Tag Archives: Joe Camaliere

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.

Kaneland rolls over Rochelle, improves to 5-0

by Mike Slodki
ROCHELLE—For a myriad of reasons, Kaneland has had Rochelle’s number lately on the gridiron.

On Friday in the land of the Hubs, that number was 35-8.

Taking advantage of four Rochelle turnovers and spreading the wealth in their running and passing games, the Kaneland Knights matched their 2006 start of 5-0 with a 35-8 win at Rochelle.

“Something we preach all the time, we want to get the ball, and if the other team turns it over, we want to make them pay,” KHS coach Tom Fedderly said.

Kaneland is now 4-3 over the Hubs in their last seven meetings, and have won four of the last five.

The Knights earned their first-ever Northern Illinois Big XII East win. Rochelle is now 3-2 (0-1 NIB-12).

Successfully thwarting the Hubs’ Wing-T offense, Kaneland outgained Rochelle 304-280.

Knights quarterback Joe Camiliere had a 17-of-28 day for 229 yards and two touchdowns. The senior also rushed for 83 yards on 13 carries. Central Michigan-bound Blake Serpa had 51 yards on nine carries and two touchdowns. No. 2 for the Knights likes the way things are headed.

“We just practiced all week in just coming out and hitting hard,” Serpa said. “We knew, up or down, they were going to come out and hit you as hard as they can.”

For Rochelle, Josh Bernardin had 109 yards on 17 carries and a touchdown, while Will Metzger added 73 yards on 12 carries.

Kaneland used nice days from Quinn Buschbacher (four catches, 59 yards) and Taylor Andrews (four catches, 36 yards).

Kaneland used its first drive during Rochelle’s homecoming to go 53 yards in eight plays, ending with a misdirection run by Buschbacher for a seven-yard touchdown with 9:32 left in the first frame for a 7-0 lead. After Hub CJ Navarro coughed up the ball to KHS, the Knights constructed a nine-play, 58-yard drive that ended with Serpa plowing through the middle for a two-yard score. Kaneland then led 14-0 with 4:08 remaining in the first quarter.

After Rochelle used an ill-advised pass on a fourth down, Kaneland took over and had Serpa score on an 18-yard touchdown run with 6:49 remaining in the half for a 21-0 lead.

For the final score of the half, Buschbacher shook a defender loose and went in from the 17 for a touchdown pass to go up 28-0 with 30 ticks left in the half.

Kaneland’s secondary puts the the Knights in a position to make things happen. Take Kory Harner, for example. The defensive back stopped Rochelle’s second drive cold with an interception, driving home the nightmore for the host Hubs.

Rochelle finally got on the board in the third quarter, thanks to a 36-yard scoring scamper from Bernardin with 7:54 to go, the ensuing two-point try cut the lead to 20. Kaneland’s fourth quarter score was a Camiliere-to-Sean Carter five-yard pass with 5:45 remaining.

Sophomore action had KHS beat Rochelle 47-8.

Kaneland’s next NIB-12 test comes on Homecoming Night, Friday, Oct. 1, against the DeKalb Barbs (3-2, 0-1 NIB-12). DeKalb handed host LaSalle-Peru a 41-20 loss on Friday. Kaneland has won the previous four meetings between the schools by a combined score of 168-34.

Top photo: Knight John Kintz (20) gives Rochelle ball-carrier Will Metzger nowhere to run during Friday’s 35-8 dismantling of the host Rochelle Hubs. The win elevated Kaneland to 5-0 (1-0 NIB-12) and to the fourth spot in Class 5A’s IHSA Playoff Points list. Photo by Ben Draper

Northern Illinois Big 12 East Division

Team name Conf Wins Conf Losses Wins Losses PF PA
Kaneland High School 1 0 5 0 223 55
Sycamore High School 1 0 5 0 190 46
Morris Com High School 1 0 4 1 132 59
Rochelle Twp High School 0 1 3 2 156 70
DeKalb High School 0 1 3 2 116 92
Yorkville High School 0 1 2 3 85 114

Northern Illinois Big 12 West Division

Team name Conf Wins Conf Losses Wins Losses PF PA
Geneseo High School 1 0 5 0 201 49
Sterling High School 1 0 4 1 76 73
Ottawa Twp High School 1 0 3 2 149 60
LaSalle-Peru High School 0 1 2 3 55 172
Dixon High School 0 1 0 5 56 231
Streator Twp High School 0 1 0 5 12 209

Three-and-OH!

Photo gallery below story
Knights run over crossover foe Dixon, 55-6
by Mike Slodki
MAPLE PARK—Looks like Kaneland Knights football is putting the rest of its schedule on notice.
The visiting Dixon Dukes certainly noticed.

In the first crossover Northern Illinois Big XII contest for Kaneland, the Knights saw both the offense and defense contribute in a 55-6 win over the visitors.

For KHS, it’s their first 3-0 start since the prolific season of 2006, and for coach Tom Fedderly, that falls largely on one aspect of the game.

“It’s all senior leadership,” KHS coach Tom Fedderly said. “These kids want to be a good team. They’ve been through it. They know what it takes, and they’ve got a lot of pride.”

The game featured a running clock due to a 40-point margin, which was achieved on a 19-yard touchdown pass to Sean Carter.

For KHS, it’s the first time a running clock has been accomplished in regular season play since 2006, when KHS beat DeKalb.

“Our offensive line did a great job. Joe had a lot of time, and I thought the receivers executed their routes well,” Fedderly said.

Kaneland cruised on the strength of Joe Camaliere’s five touchdown passes and 10-for-15, 279-yard day through the air.

The leading rusher was backup QB Ryan Fuchs with 32 yards.

Carter had 77 yards receiving on three catches and two scores, while Blake Serpa had 110 yards recieving.

Play of the Knight
While the Kaneland ‘D’ might have been tired of being on the field in the first half, the O wasn’t tired of scoring. Taking the field for the first time with under 7 minutes to play in the first quarter after Dixon ran 15 offensive plays, QB Joe Camiliere threw a bullet pass to a striding Blake Serpa for a 63-yard touchdown on the Knights’ first play from scrimmage. The scoring play gave KHS a 14-0 lead in the first.

For Dixon, Preston Lumzy had 114 yards on the ground and a touchdown.

The party started early, before the KHS offense even got the ball. Three holding penalties plagued things at first, but then a failed pitch attempt by Dixon resulted in linebacker Nick Michels scooping up the ball at the 12 and running in for the touchdown and a 7-0 lead just 1:06 into the game.

“When the fumble happened, (Taylor) Andrews came up and made a hit. I saw the ball pop out, hesitated a little bit, and picked it up,” Michels said.

Dixon had another sustained drive but had to punt, leading to Camaliere hitting Blake Serpa for a 63-yard score and a 14-0 lead with 6:31 to go in the first.

The first quarter scoring ended on a 38-yard slot pass to Quinn Buschbacher with 2:59 to go to make it 21-0.

In the second quarter, Serpa scored on an 11-yard TD run for a 28-0 lead with 8:38 to go in the half. Dixon’s Lumzy broke into the scoring column with a two-yard scamper with 4:58 to go to make it 28-6 with 4:58 to go, and Camaliere’s 45-yard scoring pass to Carter 32 seconds later made it 35-6. The first half scoring concluded with a 47-yard strike to Serpa with 1:21 to go to make it 41-6 at the half.

After the clock-busting Carter touchdown, Fuchs closed the scoring out with a 10-yard touchdown run with 3:28 to go in the third.

In the earlier sophomore contest, Kaneland won 42-6.

Kaneland goes for a fourth straight win against the NIB-12 West school LaSalle-Peru on Friday, Sept. 17.

Top photo: Knight Tyler Callaghan (6) stifles Dixon Dukes RB Preston Lumzy during Friday’s 55-6 win in Maple Park. Photo by Ryan Wells

Northern Illinois Big 12 East Division

Team name Conf Wins Conf Losses Wins Losses PF PA
Sycamore High School 1 0 3 0 119 41
Kaneland High School 0 0 3 0 132 40
Rochelle Twp High School 0 0 2 1 96 20
Morris Com High School 0 0 2 1 94 41
Yorkville High School 0 0 2 1 71 40
DeKalb High School 0 1 2 1 61 55

Northern Illinois Big 12 West Division

Team name Conf Wins Conf Losses Wins Losses PF PA
Sterling High School 1 0 3 0 54 29
Geneseo High School 0 0 3 0 105 27
Ottawa Twp High School 0 0 2 1 98 35
LaSalle-Peru High School 0 1 1 2 41 62
Dixon High School 0 0 0 3 33 138
Streator Twp High School 0 0 0 3 6 135



Advantage—Kaneland

Kaneland holds off host Rockets in opener, 37-22
by Mike Slodki
BURLINGTON—When it comes to season openers, Kaneland can’t think of a better way to begin the football season.

In fact, the Knights haven’t been able to think of a better way to start things for six straight years.

The team offered a glimpse of what might be down the line, but was played evenly for much of the contest. While giving up the occasional big play, the Knights took advantage of opportunities presented on both sides of the ball.

“We put the challenge to the guys in the second half that we have to answer the call and can’t be a team that hurts ourselves,” KHS coach Tom Fedderly said. “We played better in the second half.”

Third-year signal caller Joe Camaliere had more incompletions than caught passes, going 15-for-32 for 114 yards, but threw for three touchdowns along with one pick.

The senior was also the leading rusher for the squad, rushing seven times for 69 yards and a score.

WR Quinn Buschbacher caught four passes for 24 yards.

“I had a couple drops, but I just tried to get back in there and help the team as best I could,” Buschbacher said.

The junior also had a kickoff return for a touchdown called back in the third quarter.

“That’s just football. Hopefully, I can get another one next week,” Buschbacher said.

Rocket standout Tre Llanes rushed for 92 yards on 16 carries for a touchdown.

