Taking care of business
KHS begins regional with rout over Sandwich
KANELAND—Lady Knights softball continues to roll.
In the case of DeKalb, Rosary and Sandwich, it was over the opponents.
Kaneland clinched the outright claim of Northern Illinois Big XII champions after the 4-0 blanking of the Lady Barbs last Thursday, and followed it up with a 10-3 and 16-6 twin sweep of visiting Rosary on Saturday before crushing the Sandwich Lady Indians in the Class 3A Rosary Regional semifinal, 10-0 in five innings.
NIB-12 champion Kaneland is now 24-3 (9-1 Northern Illinois Big XII) headed into this weekend’s play.
Against the rival Lady Barbs, Ellissa Eckert earned the win in the pitcher’s circle. Leadoff presence Lexi Roach scored two runs, while cleanup slugger Lanie Callaghan homered off DeKalb pitching.
After stockpiling 26 runs against the Lady Royals over weekend play—including 17 hits in game two—to officially close out the 2013 regular season, Kaneland took over as top seed in the Aurora-based regional to subdue Sandwich. The Lady Indians earned the right to face KHS after a Monday win over IMSA, 27-5.
”I was pleased all-around,” KHS coach Brian Willis said. “Defensively and with the pitching, and of course, scoring 10 runs helps, too. I wouldn’t say they got on another level, but they’re at the level they’re capable of being at. That helps everybody else get going.”
Eckert didn’t allow a hit in the five-inning affair. Kaneland broke a scoreless tie with a six-run second inning that featured triples by Sarah Grams and Meg Cohrs (two RBI), with Haley Contorno, Caroline Heimerdinger and Lexi Roach getting run-scoring hits.
In the bottom of the third, Allie Miller scored on an RBI single by Roach to make it 7-0.
The three-run explosion by Kaneland would end the contest early, beginning with back-to-back singles by Contorno and Miller, with Cohrs reaching on an error.
Heimerdinger singled to make it 8-0, followed by game-ending walks drawn by Roach and Aly O’Herron for the victory.
Miller thinks she can help the lineup continue with a torrid pace.
“I’ve been seeing the ball so much better,” Miller said. “I’ve improved my swing. I’m smarter when I’m hitting, and everything is coming together this year.”
Kaneland is set to face either (2) Rosary or (3) Plano in the regional title game on Saturday, May 25, at 11 a.m.