Softball returns to regular action
Following weather delays and road trip, KHS finds consistency
by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—It was good to finally take to the softball diamond on Illinois soil. The experience on Thursday was made even better with a handy win. With Ellissa Eckert’s effort on the mound and key hitting in scoring position, the Lady Knights beat the host Rochelle roster by a 10-4 final on Thursday.
In Rochelle, things escalated quickly for the Kaneland bats, as two of the first three hitters reached on errors. With two runners in scoring position, Lanie Callaghan knocked a single for a 1-0 lead. Two batters later, Sarah Grams hit a single for two more runs and a 3-0 lead.
In the top of the third and with a 3-1 lead, Haley Contorno was hit by a pitch and came home on an RBI triple from Grams. Eckert then helped her own cause with a squeeze play that ended in a run scored and a 5-1 edge.
In the top of the fifth and with Rochelle closing to within 5-2, Callaghan tripled and Meg Cohrs walked. After a stolen base put runners in scoring position, Grams’ single resulted in her fourth RBI of the day. After a grounder to third by Eckert, the lead increased to 7-1 in the fifth.
A steadfast hitter, Grams was just glad to contribute to the offensive effort on the day.
“I was just happy I put the ball in play and on the ground so my runners could actually score,” Grams said. “That was my main concern, just putting it in play so I could get runners in.”
Paige Kuefler’s RBI double and an RBI single by Cohrs gave Kaneland a 10-2 lead in the sixth to cinch matters.
KHS coach Brian Willis said that any quality at-bat helps the squad after a start-and-stop beginning to 2013.
“Certainly Sarah was seeing the ball well,” Willis said. “I thought we struggled a little bit with our timing today. We did have a few good quality at-bats and that helped us at the right time.”
Against former conference rival Batavia, Kaneland scored 11 runs in the first inning, three more in the second, one in the third and two in the fourth. Eckert improved to 4-0 on the season.
West Aurora failed to hit Lady Knight sophomore Anissa Becker on Monday, and fell in the 1-0 squeaker.
Against Yorkville on Tuesday, the Lady Knights held a 3-1 lead until the top of the seventh, when Yorkville put up three runs to take the lead and steal the victory. KHS suffered from seven errors in the game.
Eckert took the loss on the mound, spreading eight hits over seven innings of work, and surrendering just two unearned runs. Allyson O’Herron led the team from the plate, hitting 2-for-4 with an RBI.
Kaneland now stands at 7-2 overall, 1-1 in Northern Illinois Big XII East Division play.
Future action for KHS has the Lady Knights traveling to Morris for a conference tilt on Thursday, April 11, at 4:30 p.m.