Senior Tim Maroder, who switched to running back after two years at QB, suffered a knee injury on a screen pass in the first quarter and is projected to be lost for the season.

The first real scoring opportunity came for the Knights after a punt snap went over Chandler Crary’s head and was pounced on at the Rocket 4-yard line. Three plays later, Taylor Andrews caught a pass in the left corner of the end zone six seconds into the second quarter.

With 2:41 remaining in the half, BC’s punt snap went airborne and out the end zone for a safety and a 9-0 KHS lead. Kaneland added to that on a six-play, 40-yard drive after the free kick, thanks to Sean Carter’s 11-yard TD catch on the left side of the endzone with 2:05 to go making it 16-0.

KHS WR Sean Carter
PLAY OF THE KNIGHT: Knights WR Sean Carter didn’t wait for a welcome to varsity action. He broke the door down. On a third-and-10 from the BC 26-yard line in the second quarter, and KHS muddling through three of four incompletions, Carter caught a pass and raced to the sidelines for a 15-yard gain. The next play had Carter catch an 11-yard TD pass to give KHS a 16-0 lead with 2:05 left in the first half.

Kaneland’s three fourth-quarter touchdowns came on a six-yard strike to Kyle Davidson with 11:51 to go making it 23-8, a Camaliere sneak with 7:00 to go making it 30-16, and a Blake Serpa touchdown run with 1:49 to go to cement the 15-point margin.

The sophomores emerged victorious over the Rockets with a 37-21 win over BC.

Kaneland battles host Huntley on Friday, Sept. 3, at 7:15 p.m.

A year ago, Kaneland lost to the Red Raiders 17-14.

Kaneland and Huntley were conference mates as recently as the 1960s, as part of the Little Eight Conference.

Huntley, currently residing in the Fox Valley Conference Valley Division, is coming off of a 44-34 loss to Wauconda on Friday.

Northern Illinois Big 12 West Division

Team name Conf Wins Conf Losses Wins Losses PF PA
Geneseo High School 0 0 1 0 42 7
Sterling High School 0 0 1 0 20 10
Ottawa Twp High School 0 0 0 1 21 28
Dixon High School 0 0 0 1 13 34
LaSalle-Peru High School 0 0 0 1 7 42
Streator Twp High School 0 0 0 1 6 41

Northern Illinois Big 12 East Division

Team name Conf Wins Conf Losses Wins Losses PF PA
Sycamore High School 0 0 1 0 57 12
Rochelle Twp High School 0 0 1 0 49 6
Yorkville High School 0 0 1 0 41 6
Kaneland High School 0 0 1 0 37 22
DeKalb High School 0 0 1 0 28 21
Morris Com High School 0 0 1 0 21 14

Top photo: Knight Curtis Secrest (16) separates Rocket QB Ryan Ritchie from the ball in the fourth quarter of Friday night’s 37-22 season-opening win for Kaneland. Photo by Ben Draper

Photo gallery:

Grid-Iron Men, too: KHS begins life as NIB-12 school

Photo: Leading up to the first ever Northern Illinois Big XII campaign, the Knights partake in drills in Maple Park. Photo by Mike Slodki

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—With a core of three-year starters and the beginning of a new conference, Kaneland High School football looks to be poised for big things in 2010.

It begins with a select group of players that put the “skill” in skill positions.

“We’re excited about having so many guys back with experience,” fourth-year head coach Tom Fedderly said on Monday. “They paid their dues and we want to see what they can do this year.”

Joe Camaliere returns at quarterback, now in his third-year of playing within the spread offense with a flourish.

The senior comes into the Friday, Aug. 27, opener at Burlington Central having tossed just three interceptions in 2009.

“That all comes down to preparation,” Fedderly said. “Making decisions in the game, and Joe takes a lot of pride in taking care of the ball.”

Camaliere will have a void this year, with two-way player Ryley Bailey off to Wisconsin-Platteville.

“Obviously, Ryley was a huge part of what we did last year. But we have guys working hard this year. We look at all of our skills kids back,” Fedderly said.

Running back Blake Serpa, soon to be a Mid-American Conference weapon at Central Michigan University, returns and figures to shoulder a load of the carries.

At the wideout positions are seniors Taylor Andrews and Tyler Callaghan, providing production, height and talent.

“Cally’s about six-foot-five, Taylor’s about six-foot-three and so is Serpa. It’s nice to see those guys out there. They can block, too. They can do it all,” Fedderly said.

The Knights like their height advantage, and plan to use it to their, well, advantage.

“It really helps,” Fedderly said. “It helps when you have a big target to throw to in a space. It helps Joe a lot.”

Junior Quinn Buschbacher also found productive playing time last year, as well as the end zone, and will be counted on in 2010.

“Curtis Secrest is another kid that’s been working hard. We have a number of guys that can catch the ball,” Fedderly said.

Serpa and Secrest figure to be carrying the ball, but Fedderly and staff are looking at more options on that end.

Fedderly also mentioned the offensive and defensive lines could have a younger slant and will be open to competition.

Callaghan and Andrews will get time in at linebacker, and Secrest will get a look at secondary.

Serpa will handle punting, while Chad Swieca will handle extra points.

The Knights’ roster looks to make a big splash in the new Northern Illinois Big XII conference, and will add East Division-mate Morris, and West Division cousins Dixon and LaSalle-Peru to its slate.

“What we’re really excited about is that all these are all similar programs,” Fedderly said. “So our younger kids are going to be playing against similar situations with programs that play sophomores, whereas other schools we played had upperclassmen. I think it’s going to really even out.”

The last time Kaneland invaded a new conference, in 2006, the Knights won the Western Sun Conference title in a one-loss regular season.

Now, coming back onto the field after a three-loss regular season and an 40-13 opening round playoff loss to Sycamore, the Knights look to improve their end result.

“If we want to be a good team, we need to watch turnovers and cut down on the mental errors. When we won, it was when we took care of the ball,” Fedderly said.

After the opener, the first East Division matchup is at Rochelle on Friday, Sept. 24. The regular season ends on Friday, Oct. 22 against visiting Morris.

KHS falls to Hampshire in season-ender

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—In Monday’s regional opener play-in game against fifth-seeded Hampshire, the fourth-seeded Knights were bombarded by opposing offense and failed fundamentals.

The Whip-purs put up four runs in the first inning and four runs in the seventh to clinch a 10-6 win, ending the Knights season at 23-13 (14-7 Western Sun Conference) in hot late-spring conditions. KHS committed five errors in the loss. Hampshire improved to 16-17.

The final win total did tie last year’s all-time mark for season wins, however.

Meanwhile, Hampshire was set to take on top-seeded Burlington Central on Wednesday, with the winner facing either Prairie Ridge or Crystal Lake Central in the Hampshire Regional title game on Saturday, May 29, at 1 p.m.

The Whip-purs jumped on starting pitcher Ty Hamer for four runs in the top of the first, but the Knights came back with two in the bottom of the inning, thanks to RBI singles by Dave Dudzinski and Jake Tickle.

Hampshire put up one in the top of the second for a 5-2 lead and chased Hamer after 1.1 innings (7 H, 5 R).

Dudzinski launched a longball to right field in the bottom of the third to close within 5-3, but Hampshire added one in the sixth and four in the seventh off of Tickle to go up 10-3.

In a last-ditch effort, KHS had runners at first and third with three runs already in. Catcher Aaron Hayman, who subbed for an injured Tyler Callaghan, grounded to short to end the game.

“I think these guys had our number today,” Kaneland coach Brian Aversa said. “Hat’s off to them, and it’s too bad we can’t play two out of three.”

In the final regular season contest of the year, the Knights tied the school record for wins with their 23rd in a 4-3 win at Bartlett High School.

Sam Komel earned the win on the mound against his Upstate Eight Conference opponents with a solid 5.2-inning outing. Komel gave up three runs on three hits, while Dudzinski earned the save with 1.1 innings. Dudzinski struck out three of the five batters he faced in relief.

Komel also helped his cause at the plate with an RBI double.

Under consistently rainy skies and trying for a share of the last-ever Western Sun Conference, the Knights, who trailed DeKalb by one win, got a clutch three-run triple in the top of the seventh to buoy an 8-2 win.

Winning pitcher Steve Colombe went 5.1 innings and allowed two runs on four hits in a winning effort, while Jake Tickle struck out three in 1.2 innings of work for his first save of the year.

Dudzinski singled home Joe Camaliere for the first run of the game, while a pitcher’s throwing error allowed Callaghan to reach base and score Dudzinski and Bobby Thorson for a 3-0 edge.

Camaliere doubled home Jake Fiedler to go up 4-1 in the top of the second. The score remained that way until the bottom of the sixth, when the host Barbs scored once.

After the bases were loaded in the top of the seventh on two walks and a hit batsmen, Landers laced a triple that cleared the bases and gave KHS breathing room.

On May 19, at Elfstrom Stadium in Geneva, Kaneland surrendered four runs to the Barbs in a less-than-stellar fifth inning enroute to a 5-2 loss under the lights. Colombe went 2-for-3 with 2 RBI, while Hamer was tagged with the loss.

With the conclusion of the season, Kaneland varsity baseball says goodbye to seniors Hamer, Hayman, Tickle, Dudzinski, Colombe and Fiedler.

“Dudzinski came in from basketball again, and we loved his contributions all year. Tickle had the 19-game hit streak; all the seniors had a really good season stepping up,” Aversa said.

Photo: Jake Tickle fires toward the plate in the fourth inning of Kaneland’s 10-6 regional opener loss to Hampshire on Monday. Photo by Mike Slodki

KHS baseball keeps hitting at 21 wins

KANELAND—Kaneland baseball hit the 20-win mark once again and found itself with a chance at Western Sun Conference-glory if things tumble in the right direction.

At 21-11 (13-6 WSC), the Knights split a doubleheader with Sycamore on Saturday afternoon in Maple Park and beat Sycamore on Friday by a 5-2 final.

