Tag Archives: Brian Dixon

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Former Knight champs boost CSBL Joliet squad in postseason

Photo: Former KHS baseball player Brian Dixon (left) helped the Joliet Dirtbags baseball team beat the Crestwood Pantheers 14-4 in seven innings on Thursday in Midlothian, Ill. The Dirtbags qualified to compete in the NABF Major Regional tournament, set to begin Thursday, Aug. 1. The team features a pair of former Knights, with pitcher Kyle Davidson also on the team. Courtesy Photo

Davidson on mound, Dixon with glove help Dirtbags to 14-4 rout
MIDLOTHIAN—The Joliet Dirtbags baseball team had some nice moments before its end in the Chicago Suburban Baseball League’s postseason tournament, and two former Knights were the reason why.

Former Knight and current Millikin Big Blue Kyle Davidson pitched a strong six innings and teammate and fellow former Knight Brian Dixon played strong on the infield to propel the team to a 14-4 win over the Crestwood Panthers in seven innings last week.

The league tournament journey came to an end for the Dirtbags by a final of 9-2 on Friday at Madison Meadows in Lombard, Ill. By virtue of their finish, the Dirtbags, with five members of the Millikin team, are set to compete in the NABF Major Regional beginning on Thursday, Aug. 1.

The finals of the CSBL tourney had Lombard beat Beecher on Saturday, 8-0.

The Dirtbags, now 18-19, were faced with a total elimination on Thursday after a 13-3 rout suffered at Homewood-Flossmoor High School to the Beecher Mustangs.

However, the team turned around its fortunes against Crestwood in its big win.

Davidson was able to hold off a rally from the mound after giving up a two-run homer for a 4-3 disadvantage and fanned six members of the Crestwood lineup, giving up four runs on five hits.

“If we lost, we go home, and the same with them,” Davidson said. “We had to come out and play our best game.”

Dixon, who was moved from his usual No. 8 or No. 9 hole, to second in the order by Dirtbags skipper Kevin Campbell, smacked an RBI single in the bottom of the fourth to tie the score at 4-4.

After a bases loaded walk broke the tie, Dixon (1-for-5, RBI) came home on a two-run single, effectively icing the game at 7-4.

“I was not expecting to bat (second),” Dixon said. “I like it; it’s different and it’s nice to get a different feel, and I took a different approach to it.”

In a do-or-die situation like the one presented on Thursday, Dixon preferred the smart approach to the hacking attack.

“Now is the time to be smart, definitely,” Dixon said. “That’s the way I’m looking at it. If it’s the right pitch and right count, I’m taking it.”

Dixon, at second base, was able to stab a liner off the Panthers lineup with runners on base in the top of the fifth that protected the lead.

Joliet scored four runs in the bottom of the sixth for an 11-4 lead, and scored three more to end it via the mercy rule, the last of which coming on a passed ball.

“Looking at their stats, I knew their top four guys were probably their best, so I tried to pound them, and cruise with the other guys,” Davidson said.

The Dirtbags’ next obstacle, the NABF Major Regional, is hosted by Beecher.

Dixon

What a ‘dirtbag’

Former Knight Dixon finds role with Joliet Dirtbags men’s team
KANELAND—For countless players of high school baseball, playing for your school is all you can hope for, much less be on a field celebrating a State championship.

Kaneland High School graduate Brian Dixon checked both of those things off his list in 2011.
Now, after suiting up for the Millikin University Big Blue the last two seasons, the former Knight also finds himself in the amateur men’s baseball circuit.

Dixon currently plays for the Joliet Dirtbags, a team that is part of the Chicago Suburban Baseball League. The league features teams from the Chicagoland area, including from Lombard and Oswego, Ill. Home games for the Dirtbags take place at Joliet Catholic High School during the summer.

Featuring players in college or one year out of college, the CSBL has seen a select few make it to Major League Baseball, like most recent examples Ian Krol (Naperville, Ill.) of the Washington Nationals and George Kontos (Lincolnwood, Ill.) of the San Francisco Giants.

Dixon, an Art/Graphics Design major at Millikin, just wanted to be in the best baseball shape he could be.

“I got to know Coach (Kevin) Campbell at Millikin, and when he mentioned there was a spot on the team, I took it,” Dixon said.

Dixon, who patrols second for the fourth-year Dirtbags, has seen a marked improvement in his game in his first year for the CSBL.

“I’ve really improved on hitting and getting on base since Kaneland,” Dixon said. “I’ve gotten stronger and had more confidence.”

Going as far as Waukegan, Ill., for league games, Dixon has become accustomed to the amateur travel setting, helped by his play for Millikin, and the five-strong Millikin connection in Joliet that includes fellow State champ Kyle Davidson.

“There’s a lot of guys from St. Francis in Joliet, and there’s some guys with Millikin, including coach Campbell. It was easy to step into that group right away, and now we’re all familiar with each other,” Dixon said.”

Campbell feels Dixon is a player the 10-8 Dirtbags are fortunate to have.

Dixon is hitting .273 with an on base percentage of .418.

“Guys like him are good to build around, and I’ve seen them in action. You can stick them in the eight or nine-hole and they hold their own against teams with Division I talent,” Campbell said.

For now, Dixon doesn’t seem to mind what pedigree the other teams like the Oswego Cats bring to the diamond. When he’s not working at the Kane County Forest Preserve or hanging with friends, he’s happy to play like a Dirtbag.

“It’s a team with good players, and it’s definitely competitive,” Dixon said.

