Tag Archives: Jake Razo

Spring kind to Kaneland athletics in awards season

Photo: Delani Vest capped a stellar senior season for Lady Knights softball by nabbing the NIB-12 MVP honor. File photo

KANELAND—A highly successful 2011-12 spring season was recognized with team awards dished out earlier this week, as well as honors from the end-of-year senior athletic banquet.

Awards were released on June 3.

Leading the charge was sectional semifinalist softball, which boasted the Northern Illinois Big XII MVP in pitcher Delani Vest. Joining the senior on the all-conference list was Paige Kuefler, Hayley Contorno, Allyson O’Herron and McKinzie Mangers, with teammate Lexi Roach an honorable mention.

Vest, Mangers, O’Herron and Sam Hansen were recognized as captains. O’Herron was named defensive player of the year, while Roach was named most improved player. Kuefler and Lanie Callaghan were named co-offensive players of the year, while Contorno and Kristen Gabrielson took home the Lady Knight award.

The senior athletic banquet awards recognized University of Wisconsin-Whitewater bound Sean Carter as Male Athlete of the Year, Kelly Evers as Female Athlete of the Year, Clayton Brundige as the Male Birkette award winner for dedication, and both Evers and Katy Dudzinski as the Female Birkette award for dedication recipient.

For boys track, Carter was named the Track MVP, while Nate Dyer took home the Field MVP honors. Brundige and Brandon Stahl were co-winners of the Drendel Award. Brundige, Carter, Miki Marin, Stahl, Nate Rehkopf, Kelvin Peterson and Mitch Dienst were recognized as captains. Dylan Nauert was named the winner of the Ron Probst award.

Finally, Kaneland’s boys track group of Luis Acosta, Brandon Bishop, Kyle Carter, Sean Carter, Dyer, Shane Jorgensen, Nate Kucera, Nauert, Tanner Andrews, Brandon Cottier, Marshall Farthing, Kory Harner, Conor Johnson, Dylan Pennington, Brundige and Marin were recognized as All NIB-12.

Meanwhile, the 11 State qualifiers were also lauded for their trip to Eastern Illinois University.

For Knights baseball, Tom Fox, Drew Peters, John Hopkins, Trevor Storck, Jake Razo and Tyler Heinle were named to the All NIB-12 team, with Bryan VanBogaert an honorable mention.

VanBogaert, Storck and Ray Barry took home the most improved player nods, and Trever Heinle was the recipient of the 41 Award in memory of Jeff Malewig. Fox was named the offensive MVP and Tyler Heinle was named defensive MVP, with Razo nabbed Mr. Kaneland Baseball for 2012.

The girls track season yielded quite the prestigious awards, with Amanda Lesak, Jessica Kucera, Maggie Brundige, Sydney Strang, Jen Howland, Lauren Zick and Kaltrina Ismaili being recognized as state qualifiers.

Christina Delach, Nicole Ketza, Elle Tattoni, Lesak, Gabby Aguirre, Strang, Zick, Ismaili and Howland also secured Northern Illinois Big XII honors.

Carolina Tovar and Ketza were recognized for their work as captains. Lesak took home the team’s most improved trophy.

The Track MVP honor was given to Strang, while the Field MVP honor went to Tattoni.

Kaneland soccer congratulated Jess Coia, Jordan Ginther, Delaney Stryczek and Katie Taylor for making All NIB-12, while Brittany Olson made the honorable mention list.

Melissa Bohorquez, Ginther, Taylor and Taylor White were recognized as captains, while Brooke Harner was named Most Improved Player for the Lady Knights.

Courtney Diddell and Madi Jurcenko capped impressive campaigns by garnering Rookie of the Year honors.

Taylor Opperman, Heather Ortiz and Stryczek were named winners of the Coach’s Award.

Michelle Ortiz and Olson were named winners of the Lady Knights Award, while the co-MVPs were revealed as Taylor and Ginther.

The Crosby Show

Photo: Casey Crosby dishes toward the plate in his major league debut on Friday in a 9-4 loss to the New York Yankees at Comerica Park in Detroit. Crosby becomes the first Kaneland High School athlete to make the major leagues. Yankee Derek Jeter was the first hitter he faced on Friday. Mark Cunningham/Detroit Tigers

Former Knight lefty officially becomes current Tiger southpaw
by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—Never has a pitching appearance that lasted 3.1 innings been so noteworthy or celebrated.

Elburn and the surrounding area will forever remember the name Doug Fister, as it was his left side strain that forced the Detroit Tigers to sideline him last week with a 15-day disabled list stint. The club then called up Kaneland High School Class of 2007 member Casey Crosby on May 30.

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“I felt like I was going to black out. I was all excited and couldn’t stand still.”

– Detroit Tiger Casey Crosby, on receiving the news of promotion to Major League Baseball last week.

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Crosby, the 181st player selected in the 2007 Major League Baseball Draft, received the call from the Tigers to go up to “The Show” and made his first start on Friday, nearly five years to the day he was selected by the Tigers.

Crosby recalled the details of the whirlwind week by phone at Comerica Park on Tuesday.

“They called around 3:30 p.m. Eastern Time and I was in Rochester (N.Y.),” Crosby said. “There is no explanation or way to prepare yourself. I felt like I was going to black out. I was all excited and I couldn’t stand still.”

Crosby’s first start was a national television broadcast done by Bob Costas and John Smoltz.

It was only against the New York Yankees.

While Crosby was replaced in the fourth inning of his major league debut, the southpaw is up with the big club and ready to help the Tigers in their American League Central division race.

“When I got into the locker room I saw (pitchers) Drew Smyly, Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander, and they said congrats.”

Crosby now serves manager Jim Leyland on the mound and was at ease when dealing with his tactics and his clubhouse.

“He’s definitely a player’s manager,” Crosby said. “He likes it loose in there, not tight. He talks with everyone before the game.”

While he flummoxed hitters like Curtis Granderson and Alex Rodriguez on changeups, he fell victim to a bases-on-balls epidemic and surrendered a grand slam to Granderson, falling behind 5-1 in the second inning en route to getting tagged with the loss.

Going into the game, Crosby was able to have a degree of comfort due to a lineup switch.

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“(Casey) is a humble kid who has come a long way.”

– KHS baseball coach Brian Aversa

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“Omir Santos was the catcher that night and he caught me in Toledo (Class AAA), so he was familiar with me, and we were able to talk about what we would do,” Crosby said.

Crosby was prepared to go into Friday’s start for battle, regardless of the intimidating nature of the AL East powerhouse lineup.

“I knew entering in that it’s a big league linup and it’ll be tough. You just go in there and they are like any other hitters and you can get them out. You just try to make it through,” Crosby said.

Crosby had plenty of well-wishers that not only made a short trip to Comerica Park, but from here, as well.

