Photo: Kaneland baseball strikes the regional championship pose after edging the host Sycamore
Spartans 2-1 on Saturday. The Knights were slated to experience Sectional baseball in Rochelle on Wednesday. Photo by Mike Slodki
by Mike Slodki
SYCAMORE—Bobby Thorson may have never pitched a bigger game in his life.
Jacob Razo may have not had a bigger hit in a his life.
By virtue of the first regional championship won by Kaneland baseball on Saturday against the top-seeded host Sycamore Spartans, 2-1, more life is in store for the Knights.
With the win over the Spartans, the No. 2 regional seed Knights improved to 21-10. Kaneland also achieved a Thursday win over the third-seeded Illinois Math & Science Academy Titans, 17-0 in five innings.
A pitcher’s duel between Thorson (5-3) and Sycamore’s Jake Turner was brewing and had the teams in a scoreless skirmish through three innings.
After two strikeouts in the top of the fourth, first baseman Sam Komel singled and third baseman Drew French was hit by a pitch.
Next up was rightfielder Jacob Razo, who had an exemplary defensive play in the first inning resulting in a double play.
Razo laced a pitch that struck third base and out of the reach of the fielder, scoring two runs.
Razo, responsible for the eventual game-winning hit, was psyched after the play.
“We’re on such a high right now,” Razo said. “Turner’s a great pitcher and I just turned on it. We just played within ourselves today.”
Kyle Davidson had his arm ready for the bullpen, but Thorson powered through. While a dropped third strike brought a Sycamore run home with two outs in the sixth, Thorson pitched the seventh, and allowed only a two-out single before his fifth strikeout ended the game.
“We didn’t get a regional championship last year, and that’s what we were looking for,” Thorson said. “I thought my fastball was really good and today my curve was good.”
Against the Titans, a five-inning perfect game was thrown by Drew Peters, who’s 10 K’s was a suitable way to get the playoffs underway.
“Our goal has been regionals from the beginning. Everyone was pumped coming into today and the first pitch felt good,” Peters said.
The losing pitcher was IMSA’s Neel Patel.
“We didn’t expect that, that was one hell of a performance,” KHS coach Brian Aversa said. “We put him in a situation and he was ready. He threw strikes and didn’t walk guys.”
Ten runs were put on the board in the second, along with five in the third and two in the fourth.
Komel went 3-for-3 with a triple and four driven in. French went 2-for-4 with two triples and three RBI.
Kaneland’s first-ever sectional game in Rochelle was scheduled for Wednesday against the Marian Central Catholic Hurricanes, winners of the Belvidere Regional as a result of a 6-3 win over the hosts on Saturday. The Knights won 7-4 over the Hurricanes.