Local residents named to Aurora University dean’s list

AURORA— The following residents were named to the Aurora University high honors dean’s list for the fall 2011 semester: Stephanie Claesson, Samantha Dixon, Lindsay Hansen, Alexa Hill, Lydia King and Katelyn Pietraszak, all of Elburn; Magdalena Bonczak, Melissa Castrovillo, Jesus Favela, Justin Garlinski, Catherine Pauls, Paige Rogers and Sara Rose, all of Sugar Grove; Arianna Espino and Ashley Girard of Maple Park.

The following residents were named to the Aurora University regular honors dean’s list for the fall 2011 semester: Brian Dixon, Jordan Herra and Charlene Walker, all of Elburn; Eleni Ajazi, Michelle Dugan, Matt Hawbecker, Anna Mayer and Marlene Morris, all of Sugar Grove; Kathryn Banbury of Maple Park.

The high honors list recognizes students who attain a 4.0 grade-point average while completing at least 12 credit hours during the semester. The regular honors list recognizes students who achieve a GPA of 3.6 to 3.99.

KHS spring sports awards put fitting cap on 2010-11

KANELAND—Coming a little later due to the storybook run of Kaneland baseball, KHS released its spring sports awards for 2010-11, highlighting a successful first step into Northern Illinois Big XII play.

In girls track, Lauren Zick and Andie Strang took home the co-MVP for track, while Brooke Patterson was named MVP on the field end. For most improved, Abby Dodis and Briana Stark took home the honor.

Sydney Bilotta, Strang, Kris Bowen, Jessica Stouffer and Keara Palpant were recognized as captains.

Zick and Patterson were joined by Gabby Aguirre as part of the Northern Illinois Big XII (NIB-12) All-Conference squad. Strang (1600 meter run, 4x800m relay), Bowen (4x800m relay), Patterson (pole vault), Sydney Strang (4x800m relay) and Zick (400m dash, 4x800m relay) were also recognized for their State trip.

For boys track, Taylor Andrews and Tommy Whittaker were named track MVP’s, while teammate Matt Spitzzeri took the field MVP. Curtis Secrest was given the Drendel Award.

Secrest, Trevor Holm, Whittaker, Andrews, Matt Cowans and Spitzzeri were recognized as captains, and Kory Harner took the Ron Probst Award.

The NIB-12 also named Andrews, Spitzzeri, Whittaker, Holm, Brandon Cottier, Mickey Marin and Jesse Balluff as part of the All-Conference squad.

Harner, Marin, Luis Acosta, Clayton Brundige, Balluff, Brandon Bishop, Dylan Nauert, Sean Carter, Holm, Cottier, Whittaker, Andrews and Secrest were all recognized for their State qualifying efforts.

In soccer, Emily Heimerdinger secured an All-State honor, capping her four-year output in style, while also named the NIB-12 MVP. The Class of 2011 member was also named co-MVP for the Lady Knights with teammate Amy Fabrizius.

Conference-wide, Heimerdinger, Fabrizius, Sophia Blank and Sam Wantuch were named to the All-Conference team.

Katie Taylor earned the Lady Knights Award, while Blank took home the Coach’s Award.

Keeper Michelle Ortiz was named Rookie of the Year, while Wantuch was named Most Improved Player for the roster that made it to the regional championship. Blank, Fabrizius, Heimerdinger and Taylor were also recognized as captains.

In softball, McKinzie Mangers and Andrea Potts were recognized as captains, while Allyson O’Herron took home the Lady Knight Award.

Potts was also named the Offensive Player of the Year.

Alexis Villarreal was named Most Improved Player for her efforts on the mound, and teammate Rilee Vest was named Defensive Player of the Year for the Lady Knights softball unit.

Additionally, Potts was a unanimous selection to the NIB-12 All-Conference team as an infielder. Vest and Katy Dudzinski were named as honorable mention candidates.

For the State Champion Knights baseball program, Bobby Thorson was named team Offensive MVP.

Kyle Davidson, Jake Razo and Brian Dixon took the Defensive MVP awards, and Dixon, Razo and Tyler Heinle were named Most Improved Players.

The No. 41 award was given to Sam Komel, Corey Landers and Dixon.

Mr. Kaneland Baseball was given out to the whole of the 2011 Class 3A State winners.

Additionally, Kaneland held the Senior Athletic Banquet Awards in June, giving the Knight Award for three-sport athletes to Stouffer, Strang and Davidson.

Strang was named female athlete of the year, while Andrews was named male athlete of the year. Strang also won the female Birkette Award, while the male Birkette Award went to Curtis Secrest.

Oh, Kaneland!

Photo: Joe Camiliere shows what it’s all about after Saturday’s 11-3 State Championship-clinching win as he and teammate Bobby Thorson receive their Class 3A medals. The two seniors supplied offense and defense during the weekend, and Thorson picked up the win over Waterloo on Friday. A photo gallery can be found at the bottom of this page. Photo by Mike Slodki

KHS baseball wins 1st State championship with 11-3 win vs. Oak Forest
by Mike Slodki
JOLIET—In high school baseball postseason, only one team can follow through on its aim to run the table and win its last game.

For 2011, that team was your Class 3A State Champion Kaneland Knights.

With an 8-2 win over the Waterloo Bulldogs on Friday afternoon at Silver Cross Field in Joliet, Ill., the Knights earned the right to play Oak Forest and slayed the Bengals in an 11-3 result.