“I felt like a little kid. (Casey) is a humble kid who has come a long way,” KHS baseball coach Brian Aversa said.

Aversa was able to be at the helm for Crosby’s senior season on the diamond in 2007. He was just one of approximately 25 people of a group that included family, friends, coaches and teammates like Jake Razo.

“It was so cool to see, and it’s all up to him now if he performs well. He’s shown he can pitch at this level,” Aversa said.

Crosby knows the sheer odds he had to wade through to get to Detroit. He plans to bounce back after taking the loss on Friday.

“You’ve seen the stats on players that make it to the majors after being drafted. It’s definitely cool to know you’re one that made it. You know how to succeed and you know how fail once you pitch on this level. You don’t dwell on it and you move on and that the experience is for the better.

Crosby is scheduled to face the visiting Cleveland Indians on Thursday, June 7.

 

Notes:

• Crosby’s Tigers jersey No. 45 was most recently worn by Ryan Perry, Aquilino Lopez, Alexis Gomez and Lino Urdaneta.

• As of Friday, Crosby becomes the 12th player from the fifth round of the 2007 draft to make the majors, which includes Cardinals pitcher Mark Rzepczynski.

• As of Friday, Crosby becomes the 6th player from Detroit’s 2007 draft to make the majors, joining Rick Porcello, Danny Worth, Luke Putkonen, Charlie Furbush and former Cub DJ LeMahieu.

• As a Kaneland senior in 2006, Crosby nabbed 75 catches for 1,185 yards and 18 TD’s as a wide receiver for the Knights’ football squad that made it to the Class 5A semifinals.

BOX SCORE FOR CASEY CROSBY’S MAJOR LEAGUE DEBUT

Friday, June 1, 2012 Comerica Park, DETROIT, Mich. Detroit Tigers (24-27) vs. New York Yankees (27-23) 56 degrees, cloudy Wind: 14 mph, out to left Home plate umpire: Jerry Layne Yankees P: CC Sabathia (6-2) Crosby’s box score: Top 1: Derek Jeter singled to center, Curtis Granderson struck out looking, Mark Teixeira lined out to left, Jeter to second on passed ball, Alex Rodriguez struck out looking 0 runs, 1 hits, 0 errors NY Yankees 0, Detroit 0 A Danny Worth RBI single gave the Tigers a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning. Top 2nd: Robinson Cano walked, Nick Swisher walked, Cano to second, Andruw Jones fouled out to third, Jayson Nix walked, Cano to third, Swisher to second, Chris Stewart flied out to shallow left, Jeter walked, Cano scored, Swisher to third, Nix to second, Granderson homered to deep right, Swisher, Nix and Jeter scored, Teixeira flied out to left 5 runs, 1 hits, 0 errors NY Yankees 5, Detroit 1 Top 3rd: Rodriguez struck out swinging, Cano grounded out to shortstop, Swisher flied out to left 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 errors NY Yankees 5, Detroit 1 A Ramon Santiago home run and a Prince Fiedler RBI single cut the Yankees lead to 5-3 in the bottom of the third inning. Top 4th: Jones grounded out to shortstop, Nix doubled to shallow right, Nix stole third Stewart singled to shallow center, Nix scored Luis Marte relieved C. Crosby 1 runs, 2 hits, 0 errors NY Yankees 6, Detroit 3 Final score: NY Yankees 9, Tigers 4 W: Sabathia (7-2) L: Crosby (0-1) SV: Rafael Soriano (7) IP H R ER BB K HR WHIP ERA Crosby 3.1 4 6 6 4 3 1 2.40 16.20 76 pitches, 40 strikes

No repeat trip for Kaneland baseball

Photo: Ray Barry dives safely back to first base in the first inning of Kaneland’s home playoff game against DeKalb on May 23. Photo by John DiDonna

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—Sometimes too much of a good thing turns out to harm you in the end.

Kaneland baseball had to get past DeKalb in the Class 3A Kaneland Regional semifinal on May 25 in order to embark on its repeat road to Joliet, Ill., and another State plaque.

But three instances of bases-loaded situations for the Knights yielded only one run total, and the DeKalb Barbs made the most of its late-inning at-bats.

The end result was a 9-3 loss that ended the KHS campaign at 24-11.

The Knights finished last year as Class 3A champions at 26-10 after winning its final 13 contests of the year.

DeKalb went on to lose on Saturday during the regional final to Marmion Academy, 4-1, and finished 18-16-1.

This marked the second time in three seasons the Knights have exited in the regional semi, having lost to Hampshire at home in 2010.

“Things came back to haunt us,” KHS coach Brian Aversa said. “We had situations early in the game. If we took advantage of the bases-loaded situation, it would have been a completely different game.”

For Kaneland, John Hopkins earned the loss, going 4.2 innings while giving up five runs on four hits.

Ray Barry went 1-for-3 with two runs, a double and RBI, while Tom Fox went 2-for-4 with a double and two RBI.

DeKalb took a 2-0 lead in the top of the first, but Kaneland got one back.

Barry singled and stole second and third. After Jake Razo walked and stole second, Tom Fox drove Barry home with an RBI to make it 2-1. Trever Heinle walked, but Quinn Buschbacher grounded into a 5-1-3 double play to end the threat.

Kaneland had another bases loaded opportunity in the second, but Tyler Heinle lined into a double play.

Kaneland would tie the game in the third, beginning with a Razo walk. After he moved to second on a balk, Fox drove him in with an RBI double. With one out, Buschbacher walked, but Hopkins grounded out to the pitcher and Jordan Jones struck out.

The Knights took their last lead of the year when Barry hit a one-out double, and Tyler Heinle drove him in with a single. After Razo sacrificed him over, Fox popped out to short.

DeKalb went on the offensive with three runs in the top of the fifth to take a 5-3 advantage. In the bottom of the fifth, Kaneland saw what would be its last, best opportunity.

Buschbacher drew a one-out walk, and new pitcher Drew Peters singled. With two outs, Joe Pollastrini singled for a bases loaded situation, but Barry flied out to right.

In the top of the sixth, DeKalb poured it on with four more runs to cinch the win.

“DeKalb’s a good club, they came out and proved it today. We’re good, too. We just didn’t play up to our caliber,” Aversa said.

The Knights say goodbye to Buschbacher, Trevor Storck, Fox, Tyler Heinle, Peters, Jones, Mike Tattoni, Trever Heinle, Barry, Bryan VanBogaert and Razo due to graduation.

Baseball wins third straight conference title

Photo: Shortstop Trever Heinle saves the ball from the outfield on a high throw while a Yorkville player steals second during a recent Kaneland-Yorkville game. Photo by John DiDonna

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—This is getting to be old hat for the Kaneland Knights baseball team.

