MCHENRY — Once the McHenry baseball team saw the favorable weather conditions for the upcoming week the players wasted no time in getting the diamond at Petersen Park game-ready for a 1 p.m. matchup against Marian Central.
"We've been working on this field for the last couple days," said Warriors pitcher Kyle Snedeker. "We were just doing anything we could to make sure it was playable."
When game time rolled around, the players stowed the rakes and quick-dry in favor of bats and mitts and took the field for the first time this season, defeating the Hurricanes 8-0 on Wednesday.
Snedeker blanked the Hurricanes (0-1) in his five innings while giving up three hits. The senior started off strong and recorded four strikeouts in the first two innings, three of which were looking.
"It feels great," Snedeker said. "I woke up this morning and I was just so excited to play. I had my good stuff today and I was able to control the ball. I was mainly trying to throw strikes because it's the first game of the year and it's going to be tough on the hitters because they haven't see too much live pitching yet."
When he took the mound in the top-half of the third, he did so with a nice cushion. The Warriors (1-0) pounced on Hurricanes pitcher Trent Faunce early on. In the first, leadoff hitter Devon Gehrke reached on a hit-by-pitch but was thrown out stealing second. Two batters later Cody Freund hit a triple to deep center but couldn't find his way home.
The second was more fruitful as the first four Warriors batters hit the ball hard for two doubles and two singles. All four scored to take a 4-0 lead.
"We got real good pitching today and we hit the ball," said McHenry coach Brian Rockweiler.
The Hurricanes couldn't put anything together offensively while having trouble stringing consecutive hits together. They also had trouble defensively, committing three errors.
"Our approaches at the plate need a lot of work," Hurricanes coach Benji Winkelman said. "I thought we would come out excited to be outside but I wasn't ready for us to take so many fastballs, it was a bit shocking to me and McHenry came out ready to play.
"I'm just going to chalk it up to the first game out."
McHenry was able to produce runs while being aggressive on the basepaths. The runners were always looking to advance to the next base. In the bottom of the sixth, Payton Lykins advanced to second on a ball that squirted away from the catcher then Freund hit him in with a single.
Freund stole second on the next pitch and Cole Hoeppel-Tranter drove him in.
"We had some big, timely hits and it was exciting the first time out. It was pretty impressive," Rockweiler said.
The Warriors took an 8-0 lead into seventh and after a shaky sixth where the Hurricanes threatened to score, sophomore pitcher Marcus Reiser settled in during his second innin of work and closed out the game with some heat.
"He was a little nervous being a sophomore and out there for the first time," Rockweiler said, "and then he found his groove. He's got sneaky fast heat."