For KHS, this marks the first State Championship in a head-to-head sport since coach Joe Thorgesen’s second Class 3A Championship in a row back in 1998.

Kaneland (26-10) finished the season with a 13-game winning streak, on the heels of a slump that saw it lose six of seven contests to Yorkville, Sycamore, Oswego East and Morris. The Knights’ last loss of the season occured back on May 10 against the Redskins.

“We opened with Plainfield North and had a couple cancellations, faced Cary-Grove, faced Warren, and I told our guys we were going to take some lumps,” KHS coach Brian Aversa said. “We started 2-4, and it was going to prepare us for the end of the season.”

Winning pitcher Drew Peters helped keep the Bengals in check, combining with the defense to stop Oak Forest (27-8-1) on two occasions when they had two runners on base.

On the offensive end, the Knights got a two-out double from centerfielder Joe Camiliere, and he was driven home by third baseman Bobby Thorson for the first run of the contest on an RBI single.

It remained that way until the top of the fourth inning, when with two runners on and two outs, Oak Forest reaped the benefits of a ball to the outfield just out of the reach of Jake Razo for a 2-1 lead.

Powering through that pivotal moment, Kaneland got Camiliere on with a single, and the Elmhurst College-bound baserunner stole second. With two outs, a balk moved Camiliere to third, and DH Drew French walked to put runners at the corners. Razo’s single to left tied the game, and it was followed by second baseman Brian Dixon’s go-ahead single. As French beat the throw home, Dixon took second base.

The floodgates opened in a six-run fifth inning, which increased the lead to 9-2. RBIs in the inning were laced by Thorson, Sam Komel (2 RBI), Razo, Dixon and catcher Tyler Heinle.

“We did a good job at the plate today,” Camiliere said. “We got a run early, and that’s always big. Once we get in the rhythm of a game, that’s when the bats get going.”

The bottom of the sixth inning saw Razo come through again with a two-run double, which closed out the scoring for the season.

Kyle Davidson came on in relief for the last three innings, and allowed three straight singles with one out leading to a run.

However, Davidson induced Bengal shortstop Bobby Sheppard into a game-ending 6-4-3 double play. Davidson and catcher Heinle began the pileup on the field, and the celebration was on.

“We were happy to be here. We were a little worried on how we’d stack up against these teams with 30 wins,” Aversa said.

Camiliere believed all facets of the game played at peak level.

“We played our best game of the year today. Defensively, we gave up some hits, but the plays we needed to make, we made them. That double play was awesome at the end,” Camiliere said.

In the State semifinal against a Waterloo (32-4) team that featured Cubs ninth-round pick Garrett Schlecht, the Knights surrendered single runs in the second and third innings, but Thorson held firm the rest of the afternoon in a complete-game outing.

“My hands were dry today, and I was able to throw more breaking stuff,” Thorson said. “It wasn’t as hot, and I felt great out there.”

The fourth inning yielded huge returns with four runs. Thorson led off with a triple. After one out was recorded, French walked and Razo’s single made it a 2-1 game. Dixon tied the game with another single.

Heinle dropped a suicide squeeze but Waterloo made a bad throw to first to give KHS a 3-2 lead.

“I love bunting,” Heinle said. “It comes easy to me, and I got excited when the sign came for the suicide squeeze.”

Corey Landers smacked a grounder that went off a shortstop mitt to bring the fourth run of the inning home.

Four more runs came home in the sixth, thanks to RBI singles from Landers and Thorson, and a two-run single from Komel.

The KHS unit was also coached by Jim Smedley, Ernie Colombe, Dan Hallahan, Kevin Boltz and Norm Welker.

Team captains were departing seniors Davidson, French, Landers, Camiliere, Komel, Thorson and Dixon.

2011 Class 3A
Final Four
June 10-11, 2011

• Semifinals
Oak Forest 3
Nazareth Academy 1

Kaneland 8
Waterloo 2

• Third place
Nazareth Academy 1
Waterloo 6

• Championship
Oak Forest 3
Kaneland 11

Wish to relive the Knights’ quest?

Both State Final games are available for viewing at www.IHSA.tv.

DVD copies will also be available online for purchase at www.PrepFilms.com.

KHS vs. Waterloo

• Score-by-innings
R H E
Knights 000 404 0 8 11 1
Bulldogs 011 000 0 2 4 4

Starting Lineup—Knights
1. Davidson SS 6. French 3B
2. Landers LF 7. Razo RF
3. Camiliere CF 8. Dixon 2B
4. Thorson P 9. Ty. Heinle C
5. Komel 1B
Starting Lineup—Bulldogs
1. Aycock CF 6. Steppig LF
2. B. Dillenberger SS 7. Wittenauer 2B
3. Schlecht 1B 8. Snodgrass DH
4. Wetzler C 9. Schaab 3B
5. Hopkins RF 10. Crutchfield P

