Category Archives: Softball

All-WSC, team awards handed out at KHS

KANELAND—Kaneland High School dished out end of the year and spring speason sports awards last week.

In Knights boys track and field, Logan Markuson was named the Track MVP, while Nick Sinon, state champ in high jump, was named Field MVP. Edgar Valle, also a state champ as part of the 4×400 relay , was named recipient of the Drendel Award. Markuson, Derek Bus, Joe Levita, Brett Ketza, Justin Choate and Sinon were recognized as captains. Andrew Essex was named winner of the Ron Probst Award. Sinon, Markuson, Taylor Andrews, Valle, Bus, Matt Reusche, Matt Spitzzeri, Sean Paulick, Tommy Whittaker, Dominic Furco, Trevor Holm and Levita were recognized as the final Kaneland representatives for the all-Western Sun Conference team.

Brandon Cottier, Essex, Curtis Secrest, Whittaker, Spitzzeri, Valle, Bus, Taylor Andrews, Markuson, Levita, Holm and Sinon were all lauded for their trip to the Class 2A State Finals in Charleston, Ill.

For girls track, Lisa Roberson and Andie Strang, both State-goers, were named co-Track MVP’s, while Brooke Patterson, fresh off a trip to Charleston, was named field MVP.

Mel Mazuc and Nicole Ketza were part of a group of three named most improved field athletes, along with Briana Stark in long jump. Hurdler Hillary Luse took the most improved track athlete award.

Roberson and Sydney Bilotta were recognized as captains, while Patterson, Ashley Castellanos and Gabby Aguirre were honored for their All-Western Sun Conference performances.

Strang (800 meter run, 4x800m relay), Roberson and Kris Bowen (4x800m), Sara Wallace (pole vault), Jessica Stouffer (4x800m), Patterson (pole vault, triple jump) and Castellanos (long jump) were lauded for their State trip.

For the 20-win softball team, first-year coach Brian Willis gave most outstanding defensive player to Jordan Hester and most outstanding offensive player to Andrea Dimmig-Potts. Samantha Hansen took home the most improved player award, Kristen Stralka and Brittany Davis got in on the Lady Knight Award, while 13-win pitcher Delani Vest was given the most outstanding player award.

In the freshman softball ranks, Elizabeth Eckert and Sarah Grams took the co-MVP honors, while Danielle McCormack won the Kaneland Knight award.

For baseball, Dave Dudzinski and Bobby Thorson were named recipients of the Mr. Kaneland Baseball award.

Jake Tickle, he of the 19-game hit streak during the season, was named offensive MVP, and Steve Colombe was crowned defensive MVP.

The 41 Award, in honor or Jeff Malewig, was given to Tickle and Jake Fiedler.

Thorson, Fiedler, Colombe and Tickle were all recognized for their All-Western Sun Conference honors.

For the 15-win girls soccer team’s history- making season, Megan Gil, Haley Johnson, Shelby Koester, Colleen Gebauer and Emily Heimerdinger were lauded for their captain-ship.

Amy Fabrizius was given the most improved player honor, and freshman goalkeeper Jordan Ginther was named Rookie of the Year.

Sophie Blank, Andie Bruce and Natalie Swieca won the coach’s award. Gebauer and Katie Taylor were co-winners of the Lady Knights Award, while Heimerdinger and Gil took the MVP honors.

For the final awards of the night, the female Birkette award was given to Roberson. Markuson and Bus took home the male Birkette award.

Markuson was honored with the Male Athlete of the Year award, while Roberson was given the Female Athlete of the Year award.

Levita, for his time in cross country, wrestling and track, was honored for his three-sport commitment.

Photo: Lisa Roberson, shown here in relay action in Charleston, Ill., two weeks ago, was awarded Female Athlete of the Year and Female Birkette Award winner at last week’s 2010 Senior Athletic Banquet Awards. File Photo

Softball finished by Sycamore

SYCAMORE—Maybe the scales were tipping to Sycamore all long.

After slaughtering the Lady Spartans in their first meeting, Kaneland Lady Knights softball dealt with 16 innings of action in a tight 2-1 win three weeks ago. It all led up to the Class 2A Sycamore Regional final on Saturday morning, where the third-seeded hosts beat the top-seeded KHS roster 6-3 to claim the regional.

Kaneland finishes the first year of the Brian Willis era at 20-11.

“It was kind of the same game, but they had a few more extra walks. You have to put runs on the board. The difference with the last game is that we were able to get out of that jam,” Willis said.

Sycamore, coached by Jill Carpenter, improved to 20-15, was set to face St. Viator on Wednesday in the DeKalb Sectional.

Ending her sophomore season, Delani Vest was tagged with the loss (13-7) and gave up six runs (four earned) on 10 hits while fanning three.

At the plate, third baseman Andrea Dimmig-Potts went 2-for-3, while second baseman Brittany Davis went 2-for-3.

The scoring gates opened in the top of the second, when Anna Buzzard of Sycamore knocked home two runs with a single to increase Sycamore’s lead to 3-0.

Sycamore put up two in the fourth for a 5-0 lead and added one more with an RBI single to go up 6-0 headed to the bottom of the fifth.

Katy Dudzinski led the fifth off with a double and was sacrificed to third by Jordan Hester. Kristen Stralka singled Dudzinski home for the first run. After a fielders choice, Vest doubled and made it third on an error in the outfield and Sam Hansen scored.

The final run of the season scored when Davis came home after a three-base error on a fielders choice hit by Dudzinski.

Stralka, Sarah Kitz and Vest were retired in order to end the affair.

Davis, Stralka and Hester now say goodbye due to graduation.

“They meant a lot to our team. Leadership-wise, offense, defense, they’ll be missed, “Willis said.

Lady Knights softball spends 16 innings in 2-1 win over Sycamore

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—Kaneland softball got more than it bargained for this past week.

As in more innings than scheduled, quite a bit more.

On Friday, a rain makeup against rival Sycamore resulted in a 2-1 thriller that took an astounding 16 innings to resolve. KHS followed that up with an 11-inning encounter at Yorkville, but that resulted in a 2-1 loss.

With three regular season contests remaining, the Lady Knights are 15-10 with a 7-5 Western Sun Conference mark.

In the epic battle against the Lady Spartans, first baseman Andrea Dimmig-Potts, who went 5-for-8, not only drove home LF Sam Hansen with the winning run with the bases loaded, but also rushed home to tie the score in the bottom of the 15th on a wild pitch.

Dimmig-Potts was glad she could come through, when KHS was down to its final strike.

“A win like this shows us we can do anything,” Dimmig-Potts said. “We just had to push through it. I saw an opportunity to score and I took it.”

CF Jordan Hester went 5-for-7 with two doubles.

The Lady Knights had a chance to win the game in the bottom of the 12th and 14th innings on base hits, but Hester was gunned down by good Sycamore throws at the plate.
Pitcher Delani Vest worked the entire game and struck out eight, allowing just one run on seven hits.

In order to keep the Lady Knights in the game, coach Brian Willis noted a big improvement in one aspect of the game.

