by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—Knight pitcher John Hopkins kept the ball down, and with it, the chances for Sycamore to break through.
Using an array of pitches that worked, the Hopkins’ complete-game effort raised his mark to 4-2, while yielding only five hits on two runs in a 5-2 win on Monday afternoon in Sycamore.
Inducing grounders was the name of the game.
“We know that of John,” KHS coach Brian Aversa said. “They’ll drill it to shortstop, and the defense kept runners off the bases.”
“I’ve been trying to keep the ball low and trying to get grounders or to pop up,” Hopkins said.
It was a considerably better outcome than Thursday’s 4-2 loss to the Yorkville Foxes in Maple Park.
Kaneland still has a hold on the Northern Illinois Big XII mantle with a 15-8 mark and an 8-2 record in conference action.
In the win over SHS, Ray Barry acquitted himself in the leadoff role with a 2-for-4 day with a double and two stolen bases. Tyler Heinle had a 2-for-4 day with an RBI, as well.
With a scoreless deadlock in the fifth and two runners on, Heinle blasted an RBI single, followed by another run-scoring smack from Tom Fox. After Sycamore tied the score at 2-2, Kaneland rallied in the top of the sixth.
A fielding error by the shortstop allowed Hopkins to race home from second base for the go-ahead run, and Jake Razo laced a two-RBI double for the final 5-2 lead.
Bryan VanBogaert was tagged with the loss in 5.2 innings of work against the Foxes, and no earned runs given up.