• Bottom of 2nd
Hopkins walked. Steppig grounded out
to 3b, SAC. Hopkins advanced to second. Wittenauer singled up the middle, RBI. Hopkins scored. Wittenauer stole second. Snodgrass flied out to cf. Schaab walked. Wittenauer out at third c to 3b, caught stealing. Kaneland 0, Waterloo 1.
• Bottom of 3rd
Aycock walked. B.Dillenberger reached on a fielder’s choice; Aycock out at second ss to 2b. B.Dillenberger stole second. Schlecht grounded out to 2b. B.Dillenberger advanced to third. Wetzler singled to left center, RBI. B.Dillenberger scored. Klein pinch ran for Wetzler. Hopkins grounded out to 2b. 1 run, 1 hit, 0 errors, 1 LOB.
Kaneland 0, Waterloo 2.
• Top of 4th
Thorson tripled to right center. Barry pinch ran for Thorson. Komel struck out. French walked. Razo singled to shortstop, RBI. French advanced to second; Barry scored. Dixon singled through the right side, RBI; Razo advanced to third; French scored. Ty.Heinle singled, bunt, RBI; Dixon advanced to second, advanced to third on a throwing error by p; Razo scored. B.Dillenberger to p. Wittenauer to ss. Snodgrass to 2b. Crutchfield. Davidson struck out looking. Landers reached on an error by ss. Ty.Heinle advanced to third. Dixon scored, unearned. Camiliere grounded out to ss. Kaneland 4, Waterloo 2.
• Top of 6th
Dixon grounded out to 2b. Ty.Heinle flied out to cf. Davidson doubled to right center. Landers singled up the middle, RBI; Davidson scored. Camiliere walked. Landers advanced to second. Thorson singled to right center, RBI; Camiliere advanced to third; Landers scored. Barry pinch ran for Thorson. Barry stole second. Komel singled to left center, 2 RBI; Barry scored. Camiliere scored. Komel advanced to second on a wild pitch. French flied out to rf.
Kaneland 8, Waterloo 2.

KHS vs. Oak Forest

• Score-by-innings
R H E
Bengals 000 200 1 3 10 2
Knights 100 262 0 11 13 0

Starting Lineup—Bengals
1. Zubek C 6. Jester 2B
2. Richard RF 7. Linares P
3. Barry LF 8. Hine DH
4. Sheppard SS 9. Sleeman 3B
5. Murray CF
Starting Lineup—Knights
1. Davidson SS 6. French DH
2. Landers LF 7. Razo RF
3. Camiliere CF 8. Dixon 2B
4. Thorson 3B 9. Ty. Heinle C
5. Komel 1B 10. Peters P

• Bottom of 1st
Davidson struck out looking. Landers grounded out to ss. Camiliere doubled down the rf line. Thorson singled up the middle, RBI; Camiliere scored. Komel struck out.
Oak Forest 0, Kaneland 1.
• Top of 4th
Sheppard singled to right center. Murray popped up to p. Jester hit by pitch. Sheppard advanced to second. Linares grounded out to p. Jester advanced to second; Sheppard advanced to third. Hine singled to right field, 2 RBI; Jester scored; Sheppard scored. Sleeman singled; Hine advanced to third. Zubek grounded out to p.
Oak Forest 2, Kaneland 1.
• Bottom of 4th
Camiliere singled to first base. Thorson struck out. Camiliere stole second. Komel struck out. Camiliere advanced to third on a balk. French walked. Razo singled, RBI. French advanced to second; Camiliere scored. Dixon singled down the lf line, advanced to second on the throw, RBI; Razo advanced to second, advanced to third on the throw; French scored. Ty.Heinle grounded out to ss.
Oak Forest 2, Kaneland 3.
• Bottom of 5th
Davidson struck out looking. Landers singled to center field. Camiliere singled to pitcher; Landers advanced to second. Thorson doubled down the rf line, RBI. Camiliere advanced to third. Landers scored. Komel singled, advanced to second on a throwing error by lf, 2 RBI; Thorson scored; Camiliere scored. Johnson to p for Linares. French flied out to rf. Razo doubled down the lf line, RBI; Komel scored. Dixon singled to right field, advanced to second on the throw, RBI. Razo scored. Ty.Heinle singled down the lf line, advanced to second on the throw, RBI; Dixon scored. Tattoni pinch ran for Ty.Heine. Davidson walked. Barry pinch ran for Davidson. Zale to p for Johnson. Barry advanced to second on a wild
pitch; Tattoni advanced to third on a wild pitch. Landers walked. Camiliere grounded out to 2b.
Oak Forest 2, Kaneland 9.
• Bottom of 6th
Thorson walked. Fergus pinch ran for Thorson. Komel flied out to rf. French walked; Fergus advanced to second. Fergus advanced to third on an error by c. Razo walked; French advanced to second. Dixon doubled to left center, 2 RBI. Razo advanced to third; French scored; Fergus scored. Jester to p. Blake to 2b for Zale. Ty.Heinle struck out looking. Davidson struck out.
Oak Forest 2, Kaneland 11.
•Top of 7th
Sleeman struck out. Zubek singled up the middle. Richard singled to center field. Zubek advanced to second. Barry singled to right center, RBI; Richard advanced to second; Zubek scored. Sheppard grounded into double play ss to 2b to 1b; Barry out on the play.
Oak Forest 3, Kaneland 11.

Photo gallery:

Best Week Ever for State-bound Kaneland baseball

Knights add Sectional, Supersectional title to historic campaign
by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—It figures the 16th year of the Kaneland varsity baseball program would wind up being the sweetest.

With a successful throw to second base resulting in a “caught stealing” in the scorebook, the Kaneland Knights (24-10) defeated Peoria Notre Dame (PND) (27-7) 8-3 on Monday evening at Augustana College’s Swanson Stadium near Rock Island, Ill., clinching a supersectional championship.

The win, the Knights’ 11th in a row, wrote Kaneland’s ticket to the IHSA Class 3A State Tournament in Joliet, Ill., at Silver Cross Field beginning this Friday, June 10.

