Photo: Knights baseball has the luxury of Kyle Davidson for work in the infield. File Photo
by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—Some talented players at key positions and the last-ever Western Sun Conference regular season title made for some good memories for Kaneland baseball in 2010.
It was the regional opening loss to Hampshire that ended the season at 23-13 that left a bad taste in fifth-year coach Brian Aversa’s mouth .
“We’re definitely using that last game from last year as some incentive,” Aversa said. “We want to get moving into this season and use that as a driving force. On days when the weather isn’t cooperating and the field’s wet, the guys are really focused on what’s at stake this year.”
KHS baseball will have to be focused on competition in the Northern Illinois Big XII, after five seasons in the defunct Western Sun Conference.
“With football and basketball, it’s kind of our turn to get to that point where we are one of the top teams in this new conference,” Aversa said. “Sycamore is going to be strong, DeKalb was right there at the end, anything can happen.”
Kaneland looks to do itself favors at the plate, and although former Knight Jake Tickle’s 19-game hit streak won’t be available, Aversa likes his options.
“Drew French looks like he’s going to take Jake’s spot this year, and you have other solid people like Bobby Thorson and Joe Camaliere who can also get big hits,” Aversa said.
The Knights look for big things from their rotation, capable of eating up many an inning.
Thorson, a senior, will see time on the hill, as will junior Drew Peters and the senior French. Senior Sam Komel also provides an arm, as does junior Bryan Van Bogaert (pitcher of a perfect game in summer league action). Look for the Knights to lean on junior Tom Fox and senior Kyle Davidson in a pinch on the mound, as well.
Elsewhere around the Maple Park diamond, juniors Jordan Jones and Tyler Heinle are looking for an angle to the catcher’s spot.
Komel and Thorson stake the claim at first, while senior Brian Dixon mans second base. Davidson looks to patrol shortstop, with Trever Heinle also seeing innings at that spot, with French, Fox or Komel at third.
Senior Corey Landers takes care of leftfield, and Camaliere patrols center. Personnel like Jake Razo and John Kintz look to see innings at the rightfield corner.
Kaneland’s first conference action takes place against Dixon on Saturday, April 9. The regular season concludes on Monday, May 23, at St. Charles East.