But that hat is representing a crown right now, based on Northern Illinois Big XII East Division supremacy.

With a Thursday win in Morris, the Knights officially secured an outright title, making it the third year in a row for a conference title.

Kaneland won the first ever NIB-12 title last year enroute to a State championship, and also captured the last Western Sun Conference title in 2010.

With the win over Morris, coupled with a May 9 win over the host Redskins, a 2-0 loss to LaSalle-Peru on Saturday and a 9-3 win at Sterling on Monday, the Knights are 21-9 with a 13-2 NIB-12 mark.

Against Sterling, the Knights scored in every inning but the fourth and seventh in the win over the Golden Warriors.

Taking advantage of four errors, the Knights were paced in the batters box by Jake Razo, who went 2-for-4 with a double and triple, along with Quinn Buschbacher’s 2-for-3 day with a home run.

Matt Limbrunner earned the win, going six innings and fanning three.

Kaneland and the Cavaliers were deadlocked for eight innings before L-P scored two in the ninth for the win.

Brian VanBogaert took the loss in relief to go 5-3, while Tom Fox went 2-for-4, securing two of the team’s hits.

In the conference clincher over the host Redskins in Grundy County, Kaneland clawed back from a 2-0 deficit to score one in the fifth and two in the sixth, thanks to Ray Barry’s bat.

Buschbacher also went 1-for-2 with a run scored.

Brian VanBogaert took the win in relief and improved to 5-2.

In the May 9 win in Morris, Kaneland’s two-run fifth broke a 2-2 tie, and Trevor Storck’s complete-game effort improved his mark to 5-0. Storck struck out seven and scattered just six hits.

Razo went 3-for-4 at the plate with two runs scored.

With a conference title in the books, KHS coach Brian Aversa looks for the pitching staff to keep plugging along, no matter what role.

“The roles of the pitching staff are still pretty fluid. Right now Hopkins and Storck are the two guys we are starting. VanBogaert and Limbrunner can start or relieve along with (Jordan) Jones. Things are shaping up kind of like last year as John being a pretty dominant pitcher and Storck as well with keeping runs off the board,” Aversa said.

Kaneland was scheduled to face Cary-Grove in a road game on Thursday, May 17.

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KHS baseball heads to
Fifth Third Bank Ballpark in Geneva
to play Batavia in a special Pack the Park
Senior Night on Friday, May 18.
Sophomores play at 4:30 p.m., varsity will follow.
Admission: $5 for adults, $4 for high school,
middle school students, $3 for elementary students,
free for children 3 and under.
Proceeds benefit Kaneland teacher Bridget Sweeney and her family. Sweeney is battling cancer.

Knight baseball riding 1st-place wave

Photo: Quinn Buschbacher beats the ball to first in the sixth inning of Kaneland’s 1-0 home win over Morris on Tuesday. Photo by Patti Wilk

Aversa’s troops in NIB-12 drivers seat

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—Kaneland has had Sycamore’s number on the baseball field as of late, including last year’s regional title win.

On Thursday and Friday, Kaneland’s number of 10 was good enough for a win in both contests.

Meanwhile on Monday, the Knights even won without the benefit of a hit against Morris at KHS.

Against Morris, the Knights were the beneficiary of nine walks, and the lone run in the first inning scored on a balk, allowing Ray Barry to score.

John Hopkins earned the win with a complete-game shutout, in which he fanned seven.

It took just six innings for KHS to vanquish the Spartans in Maple Park by a final of 10-0 on Friday, and the Knights needed a run-filled top of the seventh inning to put away host Sycamore on May 3.

The Knights sit at 18-8 with an exemplary 11-2 mark in Northern Illinois Big XII play, good for first place. They have a one-game edge over the Yorkville Foxes with two conference games remaining

Matt Limbrunner earned the win in the Thursday rout and improved to 2-0 with a five-hit shutout. The tall right-hander struck out six in the victory.

Tom Fox went 3-for-4 with a run scored, while Quinn Buschbacher had an RBI triple and two runs scored.

On May 3, Bryan VanBogaert earned the win in a relief effort, going 2.1 innings and allowing just one run and one hit.

Limbrunner retired the final batter to earn a save.

Up 3-1 after three innings, Kaneland surrendered two runs to Sycamore in the fourth and a run in the fifth to trail 4-3. Kaneland proceeded to score seven runs in the top of the seventh for a 10-4 lead. Sycamore’s four-run seventh failed to complete the comeback for the final 10-8 margin.

Jake Razo went 2-for-4 with two runs scored and an RBI, while Fox went 2-for-3 with a double and two RBI.

“We are looking for consistency now,” KHS coach Brian Aversa said. “The bats are there, they just have to show up everyday.

The Knights look to continue the win streak in more NIB-12 conference action in Morris, on Thursday, May 10.

No decay in Decatur area for Knights baseball

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—Spring break stories for Kaneland baseball will feature impressive displays against teams from Decatur, Ill.

Going to the former stomping grounds of KHS coach Brian Aversa—Millikin University, the Knights beat Decatur’s Eisenhower High School on March 28, plus handed Decatur’s MacArthur High School a loss on Thursday.

Kaneland also took it to host Harlem in Machesney Park, Ill., by a final of 3-1 on Monday to raise its overall mark to 6-4 in 2012.

In the 15-2, five-inning win over Eisenhower, Drew Peters earned his first win of the year (1-1), and the Knights put up five runs in the first and five in the fifth to bookend the barrage.

Jake Razo went 2-for-2 with two runs and two RBI, while Zach Martinelli smacked a two-run triple.

Against Decatur’s MacArthur team, the Knights put up seven runs in the top of the first inning, needing all of those runs as the hosts crawled back enough to make it a closer 11-7 win for Kaneland.

Bryan VanBogeart, with three innings of relief, took the win with five strikeouts to its credit.
Peters went 1-for-2 at the plate for the victorious Knights.

It was not as kind a day for Peters on the mound on Friday against host Washington High School. The lefty went 4.2 innings and gave up four runs, but just two earned, in an 8-3 setback. The hurler did fan nine batters.

John Hopkins went 1-for-4 with two RBI.

Despite taking a 1-0 lead in the top of the fourth inning, Washington came back with a four-spot in the fifth and sixth innings to cinch things.

Against the Harlem Huskies, Kaneland’s offensive attack involved a run in the second and two runs in the fourth to break a tie.

VanBogaert’s outing of just three hits allowed was enough to get the win on the mound, and Matt Limbrunner’s two-inning outing earned him the save.

Quinn Buschbacher went 2-for-2 with a double and two stolen bases.

KHS next battles Rockton’s Hononegah High School locally on Thursday, April 5.