Before the recent acquiring of playoff hardware, Knights baseball had not made it out of a regional.

Preceding the unchartered territory for the Northern Illinois Big XII Conference crew, the Knights clinched the Rochelle Sectional championship with a 6-3 win over Aurora’s Marmion Academy on Saturday morning, and earned a spot against the Cadets with a comeback 7-4 win over Woodstock’s Marian Central Catholic on June 1.

Drew Peters improved to 4-1 with six innings pitched, allowing three runs on five hits. KHS handed the Irish pitcher Vince Cicciarelli his first loss (10-1).

Bobby Thorson went 1-for-3 with two runs scored and three RBI, while Drew French went 2-for-4 with a double and two RBI.

Drew Peters fires toward the plate in Monday’s 8-3 supersectional win at Augustana College’s Swanson Stadium. Peters earned his second win in five days, exiting in the seventh inning before Kyle Davidson closed out Peoria Notre Dame. Courtesy Photo

PND squeezed a run home on a bloop hit to right field, but Kyle Davidson started matters in the bottom of the first getting plunked, and on a sacrifice attempt by Cory Landers, the second baseman’s error put two men on. Joe Camiliere walked. Thorson grounded into a fielder’s choice to get the tying run in. A grounder to short by Sam Komel was mishandled, allowing the go-ahead run in.

The third inning began with a walk to Landers. With one out, Thorson was hit by a pitch. Komel’s single brought home Landers for a 3-1 lead, and Komel advanced to second on an error. French’s two-run double made in 5-1. Three more runs came home in the fourth inning as nine men batted for an 8-1 lead, before PND scored two in the fifth, but it would get no closer.

Rightfielder Jacob Razo also made a catch and doubled off a runner in the first inning, for the second time in these playoffs, setting the tone and highlighting a theme.

“Anybody here can make a great play at any time in the field, and at the plate we were relaxed and just got on base” Landers said.

Against Marmion under a blazing sun, Thorson improved to 6-3 in five innings of work, while Peters earned the save with two innings of one-hit ball. Camiliere went 2-for-3 with an RBI, with the big blow being Thorson’s two-run homer in the top of the fifth after Camiliere singled, breaking a 3-3 tie.

“I just got out in front of it,” Thorson said. “We just showed mental toughness today, it was killer out there on the mound, and I only threw two breaking pitches. I gave all I had for five innings and Drew got in there.”

Thorson also doubled home the first KHS run in the very first frame.

Against the Hurricanes, Peters earned the win in relief and Thorson not only earned the save, but also cracked the winning HR.

IHSA Class 3A State
Tournament

Friday, June 10, 10 a.m.
Oak Forest Bengals vs.
Nazareth Academy (LaGrange Park) Roadrunners
Friday, June 10, Noon
Kaneland Knights vs.
Waterloo Bulldogs

State Final
Saturday, June 11, 11 a.m.
Oak Forest/Nazareth Ac. winner vs.
Kaneland/Waterloo winner

2011 Kaneland Knights baseball
Quinn Buschbacher Jr.
Brian Dixon Sr.
Tom Fox Jr.
Trevor Storck Jr.
Tyler Heinle Jr.
Corey Landers Sr.
Bobby Thorson Sr.
Joe Camiliere Sr.
Drew Peters Jr.
Drew French Sr.
Dalton Allen Jr.
Jordan Jones Jr.
Mike Tattoni Jr.
Trever Heinle Jr.
Ryan Fuchs Jr.
Kyle Davidson Sr.
Sam Komel Sr.
Shane Fergus Jr.
Ray Barry Jr.
Bryan VanBogaert Jr.
Jake Razo Jr.

KHS Prom Court

The Kaneland High School 2011 Prom Court includes Brian Dixon (left to right), Hayley Guyton, Michael Caballero, Hannah Schuppner, Queen Sophia Blank, King Curtis Secrest, Princess Amanda Schiff, Prince Corey Landers, Elaine Cannell, Christian Limbo, Allie Grossman and Drew French. Courtesy Photo

Baseball beats Sycamore, falls behind Morris in NIB-12

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—Knights baseball (13-10, 9-5 Northern Illinois Big XII) saw itself making the most of its hits, in both wins and losses this week.

On Thursday, Kaneland scored six runs on five hits en route to a 6-4 win over the visiting Sycamore Spartans, while getting one run on one hit in a close 2-1 loss to the visiting Oswego East Wolves on Saturday.

Kaneland fell behind 4-2 in the sixth before putting up a four-spot in the bottom of the frame to come away with the win.

Kyle Davidson earned the win after his six-inning effort on the mound. Bobby Thorson colleged his first save with a perfect seventh inning.

Davidson also went 2-for-3 with a double and two RBI, while Brian Dixon and Trever Heinle also supplied two RBI each.

Kaneland scored one run in the fourth inning and allowed two runs to OEHS in the top of the sixth. Just four hits combined were tallied in the game, including Joe Camiliere’s single.

The Knights’ two-game skid at the hands of Morris on Monday and Tuesday effectively sent KHS out of the running for conference crown, with Morris now clinching a tie.

In Maple Park on Monday, Morris added to a 3-2 lead in the top of the seventh with three more runs to cinch a 6-3 win, despite Kaneland pounding out 12 hits.

Corey Landers went 2-for-4 with two runs scored, while Camiliere went 3-for-4 with a double and RBI. Drew Peters suffered the loss.