They followed the weekend’s action with a convincing 9-1 win in DeKalb on Tuesday afternoon.

Kaneland is now in a first-place tie with Geneva in conference play.

In game one of the doubleheader, an 8-7 win, Jake Tickle improved to 8-0, pitching 2.2 innings of relief, and Bobby Thorson nabbed the save.

Thorson also produced at the plate, going 2-for-3 with two runs scored. Jake Fiedler doubled and drove in three runs for the Knights.

Up 4-2 after three innings, Sycamore took a 5-4 lead in the fourth, before KHS scord two in the bottom of the inning. Kaneland led 7-5 in the sixth when the Spartans scored twice to tie matters, before the Knights put up one in the bottom of the sixth.

In the 6-4 game two loss, Sam Komel, in 5.1 innings, gave up six runs and struck out seven.

Joe Camaliere went 2-for-4 with a double and RBI while Thorson went 3-for-4 with a double and run driven in.

On Friday, Kaneland scored two in the first, two in the second and one in the third, before allowing two Spartan runs in the bottom of the third. Illini-bound Ty Hamer went the distance and improved to 5-2.

Fiedler went 2-for-4 with a double and run scored.

Against the Barbs, Thorson improved to 4-2 with a complete game two-hitter, while Thorson, Tickle and Tyler Callaghan all went 3-for-4.

The Knights travel to DeKalb on Thursday, May 20.

Baseball improves to 16-9

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—Kaneland High School baseball isn’t in the habit of nice and easy wins, but they’re garnering wins nonetheless against their WSC brethren.

Knight baseball gave its fans some free diamond action on April 28 in Batavia, as it needed 10 innings to take care of the host Bulldogs, 7-4.

Kaneland scored one in the seventh to help send the game to extras before putting up a 3-spot in the 10th.

Jake Tickle pitched the final three for the win, allowing one run on two hits. Tickle also went 2-for-4 with an RBI. Bobby Thorson went 2-for-5 with two RBI.

Kaneland swept the Bulldogs with a 7-2 win on Thursday. Steve Colombe had a complete-game outing (3-3) and fanned five in the win.

Joe Camaliere had a 2-for-3 afternoon with a double and RBI.

Jake Tickle’s RBI single led to extending his hit streak to 18 games.

Against the host Foxes on Tuesday, Kaneland put up eight runs in the first two innings, but saw YHS storm back to tie it with five in the third and three in the fifth. KHS then manufactured a run in the seventh for a 9-8 win.

“I like the way we came out ready to go,” KHS coach Brian Aversa said. “But we can’t sit back and give up eight runs like we did.”

Tickle improved to 7-0 pitching the final two innings in relief, finding a way to contribute even with his 18-game hit streak coming to an end.

“That’s why Jake’s so valuable, because he’s so versatile. He can come in after being DH and get the win for us,” Aversa said.

“We were just pumped that we got that run in the seventh, and we knew we had to get down to business,” Tickle said.

The Knights take on the host Foxes on Thursday, May 6, at 4:30 p.m., and visit Oswego East High School on Saturday, May 8, at 10 a.m.

Callaghan HR caps comeback at Geneva

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—Looks like Kaneland’s plan on the drawing board worked to perfection in order to stop a losing streak to Geneva.

Use a Tyler Callaghan two-run homer in the top of the seventh in order to come back from a 6-1 deficit, and put out a rally in the last of the inning, thanks to a gutsy mound performance by Steve Colombe.

All in a day’s work in an 8-6 win at Geneva on Tuesday to improve to 7-6 (1-2 Western Sun Conference). The Knights also swept host Marengo in a Saturday doubleheader, 5-4 and 12-3. The three-game win streak started after dropping a 12-11 result vs. Geneva on Thursday in Maple Park.

In the seventh inning of a 6-6 tie on Tuesday, Jake Tickle hit a one-out single. After the second out, catcher Callaghan blasted a pitch to left-center field to give KHS an 8-6 lead.

Things got dicey in the bottom of the seventh as the first two runners for Geneva reached base and slugger Michael Monaghan came up to bat. But Colombe (1-2) forced a flyout to right field and then coaxed a 6-4-3 double play to end the game.

Callaghan knew he had to come through in order to give Kaneland the upper hand going into the bottom of the inning.

“They like to go out there and attack with curveballs,” Callaghan said. “We’ve faced these pitchers before and I just got a good pitch to hit.”

Colombe struck out three and gave up five earned runs on nine hits for his first win of the season.

Jake Fielder went 3-for-4 with an RBI while Callaghan went 3-for-4 with three runs scored.

Down 5-0 in the third, KHS got its first run when Bobby Thorson’s groundout to first scored Ty Hamer who had lead off with a single.

Hamer hit a two-run shot in the fourth to make 6-3. Down 6-4 in the sixth, Callaghan reached on an error, and Colombe’s grounder moved him to third after a misplayed ball. Hamer walked and Fielder drove home Callaghan on a single. Joe Camaliere followed with a sac fly RBI to tie the score and set the stage for late-inning heroics.

Against the host Indians, Drew French (1-0) earned the win in game 1 with 1.2 innings of relief and three K’s. Hamer picked up the save getting the final strikeout.

Down 4-1 after four innings of the first game, Kaneland scored one in the fifth and sixth while putting up two in the seventh.

Fielder went 2-for-4 with a run, while Kyle Davidson went 2-for-3 with 2 RBI.

In game two, Tickle improved to 3-0 and allowed only one run on three hits.

Dave Dudzinski went 4-for-4 with three RBI.

Down 1-0 in the second, Kaneland began a streak of five straight innings in the scoring column, including six in the third and two in the fourth.

In last week’s loss to the Vikings, Davidson went 2-for-4 with a double, RBI and run scored while Thorson went 2-for-3 with a double.

The Knights went out to a 4-0 lead after two before Geneva scored five in the third. The Knights led 6-5 in the fourth leading to the Vikings scoring three in the bottom frame to go ahead 8-6. With a three-spot in the fifth, the Knights led 9-8 before the two squads exchanged two-run innings in the sixth. The Vikings tagged Dudzinski for two runs in the bottom of the seventh for the win.

Awaiting KHS is a road trip to Glenbard South on Thursday, April 15.

Photo: Shortstop Kyle Davidson does his part for a fifth-inning double play in Monday’s 8-6 win at Geneva. Photo by Mike Slodki

Baseball sits at 4-5; hits Ky.

KANELAND—Geneva gave Kaneland baseball a rude enough awakening at the beginning of Western Sun Conference play that made staying in Kentucky look like a better option.

Following an annual road trip during spring break, the Knights (4-5, 0-1 Western Sun Conference) were felled by Geneva on Tuesday, 23-9.

The game, originally marked for Maple Park, was switched to the Vikings’ turf due to unplayable fields at KHS.

Ty Hamer earned the loss, giving up 12 runs on 15 hits, but struck out seven in five innings.

Geneva’s Chris Hipchen had a huge day, going 4-for-4 with five runs scored and three home runs with 4 RBI. Michael Monaghan went 3-for-6 with 2 HR and 4 RBI.

For Kaneland, Dave Dudzinski went 3-for-4 with a double and 2 RBI. Tyler Callaghan went 2-for-3 with a homer and 3 RBI.

On March 31, the Knights began their trip down south and repelled Grayson County by a final of 3-2 on the strength of single runs in the first three innings.

The hosts put up a two-spot in the fourth for the remainder of the scoring.

University of Illinois-bound Hamer (1-2) went six innings on the hill and gave up just one earned run on four hits while striking out nine.

Murray State-bound Tyler Saltsman took the loss. Dudzinski nabbed the save for KHS, scattering one hit.

Knight Bobby Thorson went 2-for-3 with a walk, while Dudzinski helped his cause at the plate with a homer and two runs batted in. Jake Fiedler went 1-for-4 with a double, stolen base and run scored.

On Thursday, the Knights solved the sixth-ranked team in Kentucky, Apollo High School, by a final of 2-1. After Apollo scored one in the second, the Knights got one in the third and one in the fifth. Bobby Thorson (1-0) went the distance and struck out cleanup hitter Nick Laster with the bases loaded to end the game. Thorson fanned seven in the effort. Fielder went 2-for-3 with an RBI, while catcher Aaron Hayman went 1-for-2 with two runs scored.

On Friday against Hancock County, Kaneland fell victim to a 9-7 loss.

Down 5-0 after three innings, Kaneland scored one in the fourth before the hosts put up three in the bottom of the fifth to make it 8-1.

Kaneland scored five in the top of the sixth to make it 8-6 before the two teams exchanged single runs for the remainder of the scoring.

Outfielder Joe Camaliere scored three runs and was hit twice in the batter’s box.

Steve Colombe (0-2) surrendered five runs on four hits to get tagged with the loss.

Against McClean County on Friday, Kaneland put up three runs each in the fourth, fifth and sixth to buoy their fortunes in a 10-5 win. Jake Tickle (2-0) went three innings and struck out five.

Fiedler went 2-for-4, Thorson went 2-for-3 with two runs scored along with a double, triple and 4 RBI. Teammate Dudzinski went 2-for-4 with a run and RBI.

The varsity troops try to improve their mark on Thursday, April 8, vs. Geneva and at Marengo on Saturday, April 10, with a doubleheader.

Photo: Junior Tyler Callaghan, shown in earlier action, had a homer and three RBI at Geneva on Tuesday.
File Photo

KHS baseball drops 3 of first 4

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—A quarter is nice to have every once in a while, but not when it’s referring to victories in a season.

So far in the early outset, Kaneland has been plagued by big opposing offenses and not being able to drive runners home at critical points.

The initial stage of the season has led to a 1-3 record after losing at Plainfield North on March 24 in a 6-0 no-hitter, 14-3 in five innings on Thursday at Burlington Central, a 7-6 last at-bat win vs. Marmion Academy on Saturday and a 4-3 loss at Harlem on Monday.

