Tag Archives: Brittney Miller

Softball grabs two victories after tough May stretch

Photo: McKinzie Mangers seems to be safe at home but was called out in the sixth inning of Kaneland’s 3-2 home win against Rochelle on Tuesday. Both Kaneland and Rochelle brandished pink items on their uniforms for a “Pink Out” raising awareness of breast cancer. Photo by John DiDonna

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—Welcome to the dog days of May.

After losses to Morris, Sycamore, Yorkville and non-conference Elk Grove High School, the Lady Knights managed wins against Oswego East and Rochelle, situating themselves at 12-14 (3-6 NIB-12).

The most recent wins were welcome, as the Lady Knights have now suffered 13 losses in their last 18 contests.

Against the visiting Lady Redskins of Morris, Kaneland fell behind early and often in a 13-9 setback on May 4.

Morris plated four runs in the first, followed by two in the third and two in the fourth for an 8-0 lead. Kaneland’s attack finally woke up in the fifth with seven runs, cutting the deficit to 8-7. Morris came back with four in the top of the sixth to go up 12-7 before KHS closed to within 12-9 with two more runs in the bottom of the sixth. Morris then clinched the deal with another run in the top of the seventh inning.

Kaneland was also plagued by five runs in the loss, and Brittney Miller was the losing pitcher.

Traveling to Sycamore, and down 1-0 in the top of the second inning, right fielder Sarah Kitz’ two-out RBI single scored Rilee Vest to tie the game. Vest had led off matters with a double.

Unfortunately, the Lady Spartans plated one in the bottom of the third, and got a two-run shot by Brittany Huber in the bottom of the fourth to go up 4-1. Kaneland’s Miller surrendered two more runs in the fifth before surrendering a grand slam to Huber to make it 10-1.

“We’re setting those innings up for them by making errors and not making the little plays,” KHS coach Brian Willis said. “(Sycamore) came through, credit to them, but if we make the plays before the home run, she doesn’t even get a chance to bat.”

Kitz drove home the second KHS run on a single with the bases loaded.

In the top of the seventh, freshman Lanie Callaghan belted a two-run shot to make the final 10-4 margin.

On Friday in Maple Park, Yorkville bested Kaneland in a 14-inning marathon by an 8-7 margin. Andrea Potts went 3-for-6 with three doubles. Alexis Villarreal pitched the first two innings, followed by a returning Delani Vest who went eight innings.

In Saturday’s doubleheader at the home of the elite Lady Grenadiers, the Lady Knights lost 10-0 in five innings, and 11-1 in five innings.

Monday saw Kaneland solve the host pack of Wolves by a 9-2 final. Kaneland put up four runs in the second, three in the sixth and two in the seventh to clinch.

Against Rochelle on Tuesday, Villarreal’s complete-game effort, in which she surrendered just two runs on seven hits with six K’s was key in the 3-2 victory.

The win also took place during the Lady Knights’ “Pink Out” to raise awareness of breast cancer.

In underclass action, the sophomores lost 5-1 to Yorkville despite Elyssa Eckert’s triple.

Meanwhile, Allie Miller earned the win on the mound and doubled at the plate, as the sophomores used a 13-run fourth inning en route to a 17-4 win over YHS.

The varsity lineup travels to Yorkville High School for a Thursday, May 12, encounter.

Lady Knights sweep Dixon

KANELAND—Only one way to make any headway on spring cleaning.

If you’re KHS softball, get out the brooms. That’s exactly what the Lady Knights did in a pair of doubleheader wins over host Dixon High School on Saturday.

The fortunate 8-0 and 6-1 doubleheader wins came on the heels of an 8-5 loss to the host Ottawa Lady Pirates on Thursday.

Kaneland’s current mark is 10-7 (2-2 Northern Illinois Big XII), and looked to steady itself after the loss to Ottawa had them in a six losses-in-seven games quagmire.

In the first game on Saturday, Kaneland posted a six-spot in the top of the first inning and two more in the second.

Alexis Villarreal scattered just four hits and fanned three on the way to victory in the pitcher’s circle.

At the plate, Allyson O’Herron was 2-for-3 with two walks and two runs scored. Andrea Potts went 2-for-3 with a home run and two RBI, while teammate Lanie Callaghan went 2-for-3 with a triple and two driven in.

Game two was won by Brittney Miller at the pitching post, as she went six innings with seven K’s and seven hits surrendered. Callaghan went 2-for-3, and Potts hit her second homer of the twinbill, a three-run dinger in the top of the first.