On Tuesday in Grundy County, things got off to a better start. Davidson’s RBI single was followed by a two-run double by Drew French for a 3-0 lead, before Ryan Bernickus came back with a three-run homer in the bottom of the inning.

Bobby Thorson, who gave up the homer, allowed just two earned runs and the effort was not lost on KHS coach Brian Aversa.

“Bobby, he’s our top dog,” Aversa said. “Gives up two earned runs the whole game and we gave up two big errors today. We have to put better defense behind him.”

Morris rallied with one run in the third, one in the fourth and two in the fifth for a 7-3 lead. The Knights came back in the sixth with a French RBI double to close within 7-4, but could get no closer.

“Defense and pitching are what will win you ball games. We keep the unearned runs off the board, we’re going to do a great job. We’ll put up some runs ourselves,” Aversa said.

Varsity baseball continues its swing through May by completing its series against Morris, in Maple Park in Thursday May 12, and heads to LaSalle-Peru for a Saturday twinbill on May 14.

KHS Knights finish spring trek, lose to Harlem at home

KANELAND—Looks like Knights baseball is still working out the kinks in this early juncture of the 2011 season.

However, they did pick up a win during spring break.

In the third of four clashes at Rent One Park in downstate Marion, Ill., the Knights came away with a 10-6 win over the Warren Blue Devils in eight innings on March 30.

However, KHS was stifled by the Cary-Grove Trojans in a 6-0 meeting on Thursday for the last game of their spring break stop.

On Monday, the Knights fell to the visiting Harlem Huskies by an 8-7 clip.

Coach Brian Aversa’s crew now sits at 2-4 through six games of the season.

Against Warren, Kyle Davidson earned the win in relief with three innings thrown, and one run on one hit given up.

Joe Camiliere went 2-for-3 with two runs scored and an RBI while Bobby Thorson had a 3-for-3 outing with a double and a run scored.

For Warren, Ryan Kenney went 2-for-5 with a run.

After the Blue Devils took a 5-0 lead with four runs in the third and one in the fifth, KHS exploded for six runs in the top of the sixth inning, helped by a bases-loaded triple from Sam Komel. After the game-tying hit, Tyler Heinle laid down a suicide squeeze for a 6-5 advantage.

After Warren plated one to tie the game at 6-6, Kaneland waited until the top of the eighth to pull away, thanks to an RBI double by Drew French. Brian Dixon followed up with a bases-loaded triple to take the final four-run margin.

Against the Huskies, junior Drew Peters was tagged with the loss in relief after giving up four earned runs

Bobby Thorson went 2-for-4 with a double and RBI, while Drew French smacked a homer and a double and had two runs scored.

The Knights travel to Rockton, Ill., to battle host Hononegah on Thursday, April 7, and will host NIB-12 crossover opponent Dixon on Saturday, April 9.

Baseball fills void with new talent

Photo: Catcher Austin Conard prepares to block Brian Evers at homeplate during last week’s baseball practice. Photo by Mike Slodki

by Mike Slodki
MAPLE PARK—Kaneland High School baseball seems to raise the bar every year, and this season hopes to be no different.

Finishing a school record 23-13 a year ago, the Knights nonetheless finished with a 6-5 regional championship heartbreaker at the hands of Burlington Central.

“That regional game is kind of motivating us and pushing us this year,” fourth-year coach Brian Aversa said. “We’re going to try and top 23 wins this year.”

Gone from the ranks are players like Mike Pritchard, Joe Gura, Jeff Smith and Jay Levita.

“Guys like that are hard to replace, they were something special,” Aversa said.

With arms like Smith gone, it’s up to personnel like senior Steve Colombe to get more mound time.

Pritchard yields way to backstop Aaron Hayman, a senior.

“Aaron learned a lot from Mike and is ready for the rigors of the backstop in general,” Aversa said.

The outfield is projected to have junior Corey Landers in leftfield, and Joe Camaliere returns for his junior year in centerfield, with rightfield an open derby.

Third base will depend on the opposing pitcher, with juniors Drew French and Bobby Thorson hoping for a look, along with fellow junior infielder Sam Komel.

Kyle Davidson and Jake Tickle highlight the shortstop ranks, while Jake Fiedler mans second base.

Dave Dudzinski, Thorson and Komel will guard first base.

‘We have some pretty nice competitions going around that’ll come down to the last couple practices,” Aversa said.

Hayman and Tyler Callaghan, a junior, will see time at the catcher’s spot.

In the pitching rotation, senior Ty Hamer ( a University of Illinois signee), Thorson and Colombe hurl the ball.

“We’ll ride those guys, and they can give us a lot of innings. There’s not an ace, it’s our top three,” Aversa said. “Ty and those guys bring a presence on the mound, and it’s going to be hard getting a hit off them, and it helps the defense.”

Komel and junior Austin Conard also look to be employed in pressure situations.

Other Knights shoring up the varsity ranks are P/1B John Kintz, OF/C Josh Kuefler, P/OF Trevor Wolf, INF Brian Dixon and OF Brian Evers.

The regular season was scheduled to begin on Wednesday at Plainfield North with Western Sun Conference play beginning on Tuesday, April 5, vs. Geneva. The regular season ends at DeKalb on Thursday, May 20.