Kaneland then heads to Dixon High School to face the Dukes in NIB-12 crossover action on Saturday, April 7, to the site of the 2011 sectional championship grab—Rochelle, on Monday, April 9, and back home to host the purple-clad Hubs on Tuesday, April 10.

In other levels of Kaneland Knights diamond action, the Knight sophomores fell to West Aurora on Monday by a final of 8-6.

Tom Van Bogaert went 1-for-1 with a walk. Tyler Carlson went 3-for-4 with a double and two RBI, and Nate Hopkins had a 2-for-3 day at the plate with a walk and a run scored. The sophomore Knights still search for their first win after three opening losses.

Two out of three ain’t bad

Wins over BC, Marmion make diamond less rough
by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—An season-opening loss wasn’t ideal, but soon after, Kaneland baseball acted and played like the champions they were against hosts Burlington Central and Marmion.

March 21 saw Plainfield North best the visitors by a final of 3-1, but the Knights put up huge numbers against the Rockets in a 12-6 win on Thursday. Saturday saw the Knights win over the host Cadets in Aurora by a final of 7-2.

Trevor Storck earned the win (1-0) against Marmion, going six innings and scattering just two runs on three hits.

Ray Barry went 2-for-4 with two doubles, while Quinn Buschbacher went 2-for-3 with two runs and an RBI.

KHS plated three runs in the fourth and four more in the fifth for the win.

Against the Rockets, John Hopkins earned his first win over the year with four K’s and four runs allowed. Matt Limbrunner pitched the final three innings in relief for the save.

Buschbacher had a double and HR with four RBI, while Tom Fox also went yard and had a double with three RBI.

Down 4-0, Buschbacher jacked a three-run bomb to leftfield to close within 4-3.

“It was a fastball down the middle,” Buschbacher said. “I needed to help my team and we needed the runs.”

Coach Brian Aversa was happy at the offensive output from needed cogs like Buschbacher.

“Quinn’s a big part of our lineup, and he hit the ball when we needed it,” Aversa said. “We’re going to rely on him this year.”

The top of the fourth had Kaneland on top to stay with four runs. Jake Razo’s RBI single was the go-ahead hit, while Buschbacher and Trever Heinle had an additional RBI. KHS scored one more in the fifth and four more in the sixth to accentuate the lead.

Against Plainfield North. Drew Peters suffered the loss on the hill, but KHS saw an RBI from Heinle. Plainfield North’s three-run output in the first would be all they needed.

Kaneland’s spring break was set to bring it to Millikin University in Decatur, Ill., to play Decatur Eisenhower on Thursday, May 29.

State department

Photo: Jake Razo (center) was not afraid to dirty his uniform on the quest for a state title. File Photo

Defending 3A Champs look for precious medals once again
by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—2011 was a summer to remember in the annals of the relatively short history of Kaneland High School baseball.

A 13-game winning streak to end the season included the first ever regional, sectional and super-sectional championships for the 26-10 Knights, and ended with dominant showings against Waterloo and Oak Forest in the Class 3A State finals in Joliet, Ill. resulting in State hardware.

For the first time ever, coach Brian Aversa and company go into a season calling themselves defending champs.

“We have to get back to doing the work that we did last year,” the sixth-year coach said. “Coming into this season, I think the guys understood that. We’re where last year isn’t an expectation, but it’s what could happen with hard work.”

Aversa, who has compiled a record of 109-61 as Knights skipper, knows he’s got roles to fill on the diamond after last year’s captain core finished out their senior campaigns a year ago.

“We were state champs last year, but we’re not this year. We can get there, but we have to take care of A, B, C, D and E,” Aversa said.

Kaneland hopes to continue the streak of a Northern Illinois Big XII rep making it to the State finals, as LaSalle-Peru made it in 2009, and DeKalb did the same in 2010.

“Our schedule prepares us very well; we have Plainfield North, Burlington Central and Marmion. I don’t know if you can get much tougher than that,” Aversa said.

Jake Razo, Tyler Heinle and left-hander Drew Peters shore up the Knights lineup and played important roles in the State run. Razo in the outfield, Heinle at the backstop and Drew Peters on the mound take the reigns as leaders.

“They’re leaders and will lead by example. That will filter down to the younger players and even the seniors,” Aversa said.

The pitching rotation comes with the State-championship winning hurler Peters, junior John Hopkins, righty seniors Trevor Storck and Bryan Van Bogaert. With the bullpen being a work in progress, the hope is someone emerging like last year’s late season closer Kyle Davidson.

The outfield loses some key personnel to graduation, but Aversa is eager to see what the new crew can do.

“We have great speed out there, we have guys like Razo, Ray Barry, Quinn Buschbacher, Kyle Pollastrini, Mike Tattoni. They are all speed guys,” Aversa.

With guys like Bobby Thorson, who made a case for “Mr. June”, and Sam Komel no longer patrolling the infield, Kaneland hopes it’s set for 2012.

Senior Tom Fox earns a regular starting gig at third base.

“Tom will be a big surprise, and he has a great baseball mind and played in the shadow of Bobby and Drew French and getting more confidence in his abilities,” Aversa said.

Trever Heinle takes over at shortstop, and junior Joe Pollastrini mans second. Jordan Jones and Peters will split time at first base.

Kaneland knows the NIB-12 setup makes the lineup battle-tested and could lead to potentially bigger things, hopefully on par with last year.

“DeKalb will be up there, and we can’t look past schools like Yorkville and Rochelle; they finished last but run a regional. We’re going to take it one series at a time,” Aversa said.

The Knights’ journey was set to begin on Wednesday at Plainfield North, and they head to Burlington Central on Thursday, March 22.

Knights emerge with 51-45 victory in round one

Photo: Ryan Fuchs (10) makes a key 28-yard catch in the fourth quarter of Friday’s 51-45 slugfest in round one of the Class 5A playoffs. The senior’s grab was his only catch of the game, but continued a drive that ended on a Zack Martinelli touchdown catch. Photo by John DiDonna

KHS has date with St. Francis Spartans in second round
by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—On the surface, it wouldn’t seem like a Class 5A No. 16 seed like the Belvidere Bucs would make any kind of a splash in the first-round matchup with the Knights football roster on Friday.

It turned out that it wasn’t until very late in the fourth quarter that Kaneland was able to throw the NIC-10 school out of the playoff pool.

Belvidere (5-5) outgained Kaneland in total yards by a 557-478 count, and had a chance to take the lead late in the fourth, until Knight Kory Harner leapt up and beat his Buc counterpart to the pass, securing a 51-45 win.

“I think that was Kory’s first interception,” KHS coach Tom Fedderly said. “He picked a great time to do it. We just tell the kids to keep playing. They got some things on us, and our kids just kept playing and we made a play at the end.”

Kaneland (10-0) hosts the No. 8 seed St. Francis of Wheaton, who eliminated Burlington Central on Saturday by a final of 27-10.

