Oh, Kaneland!

By on June 16, 2011

Photo: Joe Camiliere shows what it’s all about after Saturday’s 11-3 State Championship-clinching win as he and teammate Bobby Thorson receive their Class 3A medals. The two seniors supplied offense and defense during the weekend, and Thorson picked up the win over Waterloo on Friday. A photo gallery can be found at the bottom of this page. Photo by Mike Slodki

KHS baseball wins 1st State championship with 11-3 win vs. Oak Forest
by Mike Slodki
JOLIET—In high school baseball postseason, only one team can follow through on its aim to run the table and win its last game.

For 2011, that team was your Class 3A State Champion Kaneland Knights.

With an 8-2 win over the Waterloo Bulldogs on Friday afternoon at Silver Cross Field in Joliet, Ill., the Knights earned the right to play Oak Forest and slayed the Bengals in an 11-3 result.

For KHS, this marks the first State Championship in a head-to-head sport since coach Joe Thorgesen’s second Class 3A Championship in a row back in 1998.

Kaneland (26-10) finished the season with a 13-game winning streak, on the heels of a slump that saw it lose six of seven contests to Yorkville, Sycamore, Oswego East and Morris. The Knights’ last loss of the season occured back on May 10 against the Redskins.

“We opened with Plainfield North and had a couple cancellations, faced Cary-Grove, faced Warren, and I told our guys we were going to take some lumps,” KHS coach Brian Aversa said. “We started 2-4, and it was going to prepare us for the end of the season.”

Winning pitcher Drew Peters helped keep the Bengals in check, combining with the defense to stop Oak Forest (27-8-1) on two occasions when they had two runners on base.

On the offensive end, the Knights got a two-out double from centerfielder Joe Camiliere, and he was driven home by third baseman Bobby Thorson for the first run of the contest on an RBI single.

It remained that way until the top of the fourth inning, when with two runners on and two outs, Oak Forest reaped the benefits of a ball to the outfield just out of the reach of Jake Razo for a 2-1 lead.

Powering through that pivotal moment, Kaneland got Camiliere on with a single, and the Elmhurst College-bound baserunner stole second. With two outs, a balk moved Camiliere to third, and DH Drew French walked to put runners at the corners. Razo’s single to left tied the game, and it was followed by second baseman Brian Dixon’s go-ahead single. As French beat the throw home, Dixon took second base.

The floodgates opened in a six-run fifth inning, which increased the lead to 9-2. RBIs in the inning were laced by Thorson, Sam Komel (2 RBI), Razo, Dixon and catcher Tyler Heinle.

“We did a good job at the plate today,” Camiliere said. “We got a run early, and that’s always big. Once we get in the rhythm of a game, that’s when the bats get going.”

The bottom of the sixth inning saw Razo come through again with a two-run double, which closed out the scoring for the season.

Kyle Davidson came on in relief for the last three innings, and allowed three straight singles with one out leading to a run.

However, Davidson induced Bengal shortstop Bobby Sheppard into a game-ending 6-4-3 double play. Davidson and catcher Heinle began the pileup on the field, and the celebration was on.

“We were happy to be here. We were a little worried on how we’d stack up against these teams with 30 wins,” Aversa said.

Camiliere believed all facets of the game played at peak level.

“We played our best game of the year today. Defensively, we gave up some hits, but the plays we needed to make, we made them. That double play was awesome at the end,” Camiliere said.

In the State semifinal against a Waterloo (32-4) team that featured Cubs ninth-round pick Garrett Schlecht, the Knights surrendered single runs in the second and third innings, but Thorson held firm the rest of the afternoon in a complete-game outing.

“My hands were dry today, and I was able to throw more breaking stuff,” Thorson said. “It wasn’t as hot, and I felt great out there.”

The fourth inning yielded huge returns with four runs. Thorson led off with a triple. After one out was recorded, French walked and Razo’s single made it a 2-1 game. Dixon tied the game with another single.

Heinle dropped a suicide squeeze but Waterloo made a bad throw to first to give KHS a 3-2 lead.

“I love bunting,” Heinle said. “It comes easy to me, and I got excited when the sign came for the suicide squeeze.”

Corey Landers smacked a grounder that went off a shortstop mitt to bring the fourth run of the inning home.

Four more runs came home in the sixth, thanks to RBI singles from Landers and Thorson, and a two-run single from Komel.

The KHS unit was also coached by Jim Smedley, Ernie Colombe, Dan Hallahan, Kevin Boltz and Norm Welker.

Team captains were departing seniors Davidson, French, Landers, Camiliere, Komel, Thorson and Dixon.

2011 Class 3A
Final Four
June 10-11, 2011

• Semifinals
Oak Forest 3
Nazareth Academy 1

Kaneland 8
Waterloo 2

• Third place
Nazareth Academy 1
Waterloo 6

• Championship
Oak Forest 3
Kaneland 11

Wish to relive the Knights’ quest?

Both State Final games are available for viewing at www.IHSA.tv.

DVD copies will also be available online for purchase at www.PrepFilms.com.