“We’re playing well defensively,” Willis said. “We’ve worked hard in practice, and it’s paying dividends in the game.”

Against the Lady Foxes, Kaneland scored on in the first, but Yorkville tied matters in the sixth and won in the eleventh.

The Lady Knights’ next challenge takes place on Thursday, May 20, vs. Batavia.

Softball takes advantages of curveballs, longballs

KANELAND—Lady Knights softball is 14-7, and bringing the offense.

Kaneland softball broke out the bats vs. DeKalb on Thursday in an 11-1, five-inning rout of the Lady Barbs.

Eight runs in the third, two in the fourth and an additional one in the fifth solved things for KHS. Delani Vest allowed just one hit and struck out eight in the pitcher’s circle. Katy Dudzinski went 2-for-3 with a home run and two RBI, while Brittany Davis went 4-for-4 with two driven in, and teammate Allyson O’Herron went 3-for-3 with an RBI.

Following the WSC battle, the Lady Knights headed up Route 20 to take part in the Marengo Tournament on Saturday.

The first contest had KHS fall to Tinley Park’s Andrew HS by a 7-5 final after Vest surrendered four runs in the top of the sixth. The sophomore did have five strikeouts to her name. Sister Rilee Vest had a double, triple and three RBI.

Kaneland recovered to vanquish the Freeport Pretzels in a 10-4 encounter. Dudzinski took the hill and struck out six in the win, while also slamming a homer. Jordan Hester added a homer and four RBI.

To end the weekend, Kaneland brought out the slaughter bats against Rockton’s Hononegah HS in a 13-3 win. The Lady Knights, with winning pitcher Alexis Villarreal on the hill (8 K’s), saw a triple and three RBI by Rilee Vest and a 3-for-4 game from Beth Smith.

Kaneland handled Oswego East on Monday by a final of 8-2, on the strength of Vest’s six innings. Vest scattered only two runs and five hits while fanning four.

At the plate, Andrea Dimmig-Potts smacked three doubles and drove in three.

Upcoming for KHS softball is a home contest with Sycamore on Thursday, May 13, at 4:30 p.m.

Photo: KHS softball outfielder Rilee Vest was among those with a prolific Marengo Tourney, smacking a triple and
3-RBI game in a 13-3 win against Hononegah on Saturday. File Photo

KHS softball (10-6) falls to GS, edges Geneva

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—In a meeting of two of the better Western Sun Conference teams on Thursday, the visiting Lady Raiders showed KHS who the team to beat might be this season.

Braving whipping winds, the Lady Knights fell victim to less-than-stellar defensive play and seven errors, along with timely Lady Raider hits in a 5-1 loss in Maple Park.

On Tuesday, the Lady Knights recovered with a 2-0 one-hit shutout of Geneva.

The Lady Knights are 10-6 with a 5-4 WSC record.

Glenbard South improved to 19-2 with an 8-0 WSC tally after its win over KHS.

Delani Vest struck out three and gave up two earned runs in the complete-game effort against the Lady Raiders.

The Lady Knights drew first blood in the bottom of the third. First baseman Kristen Stralka singled but was caught stealing. Vest reached on an error by the pitcher and stole second, and came home on a Brittany Davis grounder that was misplayed by the GS second baseman.

Glenbard South scored one in the fourth, two in the fifth, got a home run to left in the sixth, and scored one in the seventh to cap the day.

Kaneland threatened in the fourth and fifth innings, having two runners in scoring position with one out, but came up empty.

KHS coach Brian Willis’ thinks a winning formula will find itself again if the Lady Knights take care of the ball.

“Last count I had was seven errors,” Willis said. “You boot the ball that many times, you’re not going to beat anybody whether its the fifth-ranked team in the state or the 500th-ranked team in the state. You give them too many opportunities and that’s what’s going to happen.”

The sophomores lost 11-1 to Glenbard South, with the freshmen taking a 13-3, five-inning victory in their battle with the Lady Raiders.

Against host Geneva, the score was deadlocked at 0-0 before Andrea Dimming-Potts’ two RBI single broke the tie.

Vest helped her cause by going 3-for-3 with a run scored.

Softball takes two in WSC play vs. Batavia, Rochelle

KANELAND—Lady Knights had two come-from-behind wins in a week that saw their record elevated to 9-5 (4-3 Western Sun Conference play).

Kaneland softball made use of the four-run inning as part of its winning formula once again on Thursday in Maple Park against the Hubs. The 4-1 win saw Delani Vest strike out seven and allow just one unearned run in the complete-game effort.

Vest is 6-3 with a 1.82 earned-run average thus far.

Meanwhile on Tuesday, KHS scored 10 runs in the final two innings to upend host Batavia 13-8.

Facing the Hubs, Katy Dudzinski had a two-RBI hit in the go-ahead sixth inning, while Allyson O’Herron went 2-for-3.

The sophomores went on the offensive in their clash with the Hubs in Rochelle, scoring 13 runs in the fourth en route to a 14-4, five-inning win.

Aly Harner had a three-run double and Sara Kitz went 3-for-4.

Vest started against the Bulldogs and was replaced by Dudzinski in the sixth before coming back in the seventh to earn the save.

McKinzie Mangers went 2-for-4 with a HR and three RBI. Vest also hit a bases-loaded triple. Dudzinski went 2-for-4 with a double and two RBI.

Batavia scored four in the second, but KHS scored one in the third and two in the fourth, before the hosts scored three in their half of the fourth to make it 7-3. After putting one up in the bottom of the fifth, KHS scored seven in the sixth and three in the seventh to clinch matters.

Softball takes wins from Maine West, Oswego, Sycamore, now 7-5

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—Lady Knights softball rallied this week to finish a busy slate winning three of five. Thursday saw an unfortunate shutout to visiting Yorkville 2-0, but the team split a doubleheader with visiting Maine West on Saturday, winning 4-1 and losing 8-6. On Monday, the Lady Knights made Oswego wish their makeup game was still on the shelf with a 10-3 win in Maple Park, and more Western Sun action on Tuesday saw KHS pound host Sycamore 10-0 in six innings.

At this juncture, the Lady Knights are 7-5 with a 2-3 WSC mark.

Pitching ace Delani Vest (3 K’s) allowed just two runs in the third vs. the Lady Foxes, but aside from Brittany Davis’ two hits, nothing came across the plate.

Vest came back against the Warriors on Saturday and fanned 11 in a complete game effort, allowing one run on five hits.

Vest also helped her cause with a 3-for-3 effort at the plate with a run scored, while sister Rilee went 2-for-3 with an RBI.

After allowing a first inning run, Kaneland had a prolific third inning with 10 batters at the plate that gave them four runs.

Designated player Katy Dudzinski singled, and two batters later, Delani Vest also singled. SS Allyson O’Herron hit a fly to the rightfielder that was carried by the wind over the rightfielder’s head for a game-tying double.

“I was like, ‘oh man, she’s going to catch it again’, but then I saw Delani going and Katy going, and then we just kept running,” O’Herron said.