KHS honor roll 2009

High Honor Roll
9th grade
Upashruti Agrawal, Lauren Allen, Abby Bend, Brianna Brehm, Taylor Buri, Lauren Companiott, Brian Edwards, Eric Eichelberger, Kelly Evers, Tyler Fabrizius, Jacob Ginther, Kristen Glover, Noelle Goodine, Kelsey Gould, Adam Grams, Malory Groen, Courtnie Holland, Christina Janes, Nicole Ketza, Thomas King, Benjamin Kovalick, Stelios Lekkas, Austin McElderry, Anna Novotny, Athanasios Pesmajoglou, Drew Peters, Alexa Reger, Nathan Rehkopf, Karyn Ribbens, Kayla Rivera, Nicholas Rodriguez, Stephanie Rosenwinkel, Maria Rossi, Margaret Ruppel, Alejandra Salinas, Connor Sandquist, Melissa Schmidt, Dana Schultz, Ashley Shearer, Kylie Siebert, Ashlyn Slamans, Molly Speckman, Anthony Sperando, Brandon Stahl, Trevor Storck, Katherine Taylor, Mackenzie Theisen, Valerie Tockstein, Catherine Tolan, Kalani Tovar, Delani Vest, Marissa Villafuerte, Mercedes Walper, Nicholas Wielgos, Isaac Williams, Anders Winquist-Bailey, Elliot Witt
10th grade
Priscilla Aguilar, Grant Alef, Taylor Andrews, Stephanie Breen, Jocelyn Cabral, Elaine Cannell, Cory Clausen, Jessica Corbett, Emily Darrow, Lacey Eberle, Caitlin Ellefsen, Collin Ellingwood, Ariana Espino, Amy Fabrizius, Brock Feece, Drew French, Danielle Frost, Allison Grossmann, Emily Heimerdinger, Amanda Helfers, Guillermo Hernandez, Andrew Hladilek, Lindsay Jurcenko, Joseph Kenkel, Jordan Krawczyk, Amanda Lamp, Corey Landers, Alexandra Leonhard, Christian Limbo, Jessica Lubic, Bernice Marsala, Katie Meuer, Danielle Micek, Abby Michels, Richard Miller, Sarah Morgan, Brian Olson, Nicole Ott, Keara Palpant, Brooke Patterson, Karissa Pitstick, Amber Platt, Alyson Rehr, Mackenzie Rich, Alicia Robinson, Linnea Scherer, Joshua Schuberg, Hannah Schuppner, Elizabeth Smith, Andrea Strang, Danielle Thomas, Holly Thomas, Brooke Thompson, Samantha Vazquez, Samantha Wantuch, Breanna White, Amanda Whiteside, Thomas Whittaker, Michael Wille, Caitlyn Young, Cara Zagel
11th grade
Jenna Bartel, Andrea Bruce, Danilo Bruno, Scott Burgholzer, Derek Bus, Emily Butts, Kristyn Chapman, Megan Cline, Stephen Colombe, Lindsey Dodis, Eric Dratnol, David Dudzinski, Joseph Garlinsky, Lily Garrison, Megan Gil, Trever Grimoldby, Tara Groen, Rebecca Hauge, Kevhlub Her, Joseph Herzer, Kevin Hodge, Katlin Howard, Angela Humphrey, Amy Husk, Haley Johnson, Samantha Johnson, Elizabeth Kennedy, Brett Ketza, Kevin Krasinski, Taylor Krause, Micaela Lane, Kelsey Lenhardt, Logan Markuson, Melanie Mazuc, Vincent Micek, Alexandra Morefield, Brianne Myers, Joss Nicholson, Zachary Nolte, Alyse Olson, Tara Olson, Kasey Ostarello, Kylen Pattermann, Justin Phillips, Lisa Roberson, Chelsea Roberts, Michelle Rodgers, Danielle Rose, Paula Ross, Patrick Ruffolo, Kelly Shaw, Nikki Smith, George Spirakis, Natalie Swieca, Kevin Szatkowski, Edgardo Valle, Elizabeth Webb
12th grade
Angelica Acosta, Emma Anderson, Kimberly Anderson, Daniel Arnold, Jessica Arnold, Lindsay Bartel, Kathryn Bergman, Ryan Blake, Emily Curran, Kelly Davies, Stacey Davis, Margaret Dawe, Lindsay Douglas, Samantha Eichelberger, Matthew Galica, Ashley Girard, Lauren Gould, Caitlin Haag, Matthew Haffner, Erica Hankes, Erin Hanold, Sarah Harant, Samantha Hauser, Devin Mae Heath, Jordan Herra, Alexa Hill, Rebecca Holloman, Michael Jenny, Hayden Johnson, Leina Kameyama, Emily Kenkel, Casey Komel, Kathleen Kuhar, Angeline Tracy Limbo, Anna Limbrick, Curtis Lubic, Chassidy Mangers, Briana Minogue, Kathleen Moravcik, Evan Olson, Madeline Osman, Christopher Ott, Sarah Otterness, Perren Palpant, Kelaine Patterson, Jordan Pinkston, Emiliano Ponce, Michael Pritchard, Nicole Prusinski, Jacqueline Ream, Bryan Renaud, Brody Root, Anna Rossi, John Rotella, Kristen Rusnok, Kristen Sanecki, William Schaid, Meghan Schiber, Christine Schieve, Jeffrey Smith, Daniel Spence, Emily Tockstein, Zachary Tolan, Santiago Tovar, Cristofer Vargas, Yasintorn Wongwoottisaroch, Victoria Yurachek, Joanna Zielinski, Jennifer Zmrhal

