Photo: Shortstop Trever Heinle saves the ball from the outfield on a high throw while a Yorkville player steals second during a recent Kaneland-Yorkville game. Photo by John DiDonna
by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—This is getting to be old hat for the Kaneland Knights baseball team.
But that hat is representing a crown right now, based on Northern Illinois Big XII East Division supremacy.
With a Thursday win in Morris, the Knights officially secured an outright title, making it the third year in a row for a conference title.
Kaneland won the first ever NIB-12 title last year enroute to a State championship, and also captured the last Western Sun Conference title in 2010.
With the win over Morris, coupled with a May 9 win over the host Redskins, a 2-0 loss to LaSalle-Peru on Saturday and a 9-3 win at Sterling on Monday, the Knights are 21-9 with a 13-2 NIB-12 mark.
Against Sterling, the Knights scored in every inning but the fourth and seventh in the win over the Golden Warriors.
Taking advantage of four errors, the Knights were paced in the batters box by Jake Razo, who went 2-for-4 with a double and triple, along with Quinn Buschbacher’s 2-for-3 day with a home run.
Matt Limbrunner earned the win, going six innings and fanning three.
Kaneland and the Cavaliers were deadlocked for eight innings before L-P scored two in the ninth for the win.
Brian VanBogaert took the loss in relief to go 5-3, while Tom Fox went 2-for-4, securing two of the team’s hits.
In the conference clincher over the host Redskins in Grundy County, Kaneland clawed back from a 2-0 deficit to score one in the fifth and two in the sixth, thanks to Ray Barry’s bat.
Buschbacher also went 1-for-2 with a run scored.
Brian VanBogaert took the win in relief and improved to 5-2.
In the May 9 win in Morris, Kaneland’s two-run fifth broke a 2-2 tie, and Trevor Storck’s complete-game effort improved his mark to 5-0. Storck struck out seven and scattered just six hits.
Razo went 3-for-4 at the plate with two runs scored.
With a conference title in the books, KHS coach Brian Aversa looks for the pitching staff to keep plugging along, no matter what role.
“The roles of the pitching staff are still pretty fluid. Right now Hopkins and Storck are the two guys we are starting. VanBogaert and Limbrunner can start or relieve along with (Jordan) Jones. Things are shaping up kind of like last year as John being a pretty dominant pitcher and Storck as well with keeping runs off the board,” Aversa said.
Kaneland was scheduled to face Cary-Grove in a road game on Thursday, May 17.
KHS baseball heads to
Fifth Third Bank Ballpark in Geneva
to play Batavia in a special Pack the Park
Senior Night on Friday, May 18.
Sophomores play at 4:30 p.m., varsity will follow.
Admission: $5 for adults, $4 for high school,
middle school students, $3 for elementary students,
free for children 3 and under.
Proceeds benefit Kaneland teacher Bridget Sweeney and her family. Sweeney is battling cancer.