Against host Plainfield North, the Knights surrendered one run in the first, one in the third and four in the fourth. PN’s Ben Gorgan struck out 12 batters in five innings.

Facing the Rockets, Jake Fiedler went 2-for-3 with a run, while teammate Tyler Callaghan went 1-for-2 with a double and run scored. Ty Hamer got the loss on the mound after giving up eight runs on four hits. BC scored three in the bottom of the first, but Kaneland put up one in the second and one in the third before the Rockets put up an 11-spot in the bottom of the fourth. The Knights also scored one run in the fifth.

Jake Tickle earned the win in relief against the visiting Cadets, while Callaghan went 2-for-4 with two runs scored and two RBI.

Marmion put runs on the board first with three in the top of the second, while Kaneland came back with two in the bottom of the frame. The Knights tied the score in the bottom of the fourth with a run and scored three in the sixth for a 6-3 advantage. With Marmion tying the score with three in the top of the seventh, KHS pulled it out with one in the last of the seventh. Both teams committed three errors apiece.

Near Rockford in Machesney Park, Kaneland used its spring break to tackle the NIC-10’s Harlem Huskies. Gray of the Huskies hit a three-run homer in the first inning to put the Knights behind early. Fiedler doubled and scored on a wild pitch, but after a Joe Camaliere walk and a Bobby Thorson single, the Knights couldn’t push any more home. Harlem then came back with a run in the fourth inning to go up 4-1.

In the seventh, Kyle Davidson singled. With one out, Thorson doubled home Davidson and went to third on an error to make it 4-2. Callaghan hit an RBI single to close within one. Hamer singled to put two runners on, but the Knights could get no further.

“We left a lot of runners on base in the second and third,” KHS coach Brian Aversa said. “We had the bases loaded in the sixth, and couldn’t score. We can’t do that.”

Despite the result and the three of four losses, Aversa is still expecting things to turn in Kaneland’s favor.

“We’re facing some good competition right now. These teams are making us work. We’ll turn it around,” he said.

Lower-class action featured the sophomores losing to Plainfield North 5-3 and beating Burlington Central 7-3, thanks to a 14 K performance by Drew Peters.

The Knights take on Owensboro High School on Thursday, April 1, as part of their three-day Kentucky road trip.

Photos: Reliever Sam Komel launches a ball in the fifth inning during Monday’s 4-3 setback at Harlem High School in Machesney Park, Ill.. Photo by Mike Slodki

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.

Kaneland shines spotlight on fall athletes with awards

Monday saw Kaneland High School dish out their annual awards for the fall sports season.

For girls cross country, Shelby Koester and Lisa Roberson were recognized by the team as captains, while Shaela Collins and Jessica Stouffer won the most improved runners nods. Junior Andie Strang took home the Most Valuable Runner award and was also recognized for her all-Western Sun Conference nomination.

In Knights golf action, the varsity most improved player award was given to Adam Grams, while Most Valuable Player was Hayley Guyton. Rhys Childs took home the frosh/soph MVP, and Dan Miller was named the frosh/soph most improved player. Guyton was also lauded for her second-place finish at the girls’ golf State gathering.

For soccer, Kevin Szatkowski, Marcos Dorado, Joe Garlinsky and Genaro Garcia were recognized as captains, and Alex Dorado and Sam Rymarz were given coach’s awards. Jake Tickle won the most improved player award, while J.P. Minogue was named team MVP thanks to his play in goal. Marcos Dorado, Derek White and Minogue were named to the All-WSC squad, while Dorado was also named the 2009 All-Sectional team.

For the tennis troops, Randi Bader, Lindsay Jurcenko and Kelsey Lenhardt were recogznied as garnering the best individual records this season with 18-7 records. Most Valuable Player awards were dished out to Jurcenko, Olivia Emmanouil and Liz Webb. Bader, Webb, Megan Cline and Mel Mazuc were recognized as captains. Jordyn Withey took home the team spirit award, while Stephanie Rosenwinkel and Jess Woodward nabbed the most improved player honors.

For the State-going boy cross country, Joe Levita, Edgar Valle, Dominic Furco, Matt Reusche and Logan Markuson were recognized as captains.

Trevor Holm and Reusche took the most valuable runner awards, while Levita was named most improved runner. Valle and Markuson were given the Larry Eddington Award for Courage, Leadership and Strength. The Golden Knight award, given to one representative of each grade level, was given to freshman Brad Kigyos, sophomore Jake Ginther, junior Tommy Whittaker and to Furco, a senior.

Reusche and Holm were lauded for their nomination to the all-Western Sun Conference team.

John Meisinger, Ginther, Billy Hart, Nate Rehkopf, Conor Johnson, Holm, Reusche, Levita, Valle, Furco, Markuson, Whittaker and Clayton Brundige were recognized as State qualifiers.

For the playoff-going Knight football team, Brock Dyer, Ryley Bailey, Brett Ketza, Eric Dratnol and Derek Bus were recognized as captains, while Kyle Davidson won the most improved player award. Dratnol was named the Most Valuable Player. Bailey was named the offensive MVP and Taylor Andrews won the defensive MVP award.

Bailey, Joe Camaliere, Andrews, Tyler Callagahan, Dratnol, Ketza, Jimmy Boyle and Blake Serpa were given all-WSC honors, as mentioned in last week’s Elburn Herald.

In volleyball, Jessica Lubic was named the Most Valuable Player, while Katy Dudzinski was given the top offensive player nod. Kylie Siebert won the top defensive player nod. Tara Groen was named best server, and Meredith Ament took home the spirit award. Mackenzie Curran won the most improved player nod, and Lubic and Dudzinski were nominated for the all-Western Sun Conference roster.

Photo: Tennis asset and tri-MVP Lindsay Jurcenko was one of the many KHS athletes noted for exceptional play during the fall season. File Photo

Kaneland Knights football recognized for talent, smarts

by Mike Slodki
MAPLE PARK—Kaneland High School learned of five football players that were not just exceptional on the field, but in the classroom as well.

Linemen Brett Ketza and Eric Dratnol, cornerback Taylor Andrews, linebacker Tyler Callaghan and quarterback Joe Camaliere were named to the Class 5A All-Academic All-State team last week.

“That’s what we really strive for,” KHS coach Tom Fedderly said. “To achieve in the classroom and to be leaders on the field is great.”

Not only did those five get recognized for classwork and ability, they also joined lineman Jimmy Boyle, linebacker Blake Serpa and wideout Ryley Bailey for the final version of the All-Western Sun Conference team.

The offensive co-MVP’s of the conference were Glenbard South QB Trace Wanless and Sycamore RB Marckie Hayes.

The defensive co-MVP’s of the conference were Glenbard South DL Austin Teitsma and Geneva DL Frank Boenzi.

Spartans oust Knights in 5A opener

Kaneland caught in rush during 40-13 loss
If this were a major production, then Sycamore stole the second act.

Getting revenge for a September contest in which the Kaneland Knights beat the Spartans 21-14, Sycamore ran, ran and ran some more in a 40-13 first-round beating of Kaneland.

The loss on Saturday evening put an end to the KHS Class 5A playoff quest at 6-4. Sycamore will now host 16th-seed Wheaton Academy on Saturday, Nov. 7, at 1 p.m., after the Crusaders upset top-seeded Hillcrest in the lower bracket.

Sycamore gained an immense 415 yards on the ground, while passing only once for 13 yards. Kaneland gained 207 yards on offense, while rushing for 62 yards.

For Sycamore, running back Joe Dougherty ran for 209 yards and three touchdowns on 15 carries, while teammate Markie Hayes had 172 yards on 22 carries and two touchdowns.

QB Joe Camaliere was 17-for-32 for 145 yards for the Knights, passing for two touchdowns. Blake Serpa rushed for 56 yards on 12 carries.

Taylor Andrews caught five balls for 79 yards and a touchdown.

The Spartans got the scoring underway with 6:34 left in the first quarter on a Hayes 9 -yard touchdown run. Kaneland tied matters just 61 seconds later with a Andrews touchdown catch from 43 yards out.

Hayes gave Sycamore a lead it would never relinquish on an 8-yard touchdown run to go up 14-7 with 1:08 left in the first.

Sycamore scored three touchdowns in the second quarter, beginning with Dougherty’s 51-yard touchdown run with 5:28 left for a 20-7 lead. Dougherty struck again with a 29-yard scoring run to go up 27-7, with Spartans QB Trevor Mathey hitting CJ Compher on a 13-yard touchdown pass with eight ticks remaining in the half for a 33-7 lead.

With no scoring in the third quarter, Dougherty scored his third TD of the contest, a five-yarder with with 10:16 to go. On the final play of the game, Camaliere found Ryley Bailey for a 9-yard touchdown for the final 27-point deficit.

Photo: Knight Taylor Andrews (11) takes to the air during Kaneland’s first-round exit to visiting Sycamore on Saturday. Photo by Ben Draper

KHS allows minimal stats in Yorkville for 10-0 win

by Mike Slodki
YORKVILLE-—It wasn’t pretty to look at, or sit through.

Rain and mist made life difficult at points for the Kaneland and Yorkville football squads on Saturday during the 2009 regular season football finale.

But the most important things coming out of the game were the numbers 6 and 0.

Kaneland stifled Yorkville by a final of 10-0, setting its final regular season mark at 6-3 by pitching its second shutout of the season.

With that win and Glenbard South’s 32-20 win over Sycamore, the Knights rocketed ahead of the Spartans in the 5A standings and will host Sycamore (6-3) for the second meeting between the two schools in the first round.

At 6-3 overall, and 5-2 in the Western Sun Conference, Kaneland finishes third in conference play behind Geneva and Glenbard South.

The Raiders will host Rochelle on Friday, the second WSC playoff matchup.