For Kaneland, this brings coach Fedderly’s postseason mark to 4-3 since taking over the reigns in 2007.

A year ago, Kaneland began its playoff quest with a running clock, 42-0 win over Chicago’s King High School.

The leading rusher for the contest was Buc talent Marcus Gooden, who rushed for 174 yards and two touchdowns on 13 carries. Belvidere had four rushing scores on the night.

However, Kaneland went to a balanced rushing attack that shared the wealth and yielded good things when needed most.

Quinn Buschbacher had 80 yards and two rushing scores, followed by Jesse Balluff with 78 yards and three touchdowns, and quarterback Drew David had 69 yards on 10 tries.

“I think our pass and our running game really complement each other,” David said. “We can’t always rely on the pass to win us games, and we can’t always rely on the run to win us games. Today, we decided we were going to pound it.”

Belvidere QB Troy Vandenbroek was 15-for-25 for 278 yards, with two touchdowns and one pick. David was 13-for-21 for 251 yards, one touchdown and one interception.

Sean Carter of KHS had 134 yards receiving on four catches.

KHS scored first on a 43-yard TD run by Buschbacher just 1 minute, 54 seconds into the game, and scored again on a David one-yard sneak with 3:53 left in the frame, with the extra-point attempt botched making it 13-0.

The Bucs stormed back on the first play of the next drive thanks to an 80-yard scamper by Gooden. Gooden gave Belvidere the lead on a three-yard TD run with :17 to go for a 14-13 lead.

Down 17-13, Kaneland went to the rush again and had Balluff score on two one-yard carries within 3:15 of each other, taking a 27-17 lead in the second. Vandenbroek closed the first-half scoring with a nine-yard run with :24 left to close within 27-24.

In the third quarter, David found Zack Martinelli for a 14-yard strike with 9:32 to go for a 34-24 lead. With 1:12 to go in the frame, Buschbacher scored from four yards out to go up 41-24.

Kaneland players and fans alike had to withstand a feisty fourth quarter as Belvidere didn’t go away.

Reed Greiter caught a 17-yard TD pass with 10:01 to go to close within 41-31. After getting the ball back on a pick, Vandenbroek ran for a 40-yard score on the next play to make it 41-38 with 9:46 to go.

Buschbacher then took the ensuing kickoff 94 yards down to the one, where Balluff plunged in for a 48-38 lead with 9:26 to go.

Kyle Harris caught a 38-yard TD pass to close within 48-45 with 8:15 to go. Jake Razo recovered the onside kick attempt, and Matt Rodriguez kicked a 40-yard field goal to set things at 51-45 with 5:19 to go.

Belvidere drove into KHS territory, and on a 2nd-and-20 from the Knight 33, Harner came up with the crucial pick, leading to Kaneland running out the clock.

Kory Harner (43) was part of a defense that had given up 73 points in its last six quarters of football. Notwithstanding, the Knights defense still needed to make a big play, and Harner came through. Harner’s first interception of the year stopped a Belvidere drive on Friday that had advanced to the Kaneland 33-yard line. The Knights ran out the clock, and now prepare for St. Francis this Saturday, Nov. 5, in Maple Park.

The next challenge for the Knights, on Saturday, Nov. 5, takes place at 7 p.m.

The winner of the Knight-Spartan contest faces either Sycamore or Rochelle the following week.

The road ahead
The 4 remaining Northern Illinois Big XII teams went 2-2 in the first round of the Class 5A playoffs.

Kaneland 51 vs. Belvidere 45

Morris 35 vs. Morton 24

Sycamore 36 vs. King 29

Rochelle 43 vs. Urban Prep 41

Conference chase complete

Photo: Dylan Nauert chases Morris QB Austin Feeney during Kaneland’s 31-28 victory. Kaneland’s 9-0 mark brings forth a conference title and a date with visiting Belvidere on Friday, Oct. 28. Photo by John DiDonna

Early lead holds up for NIB-12 East champs in 31-28 win in Morris
by Mike Slodki
MORRIS—All that stood between a second consecutive Northern Illinois Big XII East division championship for undefeated Kaneland was fellow undefeated juggernaut Morris.

On Friday in Grundy County, only one undefeated football outfit stood tall: the Knights.

Storming out to a 24-0 halftime lead in a first half that saw the Redskins gather just 30 yards, the Knights clung to the lead after Morris scored three touchdowns in the fourth quarter.

But an emphasis on the run and two key interceptions had the Knights emerge the 31-28 victor.

The Knights finished the 2011 regular season campaign with a 9-0 mark and a 5-0 NIB-12 slate, cinching their second straight conference crown and the No. 1 overall team on the IHSA Playoff Points scale in Class 5A.

“It’s huge, and I’m so proud of our kids,” KHS coach Tom Fedderly said. “Coming into the season and losing all the kids that we had, we didn’t know what we had, but we knew we had a lot of talent.”

Morris finished 8-1 with a 4-1 mark in NIB-12 play.

Kaneland continues to roll on the Maple Park grass, finshing their second straight undefeated season.

The Knights have now won 19 regular season games in a row, and 22 of their last 25 contests in regular and post season.

Kaneland found out Saturday that with the No. 1 seed, it’ll host 16th-seeded Belvidere High School on Friday, Oct. 28, at 7 p.m. at Peterson Field.

Morris, meanwhile, hosts Morton High School on the same night in the upper half of the 5A bracket.

In sophomore action, Morris defeated Kaneland by a 12-6 final.

The varsity Knights outgained the host Redkins by a 328-288 margin, while being almost even in passing yardage, 232-219.

KHS quarterback Drew David was 16-for-32 on the day, with four TD throws, while counterpart Austin Feeney was 20-for-30 for 219 yards and three touchdowns, but had four picks.

David also rushed for a game-high 54 yards.

Sean Carter had 161 yards on five catches, and three touchdowns to go along with an interception.

“We knew Morris was a good team,” Carter said. “They are a hard-hitting team, but once we had that first quarter, we just got on a roll.”

Any second-half score against the Redskins would have been nice, but in Sean Carter’s case, it was the difference. His sideline catch-and-run in the fourth quarter gave KHS a 31-14 edge. Carter led the Knights with 161 yards on the evening.

Morris struggled to get things going in a friendly atmosphere, and Kaneland’s second drive yielded a 22-yard field goal by kicker Matt Rodriguez for a 3-0 edge.

One of the most significant halves of football for Kaneland this season continued in the second quarter and led to three touchdowns. David found Zack Martinelli for 13 yards, as well as Carter from 53 and 3 yards out, to take a 24-0 lead by the end of the half.

Morris finally got into the contest and on the board when on the opening drive of the second half, the Redskins drove 77 yards in 16 plays. Anthonee Monson caught a fourth-down, 19-yard TD pass with 4:10 to go to make it 24-7.