Andrea Dimmig-Potts then hit a run-scoring single for the lead, followed by an RBI single by Davis and an RBI double by Rilee Vest.

‘We played well (in game one),” KHS coach Brian Willis said. “We executed defensively and hit the ball harder and didn’t get some runs across until that big inning.”

Maine West got some revenge in game two, scoring three in the top of the sixth to break a 5-all tie. Dudzinski went 2-for-4 with a run, three RBI and a homer. Alexis Villarreal was tagged with the loss, but fanned six.

Against the visiting Panthers in a makeup game from April 3, KHS scored in every inning but the fifth. Rilee Vest went deep on a 3-for-4 afternoon, and Kristen Stralka went 3-for-3 with three driven in. Dudzinski earned the win in relief, striking out six and allowing just one hit in four innings.

Delani Vest struck out 10 in the clash with the Spartans on Tuesday, scattering four hits, while Rilee Vest went 3-for-4 with a double, homer and 4 RBI.

Awaiting the Lady Knights is a home battle with Rochelle on Thursday, April 22.

Lady Knights get boost at DeKalb, Marengo

KANELAND—Lady Knights softball knew of a way to smile after some tough losses.

Break out the bats in Barb-land.

Tuesday had the Lady Knights recover nicely after three straight losses with a 12-4 win at Western Sun Conference rival Dekalb.

The win improved the Lady Knights’ mark to 4-3 with a 1-2 WSC record.

Kaneland had lost three of four dating back to April 6.

On Saturday, the Lady Knights lost a 4-1 encounter at Marengo but came back to beat their rivals to the north 9-7 in game 2, and on Thursday dropped a conference battle to rival Geneva by a 7-2 final.

KHS now sits at 4-3 with a 1-2 record in the conference.

Right-hander Delani Vest earned the win over the Lady Barbs with six innings thrown and seven strikeouts. KHS went out to a 5-0 lead after two and lead 9-4 after four innings before capping the scoring with two in the fifth.

Brittany Davis smacked a homer and went 2-for-5 with a double and four RBI. Andrea Dimmig-Potts went 3-for-3 with a walk and 3 RBI.

Against Marengo, Vest was tagged with the loss after giving up the runs, all earned.

Beth Smith earned the win in the second game, while Dimmig-Potts went 3-for-4 with 2 RBI.

Facing the visiting Vikings, the Lady Knights could not add anything to Dimmig-Potts and Rilee Vest’s RBI. Alexis Villarreal (0-1) was tagged with the loss.

The Lady Knights are set to defend their diamond against Yorkville on Thursday, April 15, and Maine West on Saturday, April 17.

Softball consumes Sandwich in rout; loses to GS

by Mike Slodki
MAPLE PARK—Kaneland softball’s season opener 15 days ago featured an ending that was quite thrilling.

On Monday against the Interstate Eight Conference representative Sandwich Lady Indians, the game was once again thrilling, but only for the KHS offense in an 8-0 win.

In Glen Ellyn on Tuesday, KHS (2-1, 0-1 Western Sun Conference) suffered its first setback with a 5-1 Western Sun conference loss.

Delani Vest (2-1), adjusting well to the mound relocation and to the Sandwich lineup, pitched five innings of no-hit ball for the Lady Knights and struck out eight, and Alexis Villarreal sealed the deal with two relief innings.

“Some of my pitches are slower, but they’ve become more effective,” Vest said. “It’s turning a negative into a postive.”

Vest also scored twice and had an RBI single. Centerfielder Jordan Hester had an RBI triple, and Villarreal also scored twice.

KHS first threatened in the bottom of the second with runners at first and third but failed to convert.

Finally, in the third inning, Villarreal walked and stole second. Vest walked, and both runners executed a double steal.

Second baseman Brittany Davis hit an RBI single and took second on the throw, and Taylor Velazquez reached an an error by the shortstop, allowing Davis to come home.

In the fourth inning, the Lady Knights put up another three spot in the fourth inning. With runners at first and third, Vest hit a two-run double, and Davis hit a fielder’s choice that left her safe and allowed Vest to score.

Hester drove home the seventh run in the fifth inning with a triple and came home on a wild pitch.

Coach Brian Willis can make some conjectures about his team, though it’s still early in the season.

“For this early in the year, I’m pleased with our execution,” Willis said. “It’s a long season, and what mistakes we’re making now, hopefully we’ll learn from them.”

Against the Raiders, Vest pitched four innings in the loss. Davis had two hits while Hester had a double.

Freshmen action during the week had Kaneland beating Sandwich 12-1 on Monday thanks to Elissa Eckert’s seven strikeout outing and a triple by Sarah Grams.

The Lady Knights host Geneva on Thursday, April 8, at 4:30 p.m. and travel to Marengo for a doubleheader on Saturday, April 10.

Photo: Pitcher Delani Vest dishes from her repertoire in a Saturday contest against Oswego that was postponed by rain. KHS-Oswego is set to be made up on Monday, April 19. The sophomore fanned eight vs. Sandwich. Photo by Ben Draper

Lady Knights stage comeback

Frosh 3B hits game-winning single
by Mike Slodki
MAPLE PARK—Maybe this is a truly new beginning for Kaneland softball.

Decked out in black-on-black uniforms and facing the team that ousted them in the 2009 regionals, the Kaneland Lady Knights and first-year coach Brian Willis used a single by freshman Taylor Velasquez to drive home two runs in the sixth inning. The lead held for a dramatic 3-2 win on opening day.

“I don’t even know what to say at this point,” Willis said. “I’m so proud of the girls the way they came back. They easily could have laid down after the big bomb we gave up (two-run HR in third). They kept fighting and scratching, and I think that’s what we’re going to be about.”

Sophomore Delani Vest fanned seven batters for the win.

In the top of the third, Lady Rocket Emily Bell hit a two-run shot to left field for a 2-0 lead. In the bottom of the frame, leftfielder Sam Hansen hit a single for the first hit of the afternoon for KHS. Vest reached on an error, and shortstop Allyson O’Herron drove her home with a hit-and-run single.

In the bottom of the sixth, second baseman Brittany Davis walked and went to third after McKinzie Mangers’ bunt was mishandled.

With two runners on, pinch runner Alexis Villarreal stole second. 3B Velasquez hit a single to right-center allowing Davis to come home and Villarreal to slide under the tag.

“That at-bat was a little nerve-wracking at first,” Velasquez said. “But I knew the pitcher was getting a little tired and hit it to right field, and the girls were so supportive.”

In lower-level action, the sophomores lost in the bottom of the eight against BC, 8-7, despite two homers by Katy Dudzinski and 10 K’s on the mound from her.

The freshmen won over BC 18-12 thanks to 14 K’s from Ellissa Eckert and a 3-for-5 day for Kara Leyden.

The varsity roster plays visiting Oswego in a doubleheader on Saturday, April 3.