Yorkville finished at 3-6 on the season.

The Knights managed to put on a clinic when it came to ball control and defense, plowing ahead with 46 clock-grinding rushing attempts, and allowing just two first downs to the Foxes. KHS gathered 244 total yards, compared to 67 for the host Foxes.

“All summer and all this year, we came out and made sure we had a good defense,” linebacker Brett Ketza said. “We dedicated ourselves during the summer. We kind of hoped that what we did would show itself out on the field.”

Junior quarterback Joe Camaliere went 11-for-15 for 102 yards with no picks thrown, that being the case since week two against Huntley.

Blake Serpa had 15 carries for 78 yards on the evening.

After a combined five punts ended drives for both teams, Kaneland finally got on the board with a five-play, 37-yard drive that featured Taylor Andrews’ catch getting the Knights to the three. Serpa pounded it in the end zone on the first play of the second quarter for a 7-0 lead.

In the third quarter, a fourth-and-five run by Joe Camaliere for a 57-yard touchdown was called back for holding.

Kaneland put the lid on the scoring with a seven-play drive that ended on a 20-yard field goal by Chad Swieca with 5:28 to go in the game.

“On a night like this, you just have to grind it out, and we did,” KHS coach Tom Fedderly said. “Look at this field, but we knew it was going to be that way. We just had to grind it out and play defense. We wanted to take control of the ball and move the markers.”

The Knights now look to get their third straight win over the Spartans, with the brightest spotlight of all.

The game, set for 6 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 31, sees Kaneland try to remedy last year’s opening round loss in 5A, a 23-21 setback at Sterling on Nov. 1, 2008.

Meanwhile, Sycamore enters the playoffs for the fourth time this decade, and the first since 2007, which ended with a 14-3 loss at Montini Catholic.

Other football action involving Kaneland featured a Friday win for the sophomores, 22-14 over Yorkville.

Photo: Knight Blake Serpa (2) makes the most of wet conditions during Friday’s 10-0 win at Yorkville that marked the end of the 2009 regular season. The Knights’ next challenge is of the playoff variety, against Sycamore on Halloween. Photo by Ben Draper

They meet again

Kaneland Knights vs. Sycamore SpartansSaturday, Oct. 31, 2009 at Peterson Field, 6 p.m. kickoff.

KHS went into Sycamore’s den and won 21-14 on Sept. 18.

Spartans RB Markie Hayes (right) ran for 81 yards on 10 carries in the game.

The game marks the second meeting between the two stingiest defenses in the WSC.

Geneva slips past KHS, 27-24 in OT

by Mike Slodki
MAPLE PARK—What might have been a thrilling win for Kaneland High School football on Friday night is now just “what might have been.”

A Michael Santacaterina 2-yard touchdown run in overtime at Peterson Field gave the Vikings a 27-24 win and closed the book on the Kaneland-Geneva football rivalry.

Kaneland moves onto the Northern Illinois Big 12 conference, while Geneva saunters on to the Upstate Eight in 2010. Geneva all but wraps up the WSC championship at 7-1 with a 5-1 conference record, and KHS falls to 5-3 with a 4-2 WSC tally.

For Kaneland, it was the first overtime game since beating Sterling in a still-talked about quarterfinal playoff game, 52-45 on Nov. 11, 2006.

Kaneland was 10 minutes and 22 seconds away from a victory after a 14-yard touchdown strike to Ryley Bailey gave the Knights a 21-14 lead, but Geneva calmly tied the game on a six-yard Santacaterina touchdown run with 7:33 to go in regulation to set up overtime.

KHS outgained Geneva by a total of 276-233, but saw the running game hit a snag with just 10 yards on 15 carries.

“We were just trying to go with the plays that had been successful,” KHS coach Tom Fedderly said. “We needed to punch it in and didn’t do it.”

QB Joe Camaliere was 20-for-41 for 236 yards and three touchdowns, with Bailey gathering 175 yards on 13 catches. Teammate Taylor Andrews snagged three balls for 55 yards.

“There’s a lot of good things we can take from this game. That was a very good football team we went to overtime with,” Fedderly said.

Geneva’s Santacaerina had a productive night with 129 yards on 22 carries with four touchdowns.

The first score of the game came when Geneva concluded an eight-play, 55-yard drive on Santacaterina’s eight-yard TD run with 2:32 remaining in the first quarter.

After Kaneland’s first three drives ended in punts, the Knights got on the board with a 32-yard TD pass to Andrews on a 3rd-and-19 play. The somersaulting catch with 6:13 remaining in the half deadlocked the contest at 7 going into the half.

In the third quarter, Santacaterina capped an 11-play, 62-yard drive to open the half with a two-yard score to make it 14-7 with 8:39 to go.

Kaneland tied it on the ensuing drive thanks to an Andrews TD catch from the 11 with 5:43 left in the frame, setting up the final quarter’s action.

The Knights’ overtime attempt had Bailey catching a four-yard pass on first down but not able to come down with a second down pass.

A third-down throw to Tyler Callaghan was incomplete, setting up a 23-yard field goal by Chad Swieca for a 24-21 KHS lead.

Needing to hold the Vikings to a field goal or less, Geneva fed Santacaterina the ball on first down to the two, where he punched it in on second down to end the contest.

Now, Kaneland must defeat Yorkville on the road on Friday, Oct. 23 for a more secure playoff standing.

The sophomores lost to Geneva in earlier Friday action 22-8, and the freshmen lost to Geneva 52-7 on Monday.

Play of the Knight:
Joe Camaliere did everything short of taking the ball for himself on Friday.
Check that, he did, and it was at an important juncture in the game.
Facing a swarm of Geneva defenders on a third-and-20 from the Knight 40, Camaliere found holes thanks to blockers and picked up 29 yards for a first down. The drive continued, leading to a Ryley Bailey TD catch.

Photo: Knight WR Taylor Andrews caught two TD’s during Friday’s 27-24 overtime loss to Geneva. The Knights try to get their sixth win of 2009 at Yorkville on Friday, Oct. 23. Photo by Ryan Wells

Low-Raided

Knights struggle all game long in 21-7 loss to Glenbard S.
by Mike Slodki
MAPLE PARK—In less than desirable conditions, Kaneland football neither reigned nor poured it on Friday.

Glenbard South came into enemy territory for the Knights’ homecoming and came out with a 21-7 win.

Kaneland drops to 4-2 (3-1 Western Sun Conference), while Glenbard South improved to 4-2 (3-1 Western Sun Conference).

This marked the third straight victory for the Raiders over Kaneland. The Knights had not beaten the Raiders sincer 2006. The game marked the last outing between the two football programs for the foreseeable future, due to the dismantling of the WSC, effective at the end of the school year.

The Knights amassed just 125 yards of total offense and succumbed to Glenbard South’s 353 total yards. GS quarterback Trace Wanless passed for just 83 yards, but had a touchdown pass and rushed for 148 himself with a touchdown.

“He’s a special player and a great athlete,” KHS coach Tom Fedderly said about the Raiders signal-caller.

Joe Camaliere was 9-for-18 for 92 yards and a touchdown. Ryley Bailey had two catches for 48 yards.

The scoring started on Glenbard South’s third drive, when on the fourth play, Wanless completed a 34-yard touchdown pass to Nick Slezak in the flat for a touchdown. Glenbard South’s score gave them a 7-0 lead with :28 left in the frame.

Kaneland fought back with its first drive of the second quarter, with a 7-play, 64-yard drive. Bailey caught a screen and followed his blockers for a 42-yard touchdown that came with 8:13 remaining in the half to tie the score.

Kaneland’s offense struggled thereafter, coming up empty on five second-half drives.

Meanwhile, Glenbard South took the lead (14-7) for good on a 10-yard TD run by fullback John Hentges, capping an eight-play, 60-yard drive with 7:33 left in the third.

After the Knights punted away, Wanless called his own number on the second-play of the next drive and scored on a 52-yard run with 4:46 to go in the third for a 21-7 lead.

The Knights players and coaching staff look to rebound against DeKalb on Saturday afternoon, Oct. 10.

DeKalb comes into the contest at 1-5 (0-4) on a five-game losing streak, and got trounced 55-0 on Friday at Geneva.

“We told them next week’s the biggest game of the season, and we want to see how they respond and prove themselves every week and get better,” Fedderly said.

Photo: Knight Joe Camaliere (12) tries to evade Glenbard South tacklers for a positive gain during Friday’s 21-7 loss. The Homecoming night contest marks the last conference outing between the two programs. Photo by Ben Draper

Kaneland uses two late scores in 21-17 win

by Mike Slodki
MAPLE PARK—What a note to go out on for the Kaneland-Batavia rivalry.

As Kaneland and Batavia football go out to greener pastures, namely the Northern Illinois Big 12 and the Upstate Eight, the Knights put on one to remember, coming back to beat the Bulldogs on Friday in Maple Park, 21-17.

With the win, the Knights improve to 4-1 and keep pace with Western Sun Conference-leader Geneva at 3-0.

Batavia, in danger of being skipped over for the postseason, fell to 1-4 with an 0-3 mark in WSC play.

Kaneland won the first down battle, 16-10, and outgained the Bulldogs 229-204.

“We didn’t really make any adjustments, we just executed,” KHS coach Tom Fedderly said. “We just kept our heads and didn’t panic. They really showed their maturity.”

In a game played under wet conditions, Joe Camaliere, who had difficulty with many snaps in the first half, went 14-of-21 for 183 yards and a touchdown. The junior found the end zone on two rushing touchdowns in the fourth quarter to key the win.

Senior Ryley Bailey, who caught the first touchdown pass, snared six balls for 105 yards.

Batavia’s Danny Seiton rushed for 94 yards on 17 carries.

Kaneland struck first on a seven-play, 77-yard drive that ended in a 46-yard touchdown pass to Bailey with 8:46 to go in the first. Bailey reversed his field and avoided tacklers on his way to the end zone. The extra point attempted was botched and kept the score at 6-0.