Morris amped up the attack and scored on its next drive, thanks to Feeney’s six-yard touchdown with 9:51 remaining to make it 31-21.

Kaneland struck again when Carter caught a 63-yard TD pass to end a four-play drive with 7:39 remaining to make it 31-14.

Morris answered three plays later when Feeney found Jake Ruettiger for a 33-yard touchdown to set matters at 31-21 with 6:37 to go.

Blake Bradford came up with a key interception after Morris recovered an onside kick, but KHS was forced to punt. Morris closed out the scoring with 2:18 to go on a 20-yard TD pass to Danny Friend.

Knight Jake Razo recovered the Redskin onside kick attempt, leading to a drive that saw David lose the ball on the grass, but the officiating crew ruled him down before the fumble.

A couple of additional runs set the result in stone and a jovial Kaneland crew celebrated, for one week anyway.

The playoff landscape is plentiful for the Northern Illinois Big XII this weekend, as Rochelle and Sycamore have action this weekend.

The Hubs, as a 13th seed, travel to Gately Stadium in Chicago to face Urban Prep Charter on Saturday, Oct. 29, at 4 p.m.

12th-seeded Sycamore plays at Lane Stadium in Chicago at the same time against King High School, the Knights’ first-round opponent a year ago.

The winner of the KHS-Belvidere clash is slated to face either (8) St. Francis of Wheaton, or (9) Burlington Central.

Opportunity knocks for Kaneland

Photo: Tanner Andrews (center) brings down the Sycamore runner as Blake Bradford (left) closes in during Kaneland’s 35-21 road win over Sycamore on Friday. Photo by John DiDonna

35-21 win at Sycamore leads to Week Nine showdown at Morris
by Mike Slodki
SYCAMORE—For the second time in three weeks, Kaneland football had to dig deep for a double-digit comeback.

Dig deep it did, and the host rival Sycamore Spartans ended up in a hole.

Using key turnovers and big performances through the ground and air, the Knights improved to 8-0 (4-0 Northern Illinois Big XII) with a 35-21 win over the Spartans (5-3, 2-2 NIB-12).

This marks the second straight win over Sycamore and three wins in their last four meetings.

For the second consecutive year, the Knights have managed an 8-0 start to their gridiron campaign.

Friday’s win marked the 18th straight regular season win for the Knight crew, with the last loss in the regular season coming two years ago in an overtime loss to Geneva.

The second-half comeback sets the stage for a final showdown between the top two listed Class 5A teams on the IHSA Playoff Points scale: undefeated Morris and Kaneland this Friday, Oct. 21, in Grundy County.

Kaneland won the total yards battle, 398-235, and saw Drew David go 15-for-26 through the air for 283 yards along with two touchdowns and one interception.

David also led the way on the ground with 62 yards and a TD.

Senior leader Quinn Buschbacher had 130 yards on five catches, while teammate Zach Martinelli had 79 yards on five catches.

After an early fumble returned by Scott Baker to the five-yard line, Spartan Austin Culton punched it in for a touchdown just two minutes 31 seconds into the contest.

Sycamore then took a 14-0 lead on a 35-yard scoring strike from Ryan Bartels to Jordan Kalik with 5:19 to go in the quarter.

Kaneland finally got going on a 55-yard TD pass to Buschbacher with 3:43 remaining in the first to close within 14-7. The Knights also contributed the lone second quarter score as David found Buschbacher again on a 24-yard TD pass with 2:01 left in the half for a 14-14 deadlock.

Sycamore’s last visit to the end zone came with 7:34 remaining in the third quarter when Ben Niemann caught a 27-yard TD pass on a fourth-and-six for a 21-14 lead.

A fumble by Sycamore was recovered by Knight secondary member Jake Razo. Kaneland capitalized with a three-yard touchdown scamper by Buschbacher with 2:15 to go in the quarter for a 21-21 tie.

Play of the Knight—Sycamore
Jake Razo (8) seems to always give KHS a fighting chance. This time, he recovered the first of two costly SHS fumbles, leading to the game-tying touchdown in the third frame.

In the fourth quarter, momentum shifted Kaneland’s way for good.

After a Jesse Balluff 3-yard touchdown run with 11:05 left in the fourth gave Kaneland a 28-21, its first, Dylan Nauert recovered the Spartan kickoff return’s fumble, leading to a four-yard TD run by David just 51 seconds later.

Comeback city

Photo: Knight Zack Martinelli (11) was integral on offense and special teams in the astounding 49-38 comeback win over DeKalb on Friday. Photo by John DiDonna

Knights overcome 17-point second-half deficit in Barb-land
by Mike Slodki
DEKALB, Ill.—DeKalb Barbs football, as exhibited by the first playoff run since 1989 a season ago, is much improved.

As exhibited by a prolific first half and a 31-14 lead in the third quarter, the program can be downright daunting for opposing teams.

It would take a special comeback to sting the Barbs, and on Friday the 6-0 (2-0 NIB-12) Knights had it in them.

Five touchdowns, culminating in a 23-yard Jesse Balluff touchdown run with seven minutes, 15 seconds to go in the game, gave the Knights the lead for good in a 49-38 win in the brand new facilities of DeKalb High School.

DeKalb fell to 3-3 (0-2 NIB-12) with the loss.

A 24-point second quarter for the Barbs was capped by two-way player Brian Sisler’s 52-yard interception return with 14 seconds to go in the half for a 24-14 lead.

	It seemed like everyone had a big play in them on Friday. 	Even when a second-half play looked to be going sour, it ended up sweet.  	Quinn Buschbacher (22) extended a play on a pass for 32 yards, but fumbled. However, Kyle Pollastrini helped his fellow wideout with a recovery. 	Jesse Balluff found the end zone to give KHS the lead for good on the next play.

In the third quarter, Sisler snuck the ball in from the three to maintain a 31-14 lead with 9:30 remaining in the third quarter.

“We started to get glassy eyes, but we knew the seniors had to step up with the big play,” KHS secondary member Jake Razo said. “We have a young team, and Brian Sisler is great for DeKalb. We knew we could come back.”

Drew David (17-of-24, 295 yards, 3 TD) found Zack Martinelli with 6:32 remaining in the third on a 23-yard scoring pass to make it 31-21, and the next drive had Quinn Buschbacher scoring on a 26-yard TD pass with 3:25 to go to close within 31-28.

The fourth quarter started dubiously for Kaneland as DeKalb running back Dylan Hottsmith floated a halfback option touchdown pass to Mike Olson with 11:07 remaining in the game for a 38-28 lead.

Kaneland came back with a six-play drive, and David found Sean Carter on a 13-yard touchdown pass to make it 38-35.