Photo: LF Sam Hansen maneuvers in the batters box during the Lady Knights’ dramatic 3-2 win over visiting Burlington Central. Hansen walked and eventually scored the first Lady Knight run in the third inning. Photo by Mike Slodki

Willis joins many new softball faces

Photo: Sophomore pitcher Delani Vest will be counted on for a repeat performance. File Photo
by Mike Slodki
MAPLE PARK—Despite finishing 27-9 in 2009, the Kaneland High School girls softball squad faces quite a number of challenges.

There’s recovering from the heartbreaking extra-inning regional championship loss to Burlington Central, the third straight year of getting eliminated by the Rockets.

There’s the acclimation of seven new faces to the varsity ranks, with just six upperclassmen on the team.

There’s also the item of new and eager head coach Brian Willis, who also served time as an assistant after former coach Dennis Hansen was suspended.

Willis says not much has changed in his coaching style from being a lower-level coach in various Kaneland sports.

“Right now, it’s all excitement and anticipation,” Willis said. “We’re trying to get the girls ready. I look at this as no different than the last eight years, except I talk to reporters now.”

Willis is ready for the season-ending loss to be put in the rearview mirror.

“From that regional championship loss, there’s only two girls starting (Wednesday) that started that game. In a sense, that anxiety is there for girls like Delani (Vest) because she was the pitcher, but we have several freshmen and sophomores that weren’t around,” Willis said.

Notably, Vest returns after posting a 17-6 record as a freshman inside the pitcher’s circle, which itself is being moved back.

“That’s going to make a difference, and we’ll get to see how Delani will react to that. With her leadership and competitiveness, she knows what it takes to get back to that championship game,” Willis said.

The jury is still out on Delani’s sister and battery mate Rilee, who is battling nagging injuries.

Junior catcher Andrea Dimmig-Potts returns as someone who saw her share of playing time and was capable of doing damage with one giant swing.

Seniors on the squad are outfielder Jordan Hester, and infielders Brittany Davis and Kristen Stralka.

“We’re moving forward. These returning girls are excited to get a fair shot, and they feel like it’s their time,” Willis said.

Joining Vest as fellow hurlers look to be sophomore Alexis Villarreal and sophomore Katy Dudzinski, who saw spot starts in the varsity ranks a year ago, and sophomore Brittney Miller.

“It’s a new coaching staff (Willis, Christine Bouffard and Joe Spittzeri), and we evaluated everyone equally at the start. Delani put herself in the top spot, and some of these other girls aren’t too far behind,” Willis said.

Sophomore McKinzie Mangers will serve as catcher in case the other two possibilities are beset by injuries.

“We’ll be tested early behind the plate,” Willis said.

The infield will look younger on the left side and senior-laden on the right. Allyson O’Herron, a freshman, looks to contribute at shortstop.

“(O’Herron) is very solid defensively and will make some freshman mistakes, but she’s also solid with the bat,” Willis said.

Fellow freshman Taylor Velazquez will get a look at third base.

Davis will be looked at around second base to serve as a cornerstone of the infield. Spots remain in a fight for outfield.

In terms of players who will see more sizable time this season and could surprise onlookers is Davis.

“She’s going to get out there every day and put up solid numbers and be a good player,” Willis said.

On the new arrivals, Willis pointed to O’Herron having a productive career at short for the next four years.

Other Lady Knights looking to contribute to the squad are sophomore infielder Sarah Kitz, sophomore outfielder Samantha Hansen and junior infielder Beth Smith.

“If we finish in the middle of the conference and continue to get better every week and regionals come around and we’re ready to roll, that’ll make me happy,” Willis said.

The regular season kicked off yesterday against BC, and WSC play begins on Tuesday, April 6, at Glenbard South. The regular season finale is Saturday, May 22, at Rosary.

Brian Willis named new Lady Knights softball skipper

by Mike Slodki
MAPLE PARK—A big question concerning the future of Lady Knights softball was answered on Monday.

In an official press release from Kaneland High School, Brian Willis was introduced as the head varsity softball coach after an internal and external interview process involving other candidates.

Willis, in his ninth year at KHS, has coached various levels of boys’ soccer and boys’ basketball. He is currently the advisor of Partners in International Education Club, Model UN and assistant student council advisor.

Willis was involved in varsity softball in May once former varsity coach Dennis Hansen was suspended.

“I stepped in and helped last year and I enjoyed it. A lot of girls encouraged me to go after the job. It’s an opportunity to turn the page and have a fun and positive year,” Willis said.

Willis has been involved in various levels of community softball since 1985.

“I have a passion for softball. Work hard and good things will happen,” Willis said.

Siebert joining SIU-Edwardsville softball

EDWARDSVILLE—Laurie Siebert of Sugar Grove and Ali Downing of Ottumwa, Iowa, will join the Southern Illinois University Edwardsville softball team next season, according to coach Sandy Montgomery.

Coming off an impressive 40-10 season in 2009, Montgomery added a pair of transfer student-athletes.

“Both Laurie and Ali have the ability to step in right away for us at important positions,” Montgomery said.

Siebert, who has been with Mississippi State since the 2007 season, will have two years of eligibility. An infielder, Siebert appeared in 20 games last season at Mississippi State. She was named a two-time Southeastern Conference Academic All-American.

A two-time All-State pick at Kaneland High School, Siebert twice was the state runner-up in the IHSA Home Run Derby.

“Laurie was an outstanding hitter in high school and has a few years of experience in the SEC facing some of the top pitchers in the country,” said Montgomery.

Siebert was a four-time All-Conference pick. She also played club softball with the Aurora Raiders, helping them to two USSSA state championships.

Downing, who spent two seasons at Indian Hills Community College, was a third team All-American last season as well as a first team All-Midwest Region performer. Honored both seasons as an All-American for academics, she was the Newcomer of the Year for Indian Hills as a freshman.

A four-time All-State selection at Ottumwa High School, she helped lead Ottumwa to a seventh-place state finish as a sophomore and a third-place finish as a senior.

Named to Iowa’s Senior All-Star team as a senior, she also was honored as a Wendy’s High School Heisman nominee.

‘Tis the Season

The Kaneland High School freshman softball team completed a successful 2009 season. The team was coached by Kristyn “Stoney” Crawford. The team ended up being the conference champions with one loss and a record of 13-1. The members include: Grace Fabrizius, Ashley Cottier, Kyle Prost, Sarah McGinnis, Alexis Villarreal, Brittney Miller, Christina Janes, Malory Groen, Alexis Taylor, Megan Scott, Diana Nuno and Sarah Kitz. Courtesy Photo

Sports briefs

Learn hoops with Lyndsie Long
This special camp just for middle school girls will focus primarily on offensive skills including shooting, screening, driving and dribbling. Key aspects of defense like rebounding and shuffling will also be taught. The last day of camp will be loaded with fun, games and prizes while reviewing concepts learned.
Session 1
Grades Entering 6th-8th
Monday-Friday, Aug. 3-7
10 a.m. to noon
$50 (includes camp t-shirt)
Kaneland John Shields Elementary
School gym
Instructor: Lyndsie Long

KHS boys hoops camp rescheduled
Due to scheduling issues, the 9-12 grade KHS Boys Basketball camp is being rescheduled. The new dates for the camp are Monday through Thursday, June 15-18, from 1 to 3 p.m. in the Kaneland High School east gymnasium, and Monday through Thursday, June 22-25, from 8 to 10 a.m. in the high school east gymnasium. If you have scheduled a session in this camp and need to now withdraw due to a conflict, please contact Leigh Jaffke at (630) 365-5100, ext. 224, or at leigh.jaffke@kaneland.org.