With five errant snaps having to be recovered, the Knights offense spun its wheels, allowing the Bulldogs to crawl back into the game.

A 12-play, 93-yard drive ended in a 24-yard touchdown run by Seiton and gave Batavia a 7-6 lead with 2:27 remaining in the half.

Batavia pounced again, thanks to a Braden Hartmann score from the 1 with 2:10 to go in the third quarter. That sent Kaneland to a 14-6 deficit.

A 13-play drive that continued into the fourth quarter for the Knights was keyed by Blake Serpa, who got nine touches. On first-and-10 from the Bulldogs’ 11, Camaliere ran to the right side of the end zone and went in for the score with 9:23 to go. The QB then found Taylor Andrews in the middle of the end zone for a two-point conversion to tie matters at 14.

Batavia came right back with an 11-play, 45-yard drive that ended with a 32-yard field goal by Mike Clopton to give BHS a 17-14 lead with 3:41 remaining.

Starting from its own 35, Kaneland got an Andrews catch on second down. Bailey caught a 15-yard pass play at the 30 and had the ball stripped, but the officials ruled his forward progress stopped.

Four plays later, Camaliere recovered from a broken play at the line to score from the three with 2:07 left, putting the Knights up to stay.

Batavia failed to convert on fourth down, and QB Noel Gaspari was stopped by Serpa.

“We could just keep going,” Blake Serpa said. “Offensively, we knew it was going to come. Defensively, we knew we had to stop them.”

In sophomore action, Kaneland lost to Batavia 14-7. Batavia beat KHS in the freshman contest on Monday, 17-14.

Kaneland hooks up with 3-2 Glenbard South at Peterson Field on Friday, Oct. 2.

Glenbard South defeated Kaneland on Oct. 3, 2008, 47-31.

Photo: Kaneland’s win was made possible on both sides of the ball, but things really got going in the fourth quarter. No. 32 Brock Dyer stopped Bulldogs RB Edmund Kabba on a third-and-2 from the Knights 26. Dyer set up shop in a hole made by blocking and won the duel. Batavia settled for a field goal, but KHS came back with a winning TD. Photo by Ben Draper

Knights grab key victory at Sycamore, 21-14

by Mike Slodki
SYCAMORE—Breaking hearts are commonplace in high school, most notably at school dances or over text messages.

But on the football field?

Such was the case this past Friday night in Sycamore, where the Knights ripped a 21-14 win away from a hard-charging Spartans squad.

With the win, the Knights improved to 3-1, with a 2-0 record in Western Sun Conference play, and keeping pace with undefeated Geneva. Sycamore suffered its first loss after a blazing start and fell to 3-1 (1-1 WSC).

“It’s our oldest rivalry, and it was a very good team. We have a lot of respect for Sycamore and what they do,” KHS coach Tom Fedderly said after the victory.

Head-to-head action saw KHS win the first down battle with 17 compared to 13 for Sycamore. Kaneland had 374 total yards on the night, compared to 241 for the Spartans.

The two squads have had their share of the spectrum, with 2007 seeing Sycamore trouncing Kaneland 37-7, and Knight Chris Ott kicking a field goal at the end of regulation for a 38-35 win in 2008.

Kaneland quarterback Joe Camaliere had a productive night, going 18-for-22 for 294 yards and three touchdown throws. Sophomore Quinn Buschbacher caught three passes for 114 yards in the contest.

After a scoreless first quarter, the Knights capitalized on a missed Sycamore field goal and went 80 yards in 11 plays for a touchdown. The 33-yard scoring catch by Buschbacher came on a leaping effort into the end zone 16 seconds into the second quarter.

Sycamore QB Ryan Bartels evened things up in the third quarter on an 11-yard touchdown run with 10:05 to go in the frame. After a Spartan drive went nowhere, the Knights set up shop at their own 32, where Camaliere found Buschbacher again on a 68-yard touchdown bomb with 6:08 remaining in the third for a 14-7 lead.

The score remained the same until the fourth quarter, when Bartels capped a drive with a two-yard touchdown run with 9:22 to go, deadlocking the score at 14.

Wasting no time, the Knights balanced Camaliere runs with a pass to Blake Serpa, and Kaneland was on the board again after a 23-yard touchdown pass to Serpa with 6:33 to go for a 21-14 lead.

With Sycamore finding no luck, Kaneland looked to drive the ball in order to wind the clock down, and succeeded in cinching the game on an acrobatic catch by Bailey with just over a minute to go in Spartan territory.

“We just trust our offense and trust our quarterback making decisions out there,” said Bailey. “Everyone made plays tonight. We knew we could do it.”

The Knights now host Batavia on Friday, Sept. 25, and hope to catch the 1-3 Bulldogs reeling.

Lower level activity had the Knight sophomores lose a 21-0 game, while the freshmen took home a 26-6 win.

	While Kaneland was looking for breathing room with the clock winding down on Friday, everyone in Sycamore held their breath. 	Ryley Bailey kept his composure near the sideline late in the fourth quarter with the Knights needing another first down to put the game away. 	A pass by Camaliere was tipped by a Spartan defender, but caught by Bailey with one minute to go, preserving the win with a 26-yard gain. Photos by Ryan Wells
While Kaneland was looking for breathing room with the clock winding down on Friday, everyone in Sycamore held their breath. Ryley Bailey kept his composure near the sideline late in the fourth quarter with the Knights needing another first down to put the game away. A pass by Camaliere was tipped by a Spartan defender, but caught by Bailey with one minute to go, preserving the win with a 26-yard gain. Photos by Ryan Wells

Knights unleash offense in 33-12 win at Rochelle

by Mike Slodki
ROCHELLE—On Friday in Rochelle, it wasn’t the Knights who were left in a purple haze.

Despite spotting the host Hubs the first touchdown, Kaneland High School football kept its composure in a 33-12 victory to improve to 2-1 (1-0 Western Sun Conference).

The Knights slipped past the Hubs in Maple Park a year ago, 16-12, and have now split the last six meetings with the school.

“Our kids were real mature over the week,” KHS coach Tom Fedderly said. “They worked hard. If you play steady, good things can happen.”

On Friday, Kaneland won the first down battle 21-16.

Despite losing the rushing battle by a 169-127 count, the Knights outgained the Hubs throughout the night, 389-210.

The offensive road to success went through quarterback Joe Camaliere. No. 12 went 21-for-31 for 262 yards with three touchdown throws and no interceptions. The signal-caller also carried the ball 11 times for 87 yards. Rochelle’s Josh Bernardin ran for 101 yards on 25 carries.

Knight Ryley Bailey caught nine passes for 89 yards, while Blake Serpa caught five balls for 95 yards.

Rochelle began the contest with its run-based offense working like clockwork. An 11-play, 71-yard drive ended with an eight-yard touchdown run off tackle by Evan Tracy. The score with 5:57 remaining in the first made it 6-0.

Kaneland stormed back with some key runs by Camaliere and a pass to Serpa. The Knights made Rochelle jump offsides on two consecutive plays before Camaliere evaded Hubs defenders on the way to a 12-yard scoring run. The extra point by Kevin Szatkowski made it 7-6 for the Knights with 3:41 left.

The Knights defense stifled Rochelle in the second quarter and even got sacks from Alex Barron and Tyler Callaghan on consecutive plays.

With the first half about to close, Kaneland got to work at the Rochelle 39. Passes to Quinn Buschbacher and Taylor Andrews set up shop at the 27, where a Camaliere pass to Bailey resulted in Bailey lateralling the ball to running back Eric Tattoni for a 27-yard touchdown. The “hook-and-ladder” play came on a pivotal third-and-15 and gave the Knights a 14-6 lead with 12 seconds left in the half.

“That was a big momentum shifter,” Fedderly said. “We’d tried it last week and it got batted down, but Ryley made an unbelievable toss.”

“We just wanted to see if something would work,” Camaliere said. “Ryley just executed it great.”

In the third, Rochelle fumbled the ball and it was recovered by Bailey. Thus began a nine-play, 99-yard drive that ended with a 39-yard scamper by Camaliere for a 20-6 lead with :40 left in the third quarter.

Rochelle scored on a Gabe Montes five-yard touchdown run with five seconds left in the game, but not before Kaneland got a 15-yard scoring pass to Bailey with 8:00 left to go up 27-6, and a 42-yard touchdown pass to Serpa with 4:49 to go made it 33-6.

In sophomore action, Rochelle handled Kaneland 28-13. The freshmen won over the Hubs 44-6 on Monday.

Kaneland travels to Sycamore on Friday, Sept. 18. The Spartans are coming off a win vs. DeKalb at Huskie Stadium.

Play of the Knight
While it was the offense that gave Rochelle headaches for most of Friday night, it was the defense that might make Hubs QB Brett Metzger feel after-effects.
Two consecutive sacks by the Knights in the second quarter had the Hubs’ struggling offense come up empty once again. The first one by Alex Barron (93) resulted in a six-yard loss.

Knights fall short to Huntley

Costly turnovers harm KHS chances in 17-14 loss
by Mike Slodki
MAPLE PARK—It almost had the makings of a classic final-drive victory for Kaneland football on Friday night at Peterson Field.

But like many other chances during Friday’s 17-14 loss at the hands of the Huntley Red Raiders, the potential game-winning drive ended in an interception.

“I’m really proud of our team and how we hung in there,” KHS coach Tom Fedderly said. “Some things didn’t go our way. But we were a good enough team to hang in until the last play.”

For their first meeting with Huntley since the 1960s, Kaneland was led by quarterback Joe Camaliere, who went 23-for-36 with 306 yards. The junior threw two touchdowns and three picks.

The Knights also lost two fumbles, making a total of five turnovers on the night.

Camaliere also led the ground crew with 68 yards, including a 34-yard scamper.