Forcing a punt brought KHS back in business, and Buschbacher caught a pass for a 32-yard gain, only to fumble. Kyle Pollastrini was there for the fortunate recovery. Balluff then found paydirt with 7:15 to go.

After another forced punt, Kaneland put the exclamation point on the night, as Balluff scampered for a 27-yard TD run with 5:04 to play.

“Something we told the guys in the locker room at halftime was forget about the mistakes,” KHS coach Tom Fedderly said. “We can come back, and this says a lot about guys like Drew and Jesse, who kept it together.”

The sophomores trounced DeKalb, 41-0.

The next challenge for the Knights is Friday, Oct. 7, against 4-2 Yorkville. Peterson Field will also be the site for a Pink Out, with players brandishing pink colors to create awareness of the fight against breast cancer.

Knights start long weekend with win over Huntley

Photo: vof Kaneland brings down the ball carrier in the third quarter of Kaneland’s varsity home win against Huntley on Friday. Photo by John DiDonna

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—It seemed like every time Huntley came up with a big play in Maple Park on a humid Friday night, KHS was there to answer.

After working their offense and making enough plays on the other side of the ball, the Knights’ abundant answers sentenced the visiting Red Raiders to a 34-13 loss.

KHS has now taken the last two of three overall non-conference meetings from Huntley since the series began in 2009.

With the win, Kaneland improves to 2-0, while Huntley falls to 0-2.

In other levels of action, Kaneland’s sophomore squad fell to Huntley 27-6, while the freshmen came away with a 14-13 win.

Drew David took care of the Kaneland offense in his second week as signal-caller, and went 11-for-19 with 224 yards and four touchdown throws as opposed to only one pick.

“The game is just so much faster on varsity level,” David said. “Just getting the game reps, I think it helps, and the wide receivers do a fantastic job.”

Jesse Balluff had 88 yards rushing, 48 of them on one impressive first-quarter touchdown where he powered through would-be tacklers after the play looked stopped.

“When you have younger guys playing, you wonder how things are going to go,” KHS coach Tom Fedderly said. “We keep preaching it’s a four-quarter game. We got down and our kids came back.”

Knight asset Quinn Buschbacher was the leading reciever with 100 yards on five grabs, while Sean Carter had 72 yards and two scores.

Huntley actually outgained Kaneland in total offense with 330 yards compared to 312.

On the visitors’ second drive, Ethan Connor took the pigskin and ran for a 32-yard touchdown for a 7-0 lead with three minutes, 51 seconds remaining in the first quarter.

On the second play of Kaneland’s ensuing drive, Balluff sent his sideline into a frenzy with his 48-yard gallop. Only one minute had elasped and KHS had tied the game.

After Jake Razo recovered a James Davis fumble on Huntley’s next possession, David’s 31-yard rainbow pass to Sean Carter netted a 14-7 lead with 11 ticks left in the first.

Play of the Knight week 2

The score remained the same at halftime, but KHS put it out of reach in the third quarter thanks to two more Knight touchdown passes. The third two-play drive that resulted in a score ended with a Carter fly pattern for a 40-yard TD. The 40-yard score made it 21-7 with 9:17 remaining in the third.

A fumble by Huntley allowed KHS to put up another touchdown, this a 13-yard TD pass to Buschbacher with 6:58 remaining in the third for a 28-7 lead.

The lone fourth frame score saw Kyle Pollastrini catch his first touchdown pass of the year just seven seconds into the quarter on a 10-yard play.

Huntley’s QB Jake Brock scored on a 17-yard scamper to cap the scoring.

Up next for the Knights is the beginning of the Northern Illinois Big XII crossover games with the West division.

The Knights head west to Dixon High School. Dixon comes into the game 1-1 after dropping a 35-12 result to Rock Island Alleman on Friday.

The Dukes were 1-8 in 2010.

KNIGHT SHIFT

Score by Quarters:
1st Quarter: 35-7, Kaneland
2nd Quarter: 20-0, Kaneland
3rd Quarter: 14-0, Kaneland
4th Quarter: 9-6, Kaneland

Conference Standings >>

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.

Thorson nabs All-State nod, NIB-12 East Division MVP

Senior Bobby Thorson performed well on the mound and at third base, serving as a key component to the Class 3A State Champion Kaneland Knights. Thorson received state and conference honors for his play. File Photo

KANELAND—Accolades didn’t stop for Kaneland baseball last week, as the Northern Illinois Big XII All-Conference squad was released.

For the State Champion Knights baseball program, Bobby Thorson, in addition to being named conference MVP, was given an All-State honor, also being named team Offensive MVP by Kaneland.

After Kaneland was crowned Class 3A State champions in Joliet, Ill., Thorson was named as East Division Most Valuable Player, notable for his pitching. Thorson, along with DeKalb’s Brian SIsler (infielder), Sycamore’s Eric Ray (infielder), Morris’ Greg Struck (DH), Morris’ Josh DeGraaf (P), DeKalb’s Jake Gordan (outfilelder), Morris’ Kjeld Torkelson (outfielder), DeKalb’s Trenton Sopko (catcher) and Rochelle’s Micha McCulloch (catcher), were unanimous selections.

Other Knights selected to the conference elite were Kyle Davidson for infield, Joe Camiliere for outfield, Sam Komel for At-large, while Drew French, Corey Landers and Jake Razo made honorable mention.

Other selections were infielder Jacob Mathre of Yorkville, Morris’ Ryan Bernickus of Sycamore at utility, DeKalb pitcher Cody Varga and Sycamore hurler Jake Turner.

Yorkville’s Luke Lucchetti made the elite group as an outfielder, while teammate Josh Cooper was named an At-large member.

Bobby Baseball
• All-State Team
• Team Offensive MVP
• NIB-12 East Division MVP
• Winning pitcher in State
semifinal win over Waterloo

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:

Kaneland Krier wins Golden Eagle

Photo: The Krier staff shows off its awards outside the College of DuPage, where the NISPA conference was held. Front row: Editors Elaine Cannell, Julia Angelotti, Jessica Corbett, Kylie Siebert, Amanda Schiff, and Rachael Clinton. Second row: Krier adviser Cheryl Borrowdale, reporters Emily Gulanczyk, Emily Ferrell, Alex Vickery, Sara Laurie, Kaprice Sanchez, Taylor Phillips, Casey Jacobson, Heather Shelton, Kaley Martens, and Kelsy Goodwin. Back row: Reporters Lexi Roach, Lanie Callaghan, Jake Razo, Tyler Keenum, Matt Wahlgren, Shane Fergus, Brittany Larsen, Kate Anderson, Ryan Noel, Morgan Buerke, Nick Phillips, and Nick Stollard. Courtesy Photo

by Kaneland Krier staff
Kaneland—The Kaneland Krier took home the Golden Eagle, a trophy for best student newspaper in its class, for the second year in a row at the Northern Illinois Scholastic Press Association conference.

