Huntley senior Kamrin Hoffman had a big, kinda evil grin on his face when a reporter asked him about his mental approach to the biggest at bat of the Red Raiders’ 5-1 win against Lake Park in the Class 4A state semifinals on Friday at Route 66 Stadium in Joliet.
He knew exactly what his plan at the plate was.
“I was looking for a pitch to jump on,” Hoffman said. “No matter what it was I was looking to jump.”
Hoffman jumped all over a fastball from Lancers starting pitcher Ryan Behling and ripped a bases-loaded triple to left center that gave Huntley a 3-0 lead in the third inning.
“It wouldn’t have happened without the guys getting on in front of me,” Hoffman said. “We always keep the line rolling and have faith in who is up to bat. It just happened to be me, it could have been any of us.”
That was all Huntley starting pitcher Kyle Morgan needed. He pitched all seven innings to pick up his tenth victory of the season. Morgan allowed just two hits and one run while walking two and striking out five.
“[Hoffman’s three-RBI triple] was the turning point,” Morgan said. “It gave me confidence to attack the zone, that I could just throw strikes. I was able to command all three pitches and it worked well for us.”
Morgan is 10-2 this season and entered the game with a 0.88 ERA.
“There is no one else I would want out there,” Huntley coach Andy Jakubowski said. “I appreciate him throwing the ballgame that he did and giving us the opportunity to play for the state championship. It was basically his ballgame to win or lose.”
Left fielder and leadoff hitter Michael Talesky was 2 for 3 with one run scored for the Red Raiders (33-6) Hunter Rumachik, AJ Henkle and Jason Peters all notched hits for Huntley as well.
The Red Raiders will face the Sandburg-Plainfield North winner in the Class 4A state title game on Saturday.
“It’s a dream come true,” Jakubowski said. “We have the opportunity to play for a state championship, it is an awesome feeling.”