Honor Roll
9th grade
Erin Arndt, Rebecca Arnold, Dhurata Azemi, Raymond Barry, Madison Bluml, Jordyn Boley, Zachary Brown, Acalia Cleaver, Andrew Correll, Ashley Cottier, Ashley Diddell, Alex Dorado, Zachary Douglas, Katelyn Dudzinski, Mitchell Gemini, Ariel Geraghty, Ryan Goodenough, John Goodrich, Matthew Grimm, Samantha Hansen, Samantha Heinle, Austin Henkelman, LaQuanda Hood, Seleana Isaacs, Jordan Jones, Sarah Kitz, Denitza Kolev, Ryan Kolk, Kelly Kovacic, Alec Krueger, Amber-Rose Lano, Cesar Lazcano, Ashton MacKenzie, Aracelli Magana, Jacob Mazuc, Nicholas McCarney, Kayley McPhee, Julianne Miller, Brendan Morgan, Amelia Napiorkowski, Diana Nuno, Konstantin Paraskevov, Austin Paulson, Sierra Perteete, Jordan Phillips, Edker Pope, Jari Ramos-Orbe, Sawyer Rego, Courtney Reiss, Josias Rodriguez, Angela Schramer, Grace Snyder, Erica Sorensen, Meggen Southern, Dalton Stewart, Michael Tattoni, Carolina Tovar, Amber Urich, Bryan Van Bogaert, Savannah Webb, Taylor White, Joshua Williams, Jordyn Withey, Maverick Wojciechowski, Erin Woodill
10th grade
Athina Ajazi, Yesenia Ayala, Kristina Bowen, Taylor Bradbury, Patrick Bratschun, Kayla Burns, Tyler Callaghan, Josiah Camiliere, Shaela Collins, Lauren Crites, Jonathon Delgado, Cali Dickerson, Andrea Dimmig Potts, Brian Dixon, Nicholas Dodis, Michelle Dugan, Tyler Esposito, Zachary Ganz, Angelica Garza, Damien Gilbert, Hayley Guyton , Michael Hammermeister, Megan Hanlon, Anna Henrichs, Elizabeth Hylland, Kelsey James, Kellie Johnson, Morgan Johnson, Allison Jones, Pamela Katsigiannis, Dylan Keith, Maria Kernychny, Skyler King, John Kintz, Kristen Krajewski, Nathan Krauz, Cameron LeBlanc, Mark Merfeld, Kaitlin Munyon, Joshua Nahley, Derek Nordine, Angela Parillo, Angelica Perez, Jimmy Ramirez, Stewart Ream, Kendall Renaud, Keith Runde, Colleen Ryan, Nicole Rymarz, Curtis Secrest, Briana Stark, Charlene Steininger, Bethany Swartz, Robert Thorson, Erich Turk, Alexander Vallejo, Logan Vines, Christian Williams, Ryan Wozniak, Robert Zachara, Kelsey Zollinger
11th grade
Danielle Anderson, Randi Bader, Ryley Bailey, Brittany Bauer, Robert Bergstrom, Chloe Bluml, Dennis Brettman, Edgar Celaya, Jaclyn Diehl, Scott Dienst, Brock Dyer, Andrew Eberle, Olivia Fabrizius, Angela Filippin, Kalina Flamand, Sabrina Gabriele, Lauren Gallucci, Colleen Gebauer, Jeffrey Gillett, Dylan Good, Tyler Hamer, Aaron Hayman, Matthew Ikemire, Jaclyn Isham, Lindsay Kahl, Tessa Kuipers, Caitlin Larson, Brandie Mattice, Jessica McHenry, Donald McLennan, Thomas Orr, Sean Paulick, Brenda Petersen, Izatmar Quiroz, Jordan Rego, Matthew Reusche, Connor Risch, Erin Rocha, Erin Rodway, John Scholl, Alyssa Snyder, Bradley Staker, Daniel Steinmiller, Cody Stults, James Tarchala, Benjamin Tennant, Kayla Thompson, Jacob Tickle, Xavier Torres-Valdovinos, Abigayle VanDerHeyden, Katie Walton, Nicholas Zimmer
12th grade
Cecelia Anderson, Jacob Astin, Garrett Austin, Kathryn Banbury, Joshua Bloome, John Brennan, Michael Chavez, Paul Davies, Laney Deligianis, Samantha Dixon, Alycia Donais, Kevin Durrenberger, Kelsey Fletcher, Alyssa Galvan, Eric Geiger, Lindsay Gierke, Mallory Gigl, Sally Gorenz, Kristen Hamer, Laura Hansen, Kathryn Hatch, Adrian Hernandez, Erin Heyob, Amanda Hilton, Mallory Huml, Brianna Hurst, Sonja Isaacs, Jenna Ivkovich, Krista Johnson, Lydia King, William King, Christopher Kovacic, Meghan Krajewski, Robert Kuti, Nathan Lewis, Robert Locke, Dylan Luse, Grant Mooney, Brittany Nelson, Michael Nguyen, Alexandra Olson, Daniela Parra, Benjamin Paulus, Troy Pritchard, Scott Proctor, Frank Reyes, Leah Richards, Paige Rogers, Sara Rose, Luis Ruiz, Joseph Ruppel, Samantha Sills, Kyle Slamans, Joseph Spitzzeri, Zachary Stavinsky, Jessica Stebbins, Kyle Stryczek, Annelise Weiss, Rick White, Lauren Whittaker, Cassandra Wilson, Mariella Zavala, Dana Zimmer