The NISPA conference represents high school journalism programs located north of I-80 in Illinois, including all Chicago-area schools, and is the most competitive region in the state.

“We’re very proud to have won the Golden Eagle again this year,” said Cheryl Borrowdale, journalism teacher at Kaneland High School. “We had some stiff competition, and the judges looked at seven consecutive issues from this year, which was virtually everything the staff had written thus far this year when we entered in February. To win two years in a row is an indication that the Krier staff is doing consistently excellent work.”

The staff scored 370 out of 400 possible points, the highest of any newspaper in its division, and received a perfect score in the advertising category.

The judges praised the publication for having “lots of good reporting and research in your cover stories, where the quotes went beyond just a one-sentence response to a question, which is great reporting,” for its use of documentary photography, and for the appearance of the paper. “You obviously spend a lot of time and put a lot of effort into making every page look good,” one judge wrote. “Really great use of graphics and alternative story forms. The design of your publication has personality.”

Krier staff members also took home individual awards in several categories.

Individual winners were sophomore Maggie Brundige in news writing; freshman Morgan Buerke in news writing; senior Maria Kernychny in editorial writing; sophomore Heather Shelton in editorial cartooning; senior Jessica Corbett in column writing; sophomore Julia Angelotti in feature writing; junior Kylie Siebert in feature photography; freshman Casey Jacobson in individual in-depth; senior Jessica Corbett and freshmen Kelsy Goodwin, Kaley Martens, Morgan Buerke and Sara Laurie in team in-depth; freshman Alexis Roach in sports writing; senior Amanda Schiff in graphics; and senior Megan Nauert in advertising.

“The Krier did well in many different categories, from the writing ones to the photography, graphics, and cartooning ones. It shows that the Krier is a well-rounded publication and that the students on staff have a wide variety of talents,” Borrowdale said.

When the Golden Eagle was announced, the Krier staff let out a huge cheer at NISPA, which was held at the College of DuPage in Glen Ellyn, Ill.

“We’re number one,” junior Ryan Noel, a reporter, shouted as he high-fived those around him.

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.

Knights baseball hit field fully depth-charged

Photo: Knights baseball has the luxury of Kyle Davidson for work in the infield. File Photo

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—Some talented players at key positions and the last-ever Western Sun Conference regular season title made for some good memories for Kaneland baseball in 2010.

It was the regional opening loss to Hampshire that ended the season at 23-13 that left a bad taste in fifth-year coach Brian Aversa’s mouth .

“We’re definitely using that last game from last year as some incentive,” Aversa said. “We want to get moving into this season and use that as a driving force. On days when the weather isn’t cooperating and the field’s wet, the guys are really focused on what’s at stake this year.”

KHS baseball will have to be focused on competition in the Northern Illinois Big XII, after five seasons in the defunct Western Sun Conference.

“With football and basketball, it’s kind of our turn to get to that point where we are one of the top teams in this new conference,” Aversa said. “Sycamore is going to be strong, DeKalb was right there at the end, anything can happen.”

Kaneland looks to do itself favors at the plate, and although former Knight Jake Tickle’s 19-game hit streak won’t be available, Aversa likes his options.

“Drew French looks like he’s going to take Jake’s spot this year, and you have other solid people like Bobby Thorson and Joe Camaliere who can also get big hits,” Aversa said.

The Knights look for big things from their rotation, capable of eating up many an inning.

Thorson, a senior, will see time on the hill, as will junior Drew Peters and the senior French. Senior Sam Komel also provides an arm, as does junior Bryan Van Bogaert (pitcher of a perfect game in summer league action). Look for the Knights to lean on junior Tom Fox and senior Kyle Davidson in a pinch on the mound, as well.

Elsewhere around the Maple Park diamond, juniors Jordan Jones and Tyler Heinle are looking for an angle to the catcher’s spot.

Komel and Thorson stake the claim at first, while senior Brian Dixon mans second base. Davidson looks to patrol shortstop, with Trever Heinle also seeing innings at that spot, with French, Fox or Komel at third.

Senior Corey Landers takes care of leftfield, and Camaliere patrols center. Personnel like Jake Razo and John Kintz look to see innings at the rightfield corner.

Kaneland’s first conference action takes place against Dixon on Saturday, April 9. The regular season concludes on Monday, May 23, at St. Charles East.

WSC, team honors dished at Winter Sports Awards

Last week saw Kaneland High School dole out its winter athletic awards with four sports being recognized on various levels.

In varsity girls basketball, Mallory Huml was given defensive player of the year, and Mallory Carlson was named most improved player. Katie Hatch and Sarah Rose were named co-MVP’s. Cece Anderson won the Kaneland Knight Award, and Rose was also recognized as a member of the all-Western Sun Conference team. Rose, Anderson, Hatch, Huml, Brianna Hurst, Chassidy Mangers and Alyssa Galvan were also recognized as captains.

In sophomore basketball, Jessica Stouffer and Liz Hylland took the Kaneland Knight awards, while Sydney Bilotta won defensive player. Andrea Dimmig-Potts and Katie Taylor were named co-offensive player of the year. Keara Palpant was given MVP honors.

For the freshman level, Anna Olson took the hustle award, and Katie Tolan won most improved. Christina Janes was named Queen of the Boards, while McKinzie Mangers was given the Dedication award. Kylie Siebert won the Lady Knight award.

For boys basketball, Dave Dudzinski was honored for making the All-WSC team, and was also named as the team’s offensive player of the year.

The Most Improved Player award went to the tandem of Christian Dillon and Sean Paulick. Dudzinski took the team MVP honors, and Curtis Lubic earned the defensive player of the year nod.

Brody Root, Dillon, Mike Prtichard, Lubic, Chris Ott and Joe Spitzzeri were also recognized as captains.

On the freshman level, Eric Eichelberger and Brandon Stahl earned most improved honors, while Jake Razo took home outstanding defensive player, and Jordan Jones was outatanding offensive player.

For the Lady Knights bowling team, Jessica Stebbins was given kudos for high game, high series, and high average.

Danielle Rose earned the most improved award. Emily Curran took home the coaches award and Stebbins, Curran, Kathleen Moravcik and Cassie Wilson were recognized as captains.

For wrestling, Jay Levita was named most valuable wrestler, as well as getting the Bob Domena Memorial Award for hardest worker, and was also given accolades for making the All-WSC team and State.

Jimmy Boyle took the most improved award, while Devon Scholl won the Dave Osman Award for most dedicated. Boyle was given the Russel Anderson Memorial Award, and Matt Weaver took the Heart and Soul Award.

Levita, Weaver and Scholl were also recognized as captains.