KHS vs. Waterloo

• Score-by-innings
R H E
Knights 000 404 0 8 11 1
Bulldogs 011 000 0 2 4 4

Starting Lineup—Knights
1. Davidson SS 6. French 3B
2. Landers LF 7. Razo RF
3. Camiliere CF 8. Dixon 2B
4. Thorson P 9. Ty. Heinle C
5. Komel 1B
Starting Lineup—Bulldogs
1. Aycock CF 6. Steppig LF
2. B. Dillenberger SS 7. Wittenauer 2B
3. Schlecht 1B 8. Snodgrass DH
4. Wetzler C 9. Schaab 3B
5. Hopkins RF 10. Crutchfield P

• Bottom of 2nd
Hopkins walked. Steppig grounded out
to 3b, SAC. Hopkins advanced to second. Wittenauer singled up the middle, RBI. Hopkins scored. Wittenauer stole second. Snodgrass flied out to cf. Schaab walked. Wittenauer out at third c to 3b, caught stealing. Kaneland 0, Waterloo 1.
• Bottom of 3rd
Aycock walked. B.Dillenberger reached on a fielder’s choice; Aycock out at second ss to 2b. B.Dillenberger stole second. Schlecht grounded out to 2b. B.Dillenberger advanced to third. Wetzler singled to left center, RBI. B.Dillenberger scored. Klein pinch ran for Wetzler. Hopkins grounded out to 2b. 1 run, 1 hit, 0 errors, 1 LOB.
Kaneland 0, Waterloo 2.
• Top of 4th
Thorson tripled to right center. Barry pinch ran for Thorson. Komel struck out. French walked. Razo singled to shortstop, RBI. French advanced to second; Barry scored. Dixon singled through the right side, RBI; Razo advanced to third; French scored. Ty.Heinle singled, bunt, RBI; Dixon advanced to second, advanced to third on a throwing error by p; Razo scored. B.Dillenberger to p. Wittenauer to ss. Snodgrass to 2b. Crutchfield. Davidson struck out looking. Landers reached on an error by ss. Ty.Heinle advanced to third. Dixon scored, unearned. Camiliere grounded out to ss. Kaneland 4, Waterloo 2.
• Top of 6th
Dixon grounded out to 2b. Ty.Heinle flied out to cf. Davidson doubled to right center. Landers singled up the middle, RBI; Davidson scored. Camiliere walked. Landers advanced to second. Thorson singled to right center, RBI; Camiliere advanced to third; Landers scored. Barry pinch ran for Thorson. Barry stole second. Komel singled to left center, 2 RBI; Barry scored. Camiliere scored. Komel advanced to second on a wild pitch. French flied out to rf.
Kaneland 8, Waterloo 2.

KHS vs. Oak Forest

• Score-by-innings
R H E
Bengals 000 200 1 3 10 2
Knights 100 262 0 11 13 0

Starting Lineup—Bengals
1. Zubek C 6. Jester 2B
2. Richard RF 7. Linares P
3. Barry LF 8. Hine DH
4. Sheppard SS 9. Sleeman 3B
5. Murray CF
Starting Lineup—Knights
1. Davidson SS 6. French DH
2. Landers LF 7. Razo RF
3. Camiliere CF 8. Dixon 2B
4. Thorson 3B 9. Ty. Heinle C
5. Komel 1B 10. Peters P

• Bottom of 1st
Davidson struck out looking. Landers grounded out to ss. Camiliere doubled down the rf line. Thorson singled up the middle, RBI; Camiliere scored. Komel struck out.
Oak Forest 0, Kaneland 1.
• Top of 4th
Sheppard singled to right center. Murray popped up to p. Jester hit by pitch. Sheppard advanced to second. Linares grounded out to p. Jester advanced to second; Sheppard advanced to third. Hine singled to right field, 2 RBI; Jester scored; Sheppard scored. Sleeman singled; Hine advanced to third. Zubek grounded out to p.
Oak Forest 2, Kaneland 1.
• Bottom of 4th
Camiliere singled to first base. Thorson struck out. Camiliere stole second. Komel struck out. Camiliere advanced to third on a balk. French walked. Razo singled, RBI. French advanced to second; Camiliere scored. Dixon singled down the lf line, advanced to second on the throw, RBI; Razo advanced to second, advanced to third on the throw; French scored. Ty.Heinle grounded out to ss.
Oak Forest 2, Kaneland 3.
• Bottom of 5th
Davidson struck out looking. Landers singled to center field. Camiliere singled to pitcher; Landers advanced to second. Thorson doubled down the rf line, RBI. Camiliere advanced to third. Landers scored. Komel singled, advanced to second on a throwing error by lf, 2 RBI; Thorson scored; Camiliere scored. Johnson to p for Linares. French flied out to rf. Razo doubled down the lf line, RBI; Komel scored. Dixon singled to right field, advanced to second on the throw, RBI. Razo scored. Ty.Heinle singled down the lf line, advanced to second on the throw, RBI; Dixon scored. Tattoni pinch ran for Ty.Heine. Davidson walked. Barry pinch ran for Davidson. Zale to p for Johnson. Barry advanced to second on a wild
pitch; Tattoni advanced to third on a wild pitch. Landers walked. Camiliere grounded out to 2b.
Oak Forest 2, Kaneland 9.
• Bottom of 6th
Thorson walked. Fergus pinch ran for Thorson. Komel flied out to rf. French walked; Fergus advanced to second. Fergus advanced to third on an error by c. Razo walked; French advanced to second. Dixon doubled to left center, 2 RBI. Razo advanced to third; French scored; Fergus scored. Jester to p. Blake to 2b for Zale. Ty.Heinle struck out looking. Davidson struck out.
Oak Forest 2, Kaneland 11.
•Top of 7th
Sleeman struck out. Zubek singled up the middle. Richard singled to center field. Zubek advanced to second. Barry singled to right center, RBI; Richard advanced to second; Zubek scored. Sheppard grounded into double play ss to 2b to 1b; Barry out on the play.
Oak Forest 3, Kaneland 11.

Photo gallery:

About Mike Slodki

Mike Slodki is a sports reporter for the Elburn Herald. You can reach him at MSlodki@elburnherald.com.

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