Ryley Bailey toughed out a seven-catch evening for 129 yards.

Kaneland was edged in the first down category, 18-17, while the Knights won the total yards contest, 412-349.

The scoring started by the visiting Red Raiders thanks to an option keeper by QB Timothy Lycos. The 12-yard touchdown with 7:34 left in the first quarter made it 7-0.

Camaliere lost a fumble at the Red Raiders’ 17-yard line, but on the next drive found Bailey on a diving catch for an 18-yard touchdown. The score, with one second left in the quarter, tied the game at 7-7.

Tor Larkin of Huntley caught a 26-yard touchdown pass with 38 seconds to go in the first half to give KHS a 14-7 deficit.

The Knights had a chance to get on the board before the half ended, but a pass intended for Tyler Callaghan in the end zone was tipped out of reach as the half ended.

Huntley missed a 31-yard field goal attempt on its first drive of the second half. After another Knights fumble stalled a drive at its own 46, Huntley later converted on a 25-yard field goal with 1:29 to go in the third for a 17-7 lead.

Huntley managed an interception off of a tipped pass on the next drive, stalling the Knights yet again.

Kaneland’s defense came through in the fourth quarter, stopping Huntley on a fourth-and-13 from the Knights’ 16. Starting with the ball at its’ own four, Kaneland used a 77-yard completion to Taylor Andrews to set up a goal to go situation. Three plays later, Bailey caught another touchdown pass from the nine on third and goal to make it 17-14 with 7:16 remaining.

	Knights WR Taylor Andrews almost propelled his side to an amazing victory. 	While Kaneland ended up on the wrong side of a 17-14 loss to Huntley on Friday, the Kaneland wideout’s 77-yard catch and run in the fourth quarter set up Ryley Bailey’s touchdown catch that brought the Knights within three points.
Knights WR Taylor Andrews almost propelled his side to an amazing victory. While Kaneland ended up on the wrong side of a 17-14 loss to Huntley on Friday, the Kaneland wideout’s 77-yard catch and run in the fourth quarter set up Ryley Bailey’s touchdown catch that brought the Knights within three points.

Kaneland found another drive end in an interception, but stopped Huntley’s offense on its own one-yard line with 1:38 to go in regulation.

Camaliere found a hole on fourth-and-one that took Kaneland to its own 45, before a pass to Andrews was picked off with seconds remaining.

“We had a couple fumbles and a couple interceptions. A couple of them were on tipped balls. The bounces didn’t go our way tonight,” Fedderly said.

Kaneland sophomores went over Huntley in the night’s first game, 28-24.

Kaneland’s next project is going to Rochelle on Friday, Sept. 11. The Knights have taken two of the last three meetings.

Photo: Knight Brock Dyer (32) finds himself in the middle of a Red Raider jam during Friday night’s 17-14 losing effort against visiting Huntley.
Photo by Ryan Wells

Year 3 of Fedderly era begins with 35-0 win over BC

by Mike Slodki
MAPLE PARK—It seemed like old times on Friday night at Peterson Field.

For the visiting Burlington Central Rockets, it got old in a hurry.

For the host Kaneland Knights, they hope it never gets old.

For the fifth straight season, the Kaneland Knights took it to the Rockets in the opening contest of the football season by a 35-0 final.

Offense was highlighted by quarterback Joe Camaliere’s 13-for-27, 321 yard night with three touchdown passes. The junior also ran for two scores and passed for a two-point conversion.

Receiving stars included running back Brock Dyer, who caught three passes for 122 yards, including the opening score of the 2009 season on a 54-yard touchdown pass.

Kaneland receiver Ryley Bailey takes  to the air during the second quarter of Friday’s  35-0 win over Burlington Central. The Knights’ next challenge is Huntley at Peterson Field on Friday. Photo by Ben Draper
Kaneland receiver Ryley Bailey takes to the air during the second quarter of Friday’s 35-0 win over Burlington Central. The Knights’ next challenge is Huntley at Peterson Field on Friday. Photo by Ben Draper

Ryley Bailey caught five balls for 106 yards.

On defense, Derek Bus picked off a pass and recovered a fumble.

The Knights had 16 first downs throughout the evening, and won the total yards battle by a total of 411-106.

“It sure makes a big difference when we get a lot of kids back with experience,” KHS coach Tom Fedderly said.

The party started early on the fourth play from scrimmage, when Camaliere found Dyer on a swing pass. With exceptional blocking by the BC sideline, Dyer hit the endzone on the touchdown pass 65 seconds into the game for a 7-0 lead.

	Knights DB Derek Bus saw his share of action on Friday night.  	While Burlington Central had a frustrating night defensively, the feeling spread to the offensive end as Bus recovered a Tre Llenas fumble at the Rockets’ 33-yard line in the third frame.  	The play eventually led to a Ryley Bailey TD catch to close the scoring.
Knights DB Derek Bus saw his share of action on Friday night. While Burlington Central had a frustrating night defensively, the feeling spread to the offensive end as Bus recovered a Tre Llenas fumble at the Rockets’ 33-yard line in the third frame. The play eventually led to a Ryley Bailey TD catch to close the scoring.

The scoring resumed in the second quarter when a seven-play drive ended on a one-yard run up the middle by Camaliere. Tyler Callaghan caught the two-point try to go up 15-0 with 9:57 to go in the first half.

After the Rockets fell on downs, Kaneland got back to work on a seven-play scoring drive, ending with Taylor Andrews dashing up the middle for a 23-yard touchdown pass after a short throw.

The score made it 21-0 with 2:32 left, and seemed to break the game open for good.

“I got open down the middle and Joe found me; it felt good to win tonight,” Andrews said.

With 22 ticks left in the second quarter, Camaliere failed to find an open target and took it in himself after a scramble. The six-yard score made it 28-0 going into the half.

The lone score of the second half came on a 21-yard touchdown pass to Ryley Bailey with 8:32 remaining in the third for a 35-0 edge.

Fedderly credited the offensive line, which came through in the trenches.

“We got everything tonight, and you can’t say enough about the offensive line. We told them that they determine how the game goes,” Fedderly said.

Lower-class action had the freshmen shutting BC down by a final of 16-0 on Monday, while the sophomores also got a win over the Rockets in a 27-21 affair.

The Knights gear up for the Huntley Red Raiders on Friday, Sept. 4, in Maple Park. Kaneland and Huntley were conference mates as recently as the 1960s, as part of the Little Eight Conference.

Huntley, currently residing in the Fox Valley Conference Valley Division, is coming off of a 28-23 win over Wauconda on Friday.

Fall sports preview: Loaded with talent, ready to unload on opponents

Kaneland football looks to return to playoffs in ‘09
by Mike Slodki
MAPLE PARK—Watch out, Knights football fans.

The Kaneland Knights football roster got a taste of playoff action a year ago after being absent in 2007, and liked what they had.

Even losing a close battle to Sterling in the Class 5A first round last November in a 23-21 affair, there is still much to build on.

“It was huge, the intensity of the playoffs is something you have to experience to see what its like,” said third-year coach Tom Fedderly.

Despite losing offensive weapons like Hayden Johnson and Tyler Suerth and defensive assets Steve Tosaw and Will King, the Knights return players that have impressed with dedication to the craft.

It begins with returning quarterback Joe Camaliere.

“You can definitely tell we have experience coming back at the position, if you look at last year to this year. We just picked up right where we left off,” Fedderly said.

Brock Dyer and Eric Tattoni will get carries in the backfield.

Catching passes at wide receiver will be the returning Ryley Bailey, Taylor Andrews and Tyler Callaghan, all who spent time in the end zone a year ago.

The offensive line features Eric Dratnol and Brett Ketza, with competition still going strong eight days from the opener for the other slots.

On the defensive side, Jimmy Boyle tows the line and Bailey features prominently in the secondary. Dratnol brings experience to the line, with competition still hammering itself out on the linebacking corps.

Fedderly eyed Boyle as someone who’s putting himself in a noteworthy spot through hard work.

“He’s just a gym rat, working out all the time, and doing the extra stuff to make himself better,” Fedderly said.

Taylor Andrews also looks to hit the secondary, as well.

Following the much-talked about kicking of graduate Chris Ott, Fedderly hopes it can happen again.

“It’s big, every time you get a point on the board that way, it’s huge. We have a number of kids looking to try it after they saw Ott,” Fedderly said.

With all the talent coming back, Kaneland looks to get further in determining what a successful season brings.

“Always making the playoffs means you had a good season, especially in this conference, but you want to contend for a conference championship. We’d like to get a home playoff game. Those are some goals we’ve set,” Fedderly said.

The festivities begin on Friday, Aug. 28, vs. Burlington Central, and the Knights host Huntley for the first time ever on Friday, Sept. 4.

The WSC slate begins on Friday, Sept. 11, at Rochelle, and the regular season ends on Friday, Oct. 23, at Yorkville.

Baseball sees season end at Rockets home

by Mike Slodki
Monday’s Class 3A regional championship showed Kaneland and Burlington Central’s affinity for the long ball.

It was the Rockets who had slightly more of it.

Three costly homers by BC sent Kaneland baseball home for the season in a 6-5 defeat. The loss in windswept conditions ends the memorable season for the Knights at 23-13.

In a season that was accented by the loss of beloved teammate Jeff Malewig in December, the 2009 season is one that won’t soon be forgotten.

“The way we started with all the emotion, we started with these guys and won 23 games, a school record,” KHS coach Brian Aversa said. “This team is pretty special.”

For the Knights, it’s the third straight season of being ousted in the regional championship.

In 2007, eventual 2A State champ Neuqua Valley beat Kaneland, 4-1. 2008 had Sycamore oust Kaneland 6-5 in Dixon.

In the bottom of the first inning, Knight Jay Levita hit a home run to right centerfield for a 1-0 edge.

In the top of the third inning, Tanner Scott of the Rockets blasted a two-run shot for a 2-1 lead.

