by Mike Slodki
KANELANDâ€”A quarter is nice to have every once in a while, but not when it’s referring to victories in a season.
So far in the early outset, Kaneland has been plagued by big opposing offenses and not being able to drive runners home at critical points.
The initial stage of the season has led to a 1-3 record after losing at Plainfield North on March 24 in a 6-0 no-hitter, 14-3 in five innings on Thursday at Burlington Central, a 7-6 last at-bat win vs. Marmion Academy on Saturday and a 4-3 loss at Harlem on Monday.
Against host Plainfield North, the Knights surrendered one run in the first, one in the third and four in the fourth. PN’s Ben Gorgan struck out 12 batters in five innings.
Facing the Rockets, Jake Fiedler went 2-for-3 with a run, while teammate Tyler Callaghan went 1-for-2 with a double and run scored. Ty Hamer got the loss on the mound after giving up eight runs on four hits. BC scored three in the bottom of the first, but Kaneland put up one in the second and one in the third before the Rockets put up an 11-spot in the bottom of the fourth. The Knights also scored one run in the fifth.
Jake Tickle earned the win in relief against the visiting Cadets, while Callaghan went 2-for-4 with two runs scored and two RBI.
Marmion put runs on the board first with three in the top of the second, while Kaneland came back with two in the bottom of the frame. The Knights tied the score in the bottom of the fourth with a run and scored three in the sixth for a 6-3 advantage. With Marmion tying the score with three in the top of the seventh, KHS pulled it out with one in the last of the seventh. Both teams committed three errors apiece.
Near Rockford in Machesney Park, Kaneland used its spring break to tackle the NIC-10’s Harlem Huskies. Gray of the Huskies hit a three-run homer in the first inning to put the Knights behind early. Fiedler doubled and scored on a wild pitch, but after a Joe Camaliere walk and a Bobby Thorson single, the Knights couldn’t push any more home. Harlem then came back with a run in the fourth inning to go up 4-1.
In the seventh, Kyle Davidson singled. With one out, Thorson doubled home Davidson and went to third on an error to make it 4-2. Callaghan hit an RBI single to close within one. Hamer singled to put two runners on, but the Knights could get no further.
“We left a lot of runners on base in the second and third,” KHS coach Brian Aversa said. “We had the bases loaded in the sixth, and couldn’t score. We can’t do that.”
Despite the result and the three of four losses, Aversa is still expecting things to turn in Kaneland’s favor.
“We’re facing some good competition right now. These teams are making us work. We’ll turn it around,â€ he said.
Lower-class action featured the sophomores losing to Plainfield North 5-3 and beating Burlington Central 7-3, thanks to a 14 K performance by Drew Peters.
The Knights take on Owensboro High School on Thursday, April 1, as part of their three-day Kentucky road trip.
Photos: Reliever Sam Komel launches a ball in the fifth inning during Mondayâ€™s 4-3 setback at Harlem High School in Machesney Park, Ill.. Photo by Mike Slodki