory.

One of the upcoming varsity performers, freshman Eric Steiner, pitched four scoreless innings. And that brought some positive comments from his coach, who said, “The future looks bright and Steiner is a great athlete.”

He also cited pitcher-outfielder Jake Nimtz, now a junior and three-year varsity player, and sophomore Burbach, who already has logged two varsity wins.

Harlem will lose Paholski to graduation and coach Livingston pointed to freshman catcher David Galassi, who caught the entire game with Crystal Lake South. He said David “continues in the long line of strong catchers Harlem has produced.”

Of the game with South the coach said, “We had many opportunities to score. I think the emotion of a long day was hard for the kids to play through. It was the first time we had been shut out all year.”

Not to mention only the seventh loss in 28 games.

But now it’s on to the regional tournament, going on this week, with Harlem being the No. 1 seed.

Buy Viagra Overnight Delivery USA.