The bottom of the third had Jeff Smith reach on a bunt and Jake Fiedler hit a double to put two runners on. Smith scored on a passed ball to tie the game, and Fiedler came home on a fielder’s choice put in play by Joe Gura to take a 3-2 lead.

BC battled back in the fourth when Bill Rodriguez hit a homer to tie the score. Things got bad for KHS when Austin Jarvis hit a homer off Steve Colombe in the top of the fifth to take a 6-3 lead.

The bottom of the fifth saw life from the Knights when Levita hit a two-run shot to close within 6-5.

Ty Hamer shut the Rockets down in the top of the seventh. With one out, Gura drew a walk, but catcher Mike Pritchard grounded into a double play to end the game.

BC’s Nick Hahn earned the win.

On May 27, Kaneland ousted Western Sun Conference rival Rochelle 10-0 in five innings.

Smith gave up just one hit in his complete game effort. Dave Dudzinski’s second-inning homer, Joe Camaliere’s fourth-inning shot and Pritchard’s fifth-inning blast were plenty for the Knights to coast.

The Knights now say goodbye to a cache of seniors: John Rotella, Joe Spitzzeri, Curtis Lubic, Mike and Troy Pritchard, Levita, Ryan Stout, Gura and Smith.

Photo: Tyler Callaghan slides home safely to end the Knights’ 10-0, five-inning win against Rochelle on May 27. Photo by Mike Slodki

Knights earn win against Barbs

Kaneland baseball continues to plug away in the season’s homestretch, and in the process eclipsed last season’s win total.

A 3-2 victory on Tuesday over the rival DeKalb Barbs raised Kaneland’s record to 21-10 with a 12-7 tally in the Western Sun Conference.

Righty Steve Colombe improved to 6-2 on the season and went 6.2 innings while Ty Hamer earned save No. 5 by coaxing the final out.

Mike Pritchard’s triple in the fourth inning scored Jay Levita and gave Kaneland a 1-0 edge.

Jake Fielder hit a single in the bottom of the fifth to score Joe Camaliere, and Jeff Smith came home on an error.

The Knights got some face time at Elfstrom Stadium on Monday against rival Batavia, but lost 4-2 on a late comeback by the Bulldogs.

KHS prepares to suit up against DeKalb in a contest scheduled for Northern Illinois University on Thursday, May 21, at 4 p.m.

It all leads to an IHSA Class 3A Regional showdown at Burlington Central High School against either Hampshire or Rochelle. Besides the top-seeded Knights, who would play on Wednesday, May 27, at 4:30 p.m., (2) Sycamore and (3) Burlington Central make up the rest of the regional.

Knights outslug foes, match ’08 win total

by Mike Slodki
Knights baseball dealt with conference and non-conference rivals alike the same way: by nabbing the “W.”

The varsity Knights took it to Yorkville on Thursday afternoon under drizzly-turned-to-sunny skies and made short work of it, 12-2 in five innings.

Then, the Knights beat Yorkville on Friday, 5-2, Oswego East on Saturday 9-6, and Sycamore on Tuesday, 11-9.

Kaneland improved to 19-7 with a 10-5 Western Sun Conference record.

Joe Gura earned the win and struck out four batters while giving up just two runs on four hits on Thursday. Jeff Smith ended up 2-for-3, while Joe Camaliere plated three of the Knights’ runs. Camaliere reached on a three-base error, which allowed Jake Fieldler to score for the first run in the opening inning. By the end of the second inning, the Knights enjoyed a 7-1 lead that was buoyed by a Gura homer in the second. Kaneland scored five more runs in the fourth inning to go up 12-1 before the game was finished after the top of the fifth.

On Friday, the Knights took care of Yorkville in a 5-2 game that was continued from a Thursday stoppage due to rain. Resuming action with Kaneland leading 1-0, Yorkville came back to take a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the fifth. The Knights scored three in the top of the sixth and Fiedler walked, later coming home on a second baseman error. Jeff Smith improved to 4-1 in the win.

Kaneland nabbed its 18th win of the season, just one off its 2008 mark, with a 9-6, come-from-behind win vs. Oswego East on Saturday.

Mike Pritchard went 3-for-4 with three runs scored and a homer to left center. Jay Levita went 2-for-3 and Curtis Lubic went 2-for-2.

Lefty Troy Pritchard improved to 4-1 in a five-inning outing.

Kaneland struck first in the bottom of the second, thanks to a two-out RBI single by Lubic for a 1-0 advantage.

After Oswego East scored two in the top of the fourth inning, KHS managed to deadlock the affair on a Smith sac fly in the bottom of the inning. The Wolves took advantage of suspect fielding by the Knights to go up 5-2 after the top of the fifth, but Kaneland came back with four of its own in the bottom of the fifth.
Fiedler doubled and Camaliere walked. An errant pickoff throw put runners at first and third when Gura walked to load the bases. Mike Pritchard made it 5-4 with a two-run double and Levita gave the Knights the lead at 6-5 with a two-run single. Pritchard was up to his old tricks in the bottom of the sixth with his three-run homer in the teeth of a strong wind.

“I was just looking for my pitch with no strikes on me, and I got ahold of it,” Pritchard said.

“We didn’t really feel comfortable until the final out. We came through offensively and defensively at the end. Mike’s home run was a big lift, and he’s a leader out there,” KHS coach Brian Aversa said. “We’re going to tighten up the screws and get some guys going here.”

On Tuesday, Fiedler’s two-run homer keyed the win, played at Road Ranger Stadium in Loves Park, home of the Frontier League’s Rockford Riverhawks.

Baseball continues the homestretch of the regular season on Thursday, May 14, at Sycamore and Friday, May 15, at Batavia.

Knights have great road trip, fall at Geneva

Knights baseball played the part of road warriors this week.

For the most part, it was a successful venture.

The Knights sit at 5-2 in the opening part of the season, after having done a road trip through downstate Illinois and Missouri and losing to Geneva on Tuesday 5-3.

Last year’s planned spring break baseball road trip was washed out due to downpours, making the undefeated 2009 road trip a worthwhile venture.

On Thursday, Kaneland thwarted Springfield High School in five innings, 16-4. Friday saw the Knights defeat their Black Knight opponents 7-1, while the JV troops took home a 14-2 win.

On Saturday, the Knights got past St. Mary’s High School in St. Louis by a final of 8-0, while the JV team won by a 15-5 clip.

In the loss against the host Vikings under windy conditions on Tuesday afternoon, Kaneland was fanned 13 times and Viking Riley Perry earned the win (3-0). Kaneland lefty Jeff Smith took the loss to fall to 1-1.

Joe Camaliere scored on a wild pitch in the first inning to go up 1-0. Geneva later took a 2-1 lead. However in the fifth inning, Joe Gura drew a bases loaded walk to tie the score, and catcher Mike Pritchard beat out an infield hit to have Kaneland take a 3-2 lead. In the bottom of the fifth, Geneva slugger Cory Hofstetter slammed a two-run homer in the bottom of the inning for the 5-3 lead which stuck.

Kaneland baseball was set to host Geneva on Wednesday at press time and travel to Geneva on Thursday, April 9.

Photo: Joe Camaliere successfully slides into home for the first run of the game during the Knights’ 5-3 loss at Geneva on Tuesday. Camaliere scored on a wild pitch. Photo by Ben Draper

Spring Sports Preview: After hard times, KHS baseball answers call for 2009 campaign

by Mike Slodki
The past 12 months have seen curveballs thrown at the players on the Kaneland High School baseball team.

Thrown by life, not by pitchers.

First, Joe Spitzzeri dealt with X-Linked lymphoproliferative disease, but found his way back to health and a spot on the team. Then in December the team dealt with the tragic death of teammate Jeff Malewig.

The events of the past year give way to a squad that is familiar with crises, but also conduct baseball matters with maturity.

Along the way, they hope to build on a good 2008, according to third-year coach Brian Aversa.

The 19-12 Knights of a year ago had a regional comeback win over host Dixon before seeing a rally fall short against Sycamore in the title game.

“The hunger is still there. You see a determination from these guys and a deep work ethic, and it’s not something they talk about, but you know it’s there,” Aversa said.

A switch from previous years is that the Knights will look to pitching to get them through games more than relying on hitting.

Coming back to the squad are senior leaders Mike Pritchard and Joe Gura, both all-Western Sun Conference members a year ago.

Pritchard looks to be behind the plate, following in the footsteps of celebrated backstops Brian Claesson and Kevin McMahon. Gura looks to fill the hole at shortstop.

Pritchard hit .377 as a junior, while Gura hit at a .400 clip, going to Aversa’s hope of good balance of senior leadership along with ability from the juniors.

On the mound for the Knights: a list that looks to include seniors Troy Pritchard, Jeff Smith, Gura and Spitzzeri. Patrolling the outfield are projected to be senior Jay Levita and sophomore Joe Camaliere. Candidates for third base include Curtis Lubic.

Other seniors looking to make a contribution are 3B/P John Rotella, OF/P Ryan Stout. Juniors are OF/P Ty Hamer, OF/P Steve Colombe, 1B/P Dave Dudzinski, IF Blake Kendrick, C Aaron Hayman, 2B/SS Jake Fiedler and OF Aaron Lamp.

Kaneland’s third-place conference mark a year ago is something that was a good benchmark and will look to carry the Knights again if the conference is anything like it was a year ago.

“Up and down, the conference will be tough again,” Aversa said. “There is no one you can overlook; Batavia, Sycamore, Geneva have a lot of guys returning that we look to do well against.”

Aversa thinks whatever lineup he dishes out will have the necessary components to do battle in the WSC and beyond.

“We’re looking for a good balance of pitching and depth on defense, and they’re ready.”

4/2/09 Note on omission
In the Elburn Herald’s baseball preview article on March 26, SS/P/2B Jake Tickle was omitted. The sports department regrets the error.