Against Ottawa, Kaneland led 3-2 in the fourth until Ottawa plated three in the fourth to put the Lady Knights behind 5-3. After scoring once in the top of the fifth, Ottawa came back with two more in the fifth to hold off Kaneland’s one-run rally in the top of the seventh.

Kaneland’s Rilee Vest went 2-for-3 with an RBI in the losing effort.

In underclass action, the sophomore Lady Knights executed a 7-1 and 8-6 doubleheader victory over Dixon. Elyssa Eckert struck out 10 and doubled for KHS, while Sarah Grams tripled and homered in a two-RBI effort. In game two, Maddy Hester went 3-for-4 with a triple.

Softball off to 6-1 start as Northern Illinois Big XII slate begins

Photo: Taylor Velazquez deals toward the dish in a 9-5 game-one victory over host Oswego on Saturday. The Lady Knights also took the second game, 14-8. Photo by Ben Draper

KANELAND—It appears that Kaneland High School softball was happy to get acquainted with Northern Illinois Big XII Conference action.

On Tuesday afternoon down Route 47 in Morris, Kaneland began new conference play with a 20-9 victory over the host Morris Lady Redskins, making good on its first conference action of 2011.

Kaneland had previously played four seasons in the former Western Sun Conference.

Now, the Lady Knights, with some holdover veterans but skewing young, sits at 6-1 after the win over Morris and a Saturday doubleheader sweep of the host Oswego Lady Panthers on Saturday morning, 9-5 and 14-8.

KHS also disposed of host Sandwich, 8-0 on Monday.

While Taylor Velazquez started the game, Katy Dudzinski earned the win in the pitcher’s circle after 2.2 innings of relief, allowing just one run on four hits.

Dudzinski also walloped two home runs and a double in a 3-for-4, six RBI afternoon.

Teammate Brittney Miller went 3-for-5 with two doubles and 3 RBI.

Slugger Andrea Potts went 3-for-5 with two doubles and two runs driven in.

After taking a 4-3 lead after three innings, Kaneland plated one in the fifth for a 5-3 advantage before Morris scored five in the bottom of the frame to lead 8-5.

Kaneland then took to the bases and scored seven runs each in the sixth and seventh to put the game away.

Taylor Velazquez was the game-one winner against Oswego, while Alexis Villarreal was the game-two beneficiary.

Velazquez also took the win against the Lady Indians.

KHS was set to travel to Hoffman Estates on Wednesday before hosting conference rival DeKalb on Thursday, April 7.

Softball hopes ‘young guns’ are consistent

Photo: Senior Rilee Vest will be an offensive leader for the 2011 Lady Knights softball team. Vest will also see more time behind the plate, catching for a pitching staff that head coach Brian Willis hopes will find some consistency. File Photo

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—Looks like the younger core of softball players will get a chance to get some more playing time in 2011.

Kaneland looks to avenge a regional championship loss to Sycamore and get back to the heights of a 20-11 season of a year ago.

They’ll have to replace three valuable seniors of a year ago, and 13 wins from former pitcher Delani Vest.

“We are still young, and only two seniors here,” said second-year coach Brian Willis. “This team will be a lot like last year’s team. Hopefully somebody will surprise with pitching. Offensively, we’ll be fine, defensively we’re a work in progress.”

Luckily, the two seniors on the team are noted contributors: Rilee Vest and Andrea Potts, whom Willis regarded as quality catchers who supply offense.

“We have pitchers that can throw the ball well, but we are looking for some consistency,” Willis said.

In the mix for the pitchers’ circle is junior Alexis Villarreal, junior Katy Dudzinski and sophomore Taylor Velazquez.

McKinzie Mangers plays the third baseman role as a junior, highly touted sophomore Allyson O’Herron is at shortstop, freshman Allison Miller debuts at second, and Potts at first.

The outfield shows the returning Samantha Hansen, a junior, while freshman Lanie Callaghan takes the centerfield slot and junior Brittney Miller in right.

Shoring up the infield is junior Sarah Kitz and freshman Lexi Roach.

Willis mentioned Miller and Hansen as players that eased into varsity roles last year and will make the most of their opportunities in 2011.

Kaneland hopes the lineup comes together in the midst of the new Northern Illinois Big XII arrangement.

“It gives us a lot to live up to, and I hope softball can play up to the level of the other sports who have done well in conference,” Willis said. “We’ve simplified a lot of things offensively and defensively, where they might have been too complicated a year ago. I think that’s going to help us.”

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.

‘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

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