Softball: Jori Heard throws another perfect game; Huntley opens postseason with win against DeKalb

DeKALB— It was the Jori Heard show from the opening pitch as the Huntley Red Raiders dismantled the DeKalb Barbs, 9-0, in a Class 4A DeKalb Regional semifinal.

Heard struck out 16 batters on her way to a perfect game against the regional hosts.

“It’s good,” Heard said. “It’s exciting. I’m excited for what’s to come and what we can achieve this year.”

Heard opened the game with three strikeouts and went on to strike out the side in both the fourth and fifth innings.

“It’s been consistent all season,” Huntley coach Mark Petryniec said. “She gives us an opportunity to be successful every time she is on the mound. As coaches, it makes our jobs easier.”

When Heard wasn’t dominating the circle, she was coming up big at the plate, finishing the game 3 for 4 with an RBI and three runs scored.

The Red Raiders (29-6) broke open the game in the third inning with a five-run rally.

Already up 2-0, Red Raiders centerfielder Clara Hudgens opened the inning with a single and immediately was driven home by Heard.

The next two batters reached on Barb errors and both came in, with Zoe Doherty scoring on a delayed steal of home with Reese Hunkins drawing the throw with a steal of second base.

“We’re just a small ball team,” Petryniec said. “We put the ball in play and make our adjustments. We’re not a huge hitting team, so we have to manufacture runs.”

The Red Raiders batted around the order in the inning with Katie Mitchell driving in the final run of the inning on a single to put the Raiders up 7-0.

The Red Raiders took a 2-0 lead with Hudgens scoring on a groundout by Hunkins and Heard scoring on a single by Doherty.

The Barbs (2-23) started four freshmen, including pitcher Ayla Gould and catcher Madison Hallaron.

“I’m pretty proud of us,” DeKalb coach Haley Albamonte said. “Huntley is a top-notch program, and we have a lot of younger girls. I’m excited that they got to play against that and see that level of competition.”

Huntley tacked on runs in the fourth and sixth innings.

DeKalb senior third baseman Emma Friedlund provided a highlight for the Barbs when she snagged a liner and ran back to tag third base for an unassisted double play to get the Barbs out of the fourth inning.

“It’s fun, obviously,” Friedlund said of her defensive play. “And then for it to be the second and third out and getting out of the inning, it was great.”

The Barbs’ young players got a lot of experience that should set them up for success in the future.

“You take it as a learning year,” Albamonte said. “[The freshmen] are going to take it and run with it. I think we’re going to come back with a lot of experience and start at a different place. We started with raw talent.”