KHS rivals still playing
Although the last bell has rung for area schools, two Lady Knight rivals still have work to do.

The Class 3A Softball State Tournament will feature Burlington Central and Western Sun Conference rival Glenbard South.

Burlington Central, who defeated Kaneland in a 1-0, nine-inning affair on May 30, is set to face Oak Forest on Friday at 9:30 a.m., while Glenbard South faces Chatham’s Glenwood High School at noon in the other semifinal.

Kaneland Board accepts coach’s resignation

by Susan O’Neill

The Kaneland School Board on Thursday voted to accept the resignation of Kaneland High School coach and teacher Dennis Hansen. The vote was 5-1 in favor of both approving the separation agreement and of accepting Hansen’s resignation.

The dissenting vote was School Board member Deborah Grant, who said her vote was “in light of recent e-mails that the district has received and in lieu of additional information that may come forth.”

Hansen had been suspended from his coaching duties on May 7 and from his teaching responsibilities on May 11. The suspensions and a subsequent investigation were based on allegations made by parents, current students and graduates regarding inappropriate behavior toward students.

The six- to eight-week investigation conducted by Kane County Sheriff’s Police Resource Officer Paul Warren and school officials on behalf of the district uncovered allegations in both the teaching and coaching realm and involved about a dozen current students and recent graduates during the past couple of years, as well as several graduates who had been students in 2001.

According to school officials, the district was not made aware of the 2001 behaviors until the recent investigation, and no information was brought forth from the years in between the two timeframes. Attorney Maureen Lemon, representing the district, said the initial allegations were brought to the resource officer.

Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources Jeff Schuler said that none of the behavior rose to the level of requiring notification to the Department of Children and Family Services, and no laws were broken. Lemon said the investigation also looked into his previous employment in Coal City schools and found no connection with the investigation at Kaneland.

Hansen has been with the district for 12 years as a physical education and driver’s education teacher, and more recently as a coach of the varsity girl’s softball and boy’s basketball teams.

The separation agreement specifies salary and health benefits payments to Hansen, per the teacher’s contract, through Aug. 31, 2009, and includes an agreement that neither party shall litigate against the other. It also spells out the wording for any references given to future prospective employers in writing. The reference only identifies his dates of employment and that he resigned.

Although the employment reference wording is factual and neutral, School District Superintendent Charlie McCormick explained that, for those in the education industry, that wording would be considered a red flag.

McCormick said the district decided to accept the agreement offered by Hansen in lieu of further investigation and potential termination of his employment for three reasons. First, any additional action could be appealed and overturned; second, it would involve uncomfortable situations for the students, who would be subjected to cross-examination; and three, Hansen’s resignation was the ultimate outcome the board wanted.

The investigation also brought to light a whole range of policies, procedures, climate and culture that will need to be addressed with teachers, students and parents, McCormick said.

“The current technology has outstripped our ethics,” he said.

For example, coaches typically have their students’ phone numbers listed in their cell phones and will use them to text students to notify them of a game cancellation.

Sugar Grove resident and KHS graduate Jennifer Amery, who is the parent of an 8-year-old, said she was not happy with the way the situation was handled. She said that Kaneland could just be passing on its problem to another school.

“How about a big red check on his resume?” she asked.

See the June 11 edition of the Elburn Herald for additional reporting.

Kaneland loses heartbreaker to BC girls

by Mike Slodki
Lady Knights softball only had to score one run to take the regional title from host Burlington Central during Saturday’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.

“Delani pitched a heck of a game,” interim coach Ken Neahring said. “She did an excellent job and kept them off balance. She didn’t strike out as many, but she didn’t take a back seat.”

Kaneland’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 Lange’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.

Kaneland’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 Saturday’s clash was Kaneland’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.

“The seniors were really good for us. We wish them the best of luck; they’ve been great all year,” Neahring said.

Photo:
Lady Knight freshman Delani Vest delivers in the fifth inning of Saturday’s 1-0 regional championship loss to Burlington Central. Photo by Mike Slodki

Lady Knights finish 2nd in WSC, look toward playoffs

Softball comes into its regional action with a formidable 25-8 record, but it doesn’t include a share of the conference title.

Kaneland (10-4 Western Sun Conference) earned a 1-0 win over Batavia on Thursday before losing a 5-1 rain makeup showdown with host Glenbard South that officially decided the WSC. The Lady Knights ended the regular season with a 6-1 win vs. Rosary on Saturday.

Against Batavia, a Sara Rose homer in the top of the first was all KHS needed in a 1-0 win. The knock was one of the two hits the Lady Knights had. Delani Vest (16-5) got the win with six strikeouts in her name.

Against the host Raiders, Vest gave up four earned runs and fanned five.

Rose and Jessica Lubic came through with doubles and Rilee Vest went 3-for-3. Kaneland’s one run came in the top of the sixth which made it 4-1.

Kaneland took care of the Royals, thanks to a solid performance by Delani Vest in the pitchers’ circle and the plate. Vest hit a homer and went 2-for-3, striking out seven. KHS put up six runs in the sixth.

Kaneland freshmen continue their productive season with a 3-2 win over Glenbard South. The sophomores defeated Rosary 12-2 for a win this week.

Interim coach Ken Neahring and Kaneland softball were set to do battle with third-seeded Hampshire out at the Class 3A Burlington Central Regional on Wednesday. (2) Kaneland needed to get past the 12-16 Whip-purs in order to face (1) Burlington Central on Saturday, May 30, at noon for the regional title.

Leveling the playing field

by Lynn Meredith
To put Kaneland on a more equal playing field, the district is considering becoming part of a new conference.

At an informational meeting open to the public where two community members, one student, and 20 coaches attended, the School Board heard a presentation on the reasons for switching from the Western Sun Conference to a newly formed conference with schools as far away as Dixon.

“With the new conference proposal we will still be able to compete against schools of our size and IHSA classification on our area,” Superintendent Charlie McCormick said.

The schools in the farther-reaching districts have enrollments closer in size to Kaneland’s, so presumably Kaneland could win more games than it has been able to do with Geneva, Batavia and Glenbard South, in its current conference.

“It’s in our best interests for what we have. It’s good that every school’s the same size,” head girls cross country coach Doug Ecker said. “The conference will give good competition and Kaneland kids can all compete.”

Board member Cheryl Krauspe had questions about the cost of the switch.

“Here’s the question that I continue to ask—how much is it going to cost? It will cost more to drive to Geneseo than it does to Geneva, and you know transportation is the one area where the state reimbursements are not coming in,” Krauspe said.

