by Mike Slodki
Lady Knights softball only had to score one run to take the regional title from host Burlington Central during Saturdayâ€™s championship.
It was not to be, as BC eliminated Kaneland from the regional for the third straight year in a 1-0, nine-inning affair.
Burlington Central improved to 22-5 in winning the 3A regional, while pitcher Mackenzie Scott improved to 17-2. Scott struck out an astounding 20 batters on the day.
Kaneland counterpart Delani Vest stepped onto the big stage as a freshman, giving up just three hits and striking out four, but fell to 17-6 for the season.
â€œDelani pitched a heck of a game,â€ interim coach Ken Neahring said. â€œShe did an excellent job and kept them off balance. She didnâ€™t strike out as many, but she didnâ€™t take a back seat.â€
Kanelandâ€™s overall record is 27-9.
The end came with two outs in the ninth inning and Samantha Gruner on second after a single and sacrifice. Lindsay Langeâ€™s grounder to Sara Rose at third base was routinely fielded, but a throw went over first base. The errant throw allowed Gruner to score the only run.
Kanelandâ€™s lone hit was a Brianna Hurst single in the top of the sixth inning. BC had retired nine straight KHS hitters before the end of the contest.
BC was set to face Sycamore at the Rochelle Sectional on Wednesday.
Leading into Saturdayâ€™s clash was Kanelandâ€™s regional win over Hampshire, a 6-1 result on May 27.
Vest struck out nine hitters and allowed no earned runs.
Jordan Herra hit a home run and also smacked a double in a three-RBI effort.
Kaneland scored one run in each of the first four innings before scoring two in the bottom of the fifth.
Lady Knight softball says goodbye to seniors Erin Heyob, Mallory Huml, Hurst, Rose and Mangers.
â€œThe seniors were really good for us. We wish them the best of luck; theyâ€™ve been great all year,â€ Neahring said.
Photo: Lady Knight freshman Delani Vest delivers in the fifth inning of Saturdayâ€™s 1-0 regional championship loss to Burlington Central. Photo by Mike Slodki