Photo: Hayley Contorno slides safely into second on a hit by Sarah Grams in the second inning of Kaneland’s sectional playoff game against Sterling, hosted by Belvidere North, on May 30. Photo by John DiDonna
KHS softball (31-7) sees season end
in sectional semi
by Mike Slodki
BELVIDERE, Ill.—Kaneland softball’s season had more ups than downs in 2012.
Unfortunately, the Sterling Lady Warriors brand of diamond play made KHS land with a thud.
A Lady Knight lineup that saw the spectrum of convincing victories and dramatic comebacks in a regional championship—its first since 2005—fell victim to the pitching of Stephanie Kester and an opponent that plated nine runs in a 9-1 sectional semifinal result at Belvidere North High School on May 30.
Sterling lost to Marengo in the sectional final on Monday by a 2-1 clip.
Kaneland’s season ended at 31-7.
“They earned everything they got this year,” KHS coach Brian Willis said. “Certainly it’s encouraging that we’ll be getting people back, but it’s hard to comprehend right now and it’s disappointing to go out this way.”
Kester defeated Delani Vest in the pitching matchup in what would be Vest’s final varsity game.
But Vest contributed early with her bat after allowing a run in the top of the first inning.
After a double, Allyson O’Herron sacrificed her over to third base. Third baseman Paige Kuefler drove Vest home with a single but was thrown out at second.
Sterling scored twice in the second for a 3-1 deficit, and Kaneland would find itself with two runners on base for the last time in the game.
With one out, Hayley Contorno and Sarah Grams laced back-to-back singles, but Sam Hansen lined out and Vest popped out to end the threat.
Kaneland would get just two more hits the remainder of the game, and Sterling would put up two runs in the fifth, one in the sixth and three more in the seventh to ice the win.
While Sterling’s fielding kept the Lady Knights mostly in check, Willis would liked to have seen enough hitting for the defense to be irrelevant.
“We bunted the ball too hard, it was right to their third baseman, and I would put it more on us than I would on them.”
With the conclusion of Kaneland’s softball year, the program says goodbye to seniors Vest, Hansen, McKinzie Mangers, Alexis Villarreal and Sarah Kitz.