Financial implications will be discussed further at the regular board meeting Tuesday, May 26.

Enrollment comparison

Division #1 (new) Ottawa 1,602, LaSalle-Peru 1,280, Streator 1,030, Sterling 1,033, Dixon 969, Geneseo 914

Division #2 (new) DeKalb 1,710, Yorkville 1,295, Sycamore 1,162, Rochelle 1,116, Morris 1,075, Kaneland 1,040

WSC Geneva 1,978, Batavia 1,858, DeKalb 1,710, Glenbard South 1,421, Yorkville 1,295, Sycamore 1,162, Rochelle 1,116, Kaneland 1,040

Travel comparison from Kaneland

Proposed conference (miles) DeKalb 14, Sycamore 16.4, Yorkville 18.6, Rochelle 32.9, Morris 38.8, Ottawa 51.2, Dixon 55, Streator 67.1, Sterling 68.5, LaSalle-Peru 71.4, Geneseo 112

WSC (miles) Geneva 11.3, Batavia 12.2, DeKalb 14, Sycamore 16.4, Yorkville 18.6, Glenbard South 27.5, Rochelle 32.9

Lady Knights softball putting the hurt on

by Mike Slodki
Kaneland softball is on a tear and it couldn’t come at a more opportune time.

The Lady Knights now sit at 23-7, with an 9-3 record in the Western Sun Conference.

This past week saw KHS sweep non-conference Minooka on Saturday in Maple Park by slim 2-1 and 1-0 margins.

Those close victories were balanced by a power-fueled 11-1, six-inning rout of host Sycamore on Thursday.

On Tuesday, the Lady Knights got past Rochelle by a 2-1 (eight innings) margin.

In game one against the Indians, Delaney Vest earned the win and scattered just two hits. The freshman also had a double at the plate and struck out seven on the mound.

Andrea Potts went 2-for-3 with a double, and the Lady Knights broke a 1-1 tie in the bottom of the seventh with a Jessica Lubic double that scored Chassidy Mangers.

In game two, Mallory Huml shut down Minooka with a two-hit shutout that was accented by three strikeouts.

Potts went 3-for-3 with a double, and Brittany Davis’ double in the bottom of the sixth scored Mangers with the deciding run.

Vest (17-4) had a five-strikeout effort against the Spartans but showed prowess at the plate with a two-run homer hit in the second inning, which gave the Lady Knights a 3-0 edge. The Lady Knights struck gold in the first when Davis drew a bases-loaded walk.

Mangers came home on a fielding error to make it 4-0 before a Sycamore homer in the bottom of the fourth made it 4-1.

Jordan Herra’s two-run shot in the fifth made it 6-1.

In the sixth inning, Lady Knight Lubic hit a homer before Potts singled and Herra slammed her second round-tripper of the afternoon.

“It felt great,” Herra said. “The first one I knew I had it, but the second one I was thinking I needed to get down the line as fast as I can. (The win) was a big boost of confidence, and we’re ready for regionals.”

Sycamore’s failure to score in the bottom of the sixth shut the contest down after six innings.

“We’ve been starting to hit better, and we have other people in the lineup starting to get on base,” interim coach Ken Neahring said.

The sophomore Lady Knights dropped a 5-1 meeting with Sycamore and the freshmen took care of the Spartans 14-6 in five innings.

Against the Lady Hubs, Rochelle got on the board in the top of the first, but Kaneland put one up in the bottom of the fourth and sent everyone home in the bottom of the eighth on a Rilee Vest base hit.

Rilee Vest went 4-for-4 with two RBI, while Potts went 3-for-4 with a double.

Kaneland attempts to handle host Batavia on Thursday, May 21, and has a makeup game in Glen Ellyn against Glenbard South on Friday, May 22.

19-7 Lady Knights cross plate often

Kaneland softball made certain that opponents like DeKalb, Oswego East and Yorkville remembered who they were up against.

The Lady Knights were firing on all cylinders this past week with a 7-0 trouncing of Oswego East on Monday and a 10-1 handling of visiting Yorkville.

KHS improved to 19-7 and 7-3 in the Western Sun Conference.

Mallory Huml earned the win in the non-conference affair. The Lady Knights put up three runs in the top of the third, one in the fifth and three in the sixth.

Jessica Lubic went nuts at the plate, going 3-for-4 with a homer and a double. Jordan Herra had a triple.

Against the Lady Foxes, Kaneland put up a four-spot in the fourth and a six-run outburst in the sixth inning.

Delani Vest earned the win with a four-hit effort. The hurler fanned six batters. Andrea Potts went 2-for-4 with a homer.

At the home of the Lady Barbs, the Lady Knights went back to Maple Park with an 8-3 victory, thanks to Potts’ grand slam. The blast was the second bases-loaded round-tripper of the season.

In lower-class action, the freshmen took care of Oswego East 12-0, thanks to an outstanding effort from Sarah McGinnis. McGinnis went 3-for-3 at the plate, and struck out six on the mound.

The sophomore’s lost to Yorkville by a 7-2 final, while the freshmen used a four-run seventh to win 4-1. Alexis Villarreal earned the win.

The softball roster heads to Sycamore on Thursday, May 14, and Glenbard South on Friday, May 15.

WSC seeing last days?

In the fall of 2006, Kaneland left the ashes of the Suburban Prairie Conference and joined seven other schools in the brand-new Western Sun Conference.

Now, in the spring of 2009, the Western Sun Conference looks as if its going supernova.

In late-April, Kaneland met with 11 other schools to draw up plans for a new 12-team conference that would kick off in the fall of 2010. The administration will recommend to the Kaneland School Board at the Tuesday, May 26, meeting to exit the eight-team Western Sun Conference.

Joining the exodus of the WSC with Kaneland would be DeKalb, Rochelle, Sycamore and Yorkville.

The proposed unnamed conference would also potentially include old SPC rival Morris, which is slated to join the North Central Illinois Conference in the fall. The new conference would only have Morris as an NCIC school for one year after leaving the Southwest Prairie Conference.

NCIC schools Dixon, Geneseo, LaSalle-Peru, Ottawa, Sterling and Streator, which make up the NCIC’s Reagan Division would round out the rest of the conference.

The shift would lead Western Sun rivals Batavia, Geneva and Glenbard South looking for new conference homes.

In the Western Sun Conference, KHS ranks eighth in enrollment with 1,140. Geneva’s 1,978 was first in the group.

The new conference would have Kaneland sixth out of 12. DeKalb’s 1,710 students would be at the top of the list, while Geneseo’s 914 would be at the rear.

The conference would likely use two six-team divisions, with the WSC schools pairing up with Morris for one of the divisions.

- Have your voice heard -

Kaneland Board of Education
Special Public Workshop
Monday, May 18 • 7 to 8:30 p.m.
Kaneland High School Library

District personnel will address Kaneland’s history of conference affiliations;
several reasons why a change in conferences is being considered at this time;
and, various aspects of the option being considered.
Questions and comments from the public can be heard.
The board will not consider the recommendation for conference change until Tuesday, May 26

Lady Knights softball falls short vs. Geneva

by Mike Slodki
In a deadlocked softball game that was going down to the wire, any late run would do.

Unfortunately for Kaneland, the late runs were had by the visiting Geneva lineup.

A two-base error led to two runs coming home for the Lady Knights’ WSC rival in a 2-0 defeat on Tuesday.

The runs, which were scored in the top of the sixth inning, were the only runs in a contest that featured just five hits and 10 strikeouts combined.

KHS fell to 14-6 with a 5-3 record in Western Sun Conference play.

Delani Vest was tagged as the losing pitcher and fell to 9-3, despite eight K’s and just one walk.

The lone hits for the Lady Knights were a fifth-inning double by Chassidy Mangers and a third-inning single by Kristen Stralka.

“We were swinging at bad pitches, and we weren’t patient,” KHS coach Dennis Hansen said. “The hitters were getting behind in the count, and no one really hit the ball hard.”

Geneva’s opportunity came in the top of the sixth when, with two runners on, a two-out ball went over the head of right fielder Jordan Herra, allowing the runners to score.

The Lady Knights’ last chance ended when Mangers grounded to second with a runner at second base to end the game.

The sophomores lost to Geneva 2-1, and the freshmen trounced the Lady Vikings 16-4 in five innings.

Kaneland goes to DeKalb on Thursday, May 7.

Photo: Kaneland first baseman Kristen Stralka looks to snag a throw from pitcher Delani Vest during Tuesday’s 2-0 conference loss to Geneva. Photo by John DiDonna

Lady Knights (14-5) bring the bats

Lady Knights softball saw contributions from both ends this past week.

Pitching and hitting proved key in a week that had Kaneland take four out of five contests and improve to 14-5 with a 5-2 record in the Western Sun Conference, tied with Batavia.

Sycamore got the best of the host Lady Knights last Wednesday afternoon by a 2-0 final.

Delani Vest was tagged with her second loss of the season (6-2) despite seven strikeouts. The Lady Spartans plated one run in the top of the first and one in the third.

Jessica Lubic went 2-for-4 with a double and triple, and Andrea Potts also added a triple.

On the lower-class end, Kaneland sophomore softball came away with a win at Sycamore by a 10-3 clip.

Beth Smith improved to 6-0, and Nikky Rymarz went 3-for-3 with a home run.

On Thursday, the Lady Knights handed the host Rochelle Lady Hubs a 5-0 loss.

Vest took care of the purple-clad lineup with eight strikeouts and allowed just two hits.

Kaneland’s scoring output consisted of a single run in the second and four in the seventh.

Brianna Hurst led the way at the plate with a 3-for-4 evening along with a double. Potts went 2-for-4 with two driven in and Rilee Vest went 2-for-2 with an RBI.

On Saturday, the Lady Knights provided some hurt to host Woodstock by sweeping a doubleheader, 3-0 and 3-1.

In game one, Vest earned the win and fanned 12 batters, scattering just two hits.

The offense was led by Jessica Lubic (2-for-3, triple, RBI) and Huml (3-for-3).

Game two had the Lady Knights break open a 1-1 tie with two runs in the top of the sixth.

Potts went 1-for-3 with an RBI. Huml struck out 10 on the day.

On Tuesday, Kaneland took the aluminum to the visiting Batavia Bulldogs 9-0, thanks to homers from Potts and Rilee Vest. Vest’s grand slam was the third hit by Kaneland since 2004.

KHS visits Glenbard South on Thursday, April 30, and hosts Geneva on Tuesday, May 5.

Softball makes life difficult for opponents

KHS 3-1 in WSC skirmishes
by Mike Slodki
Lady Knights softball had itself a productive week, and in the process, elevated its record to a nice 10-4.

The Lady Knights, who are also 3-1 in Western Sun Conference play, vanquished the host Maine West Warriors in a Saturday doubleheader, 3-0 and 5-0. Preceding that was a 6-1 win over the host Yorkville Foxes on Thursday. Kaneland began the week as road warriors with an 11-1, five-inning win over host Wheaton Academy on Wednesday, April 15.

In the first game of the doubleheader in Des Plaines, hurler Delani Vest (6-1) scattered just four hits and struck out five.

Sara Rose (2-for-3), Vest (2-for-4) and Jessica Lubic (2-for-3) smacked doubles, while Rose and Mangers parked pitches over the fence for home runs.

The Lady Knights scored single runs in the third, fourth and sixth innings.

Senior Mallory Huml (3-3) put on a clinic in game two, allowing just two hits and fanning nine. Kaneland put up a three-spot in the third inning while scoring two additional runs in the seventh.

Andrea Potts went 2-for-3 with two RBI and Tara Groen went 2-for-3.

Against Yorkville, Kaneland scored three runs in the top of the first thanks to an RBIs double to dead-center by Rose, Potts reaching on an error that scored Rose and a run-scoring single by Lubic.

Yorkville threatened in the bottom of the first by loading the bases but couldn’t score.

Kaneland scored three more in the third. Rose doubled and later came home on an error by the shortstop. Rilee Vest then drove home a run with a grounder, and Jordan Herra reached on another error that scored Lubic, who had previously singled.

“We’ve done a pretty good job this last week of hitting the ball,” KHS coach Dennis Hansen said after the output on Thursday. “We get some people hot up and down the order, and our pitching has been good.”

Vest, only a freshman and counted on for big innings, has come through thus far.

“My screwball was really working today. I struck out a lot of girls with that. It’s different every game depending on how I warm up. Whatever works in the first inning, I try to stick with that,” said Vest, who K’d eight Lady Foxes.

Against Wheaton Academy, Huml struck out seven batters and walked just one while giving up just three hits. Kaneland scored in every inning, including five times in the first and three in the second.

Potts had a huge day at the plate, going 4-for-4 with a double and four driven in. Huml also went 3-for-4 with an RBI.

Lower class action this past week saw the sophomores sweep a doubleheader at Maine West by 11-10 and 10-5 finals.

In game one, Beth Smith improved to 5-0 with a nine-strikeout day. Katy Dudzinski went 3-for-4 with a homer. The Lady Knights scored six times in the top of the seventh to secure the win.

Game two had Dudzinski pitch four innings for the win (4-2). Brooke Thompson went 2-for-3 with a triple and Lindsay Jurcenko go 2-for-4.

The freshmen swept the doubleheader vs. Maine West at Kaneland by scores of 14-3 (five innings) and 14-4 (six innings).

Sarah McGinnis and Brittney Miller earned wins for the Lady Knights.

Ahead for Kaneland varsity is a road venture to Rochelle on Thursday, April 23, and a trip to Woodstock on Saturday, April 25.

Photo: Kaneland pitcher Delani Vest crashes into her sister, catcher Rilee Vest, as they both went after a fly ball in the sixth inning against DeKalb on April 14. Kaneland won the home game 9-4. Photo by John DiDonna

Lady Knights softball secures wins over three schools

A busy week for Lady Knights softball left the varsity roster in pretty good shape through 10 contests.

Softball (6-4, 2-1 Western Sun Conference) took care of Hoffman Estates by a final of 1-0 on Wednesday, April 8, thanks to a sixth-inning single by Brianna Hurst. Delani Vest continued her impressive start and nabbed her third win in a row to go along with 10 strikeouts of the host Hawks.

The sophomores defeated Hoffman Estates by a 13-3 score in five innings. The freshmen team also took a five- inning victory by a 12-1 final. Sarah McGinnis earned the win on the mound.

On Thursday, the Lady Knights came back from a 3-0 deficit against the host Geneva Lady Vikings only to fall 4-3 in eight innings.

Mallory Huml took the loss and fanned three batters. Jessica Lubic went 2-for-4 in the losing effort.

The sophomores fell to the Vikings by a 4-2 final despite 10 K’s by pitcher Katy Dudzinski.

On Saturday, under sunny skies, the Lady Knights suffered a sweep at the hands of the visiting Indians, 7-1 and 2-0.

Delani Vest was tagged with her first loss, but struck out five. Sara Rose’s double accounted for one of the two KHS hits. The Lady Knights were also plagued by six errors in the field.

In game two, Marengo scored a single run in the sixth and seventh to get the win. Kaneland struggled at the plate again with just three hits, including a double by Jordan Herra (2-for-3). Kristen Stralka went 1-for-3.

Tuesday saw the Lady Knights get another strong outing from pitching and offense in a 9-4 handling of the WSC rival DeKalb Barbs.

Delani Vest improved to 4-1 and struck out seven. Lubic went 2-for-2 with 2 RBI, and Rilee Vest went 2-for-4 with 2 RBI. The offensive highlight was a seven-run third inning.

The varsity team heads to Yorkville on Thursday, April 16, to tackle the Lady Foxes and travels to Des Plaines for a Maine West doubleheader.

Softball enjoys 3-game win streak

by Mike Slodki
On a windswept sunny Saturday, Kaneland softball kept Oswego’s head spinning.

A steady sweep, 17-0 in a six-inning game one, and 3-1 in game two. An additional 5-4 victory in eight innings over Glenbard South on Tuesday elevated Kaneland’s mark to 4-1 (1-0 Western Sun Conference).

In the first game, freshman hurler Delani Vest improved to 2-0 while striking out four batters.

Vest also went 3-for-4 while Brittany Davis went 2-for-3.

The Lady Knights scored one run in the first inning and one in the third inning. A five-run fourth inning made it 7-0. Up 8-0, Kaneland poured on the offense and put up nine runs to send the game into retirement early.

In game two, Kaneland put up a three-spot in the third inning and freshmen Katy Dudzinski gave up only one run in her first varsity start en route to a 3-1 win.

Vest went 2-for-3 at the plate, while Tara Groen went 1-for-3 with two RBI.

The two freshmen pitchers did their part in place of pitching staff anchor Mallory Huml, away in Texas as part of a choir competition.

“They both did well,” KHS coach Dennis Hansen said. “Usually, we’re fighting to find pitchers. We didn’t hit as well in the second game, but we got what we needed.”

The three-run rally in the top of the second inning began with a leadoff double by Andrea Potts and a single by Vest. Rightfielder Kristen Stralka drove Potts home with an RBI single for a 1-0 lead. After a passed ball put runners at second and third, centerfielder Groen knocked a single to bring the other two runs in.

The Lady Knights were supposed to battle Sandwich on Monday, but the game was postponed due to weather.

Against the visiting Raiders, Kaneland found itself down 4-0 until scoring two runs in the fifth, two in the sixth and one in the eighth for the win.

Huml earned her first win of the season on the mound and struck out three. Sara Rose went 2-for-5 with a double and RBI. Potts went 1-for-4 with a two run double.

Kaneland was set to visit the Hoffman Estates Hawks on Wednesday before heading to Geneva for a Western Sun Conference clash on Thursday, April 9.

Photo: Delani Vest, seen throwing in the first game of a Saturday softball doubleheader at Oswego High School, delivers a winning effort in the 17-0 rout. Photo by Mary Herra

Spring Sports Preview: Strong returning core best hope for KHS softball

by Mike Slodki
While Kaneland girls softball had a successful 2008 season at 23-7 and pulled out a gritty 1-0 win over Rosary in a regional semifinal, it lost a heartbreaker in the championship to Burlington Central.

Now, KHS coach Dennis Hansen hopes the team takes all from last year, good and bad, and uses it for a springboard.

“We hopefully build on last year; it’s a different team and we have some new people waiting to step up,” Hansen said. “We have some girls playing new positions and will have a little more speed.”

Kaneland’s pitching factors in whatever success the Lady Knights have in ’09, and it starts with ace Mallory Huml (17-4 in 2008, 0-1 in 2009). “Her curve is what she does best, and we also have Delaney Vest, who got the win in the opener. She’ll try the outfield, as well,” Hansen said.

With Huml among the seven returning players, the Lady Knights also see the return of four-year starters Brianna Hurst (2B) and Sara Rose (SS), Chassidy Mangers, Jordan Herra, Erin Heyob and Jessica Lubic.

“Lubic is a good hitter who got some experience a year ago, and we expect big things at first base,” Hansen said.
In the outfield, a combination of Mangers, Vest, Herra and Jordan Hester look to patrol.

Andrea Dimmig-Potts will get a shot at third, and Rilee Vest sets up behind the plate.

Junior Kristen Stralka is in the outfield, junior Tara Groen joins her in that spot, junior Brittany Davis is at second and junior Erin Rocha is also in the outfield.

Hansen hopes the defense can become a strength.

“We have some things to work on based on the first two games, and hopefully it’ll be solid,” Hansen said.

Kaneland looks to do battle with tough Western Sun Conference squads, with some having a different look.

“Glenbard South went to State, lost some key people, but they can rebuild in a hurry. Sycamore could do well and DeKalb could surprise people,” Hansen said.

When 2009’s story gets told, the Lady Knights look to meet, step up to and surpass the challenges that met them in ’08.

“We came up against some good pitchers at the end, and we want to beat teams like that this year,” Hansen said.

Photo: Senior Mallory Huml fields some sharp ground balls at Tuesday’s softball practice in the Kaneland High School gym. Photo by Mary Herra

Lady Knights lose to Milledgeville

Lady Knights softball suffered a 3-2 late-inning loss to visiting Milledgeville-Polo co-op on Monday.

Kaneland’s record dropped to 1-1. The Missiles broke a 2-2 tie with a run in the seventh inning, and took advantage of seven Lady Knight errors.

Mallory Huml took the loss, while striking out three and walking two. Sara Rose smashed a double and Jordan Herra hit a triple for the extra-base knocks.

The RBI’s were had by Rose and by Andrea Dimmig-Potts.

In lower-class action, the freshmen crew lost to Milledgeville 7-4. Sarah Kitz went 3-for-3.

Varsity waits until Saturday, April 4, to battle host Oswego at 10 a.m. and goes to Sandwich on Monday, April 6.