Tag Archives: Sam Hansen

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.

Sterling softball too golden for Kaneland

Photo: Hayley Contorno slides safely into second on a hit by Sarah Grams in the second inning of Kaneland’s sectional playoff game against Sterling, hosted by Belvidere North, on May 30. Photo by John DiDonna

KHS softball (31-7) sees season end
in sectional semi

by Mike Slodki
BELVIDERE, Ill.—Kaneland softball’s season had more ups than downs in 2012.

Unfortunately, the Sterling Lady Warriors brand of diamond play made KHS land with a thud.

A Lady Knight lineup that saw the spectrum of convincing victories and dramatic comebacks in a regional championship—its first since 2005—fell victim to the pitching of Stephanie Kester and an opponent that plated nine runs in a 9-1 sectional semifinal result at Belvidere North High School on May 30.

Sterling lost to Marengo in the sectional final on Monday by a 2-1 clip.

Kaneland’s season ended at 31-7.

“They earned everything they got this year,” KHS coach Brian Willis said. “Certainly it’s encouraging that we’ll be getting people back, but it’s hard to comprehend right now and it’s disappointing to go out this way.”

Kester defeated Delani Vest in the pitching matchup in what would be Vest’s final varsity game.

But Vest contributed early with her bat after allowing a run in the top of the first inning.

After a double, Allyson O’Herron sacrificed her over to third base. Third baseman Paige Kuefler drove Vest home with a single but was thrown out at second.

Sterling scored twice in the second for a 3-1 deficit, and Kaneland would find itself with two runners on base for the last time in the game.

With one out, Hayley Contorno and Sarah Grams laced back-to-back singles, but Sam Hansen lined out and Vest popped out to end the threat.

Kaneland would get just two more hits the remainder of the game, and Sterling would put up two runs in the fifth, one in the sixth and three more in the seventh to ice the win.

While Sterling’s fielding kept the Lady Knights mostly in check, Willis would liked to have seen enough hitting for the defense to be irrelevant.

“We bunted the ball too hard, it was right to their third baseman, and I would put it more on us than I would on them.”

With the conclusion of Kaneland’s softball year, the program says goodbye to seniors Vest, Hansen, McKinzie Mangers, Alexis Villarreal and Sarah Kitz.

Regional Rally

Photo: Sam Hansen leaps into the arms of fellow Class 3A IMSA Regional-winning teammates on Saturday after Kaneland’s 9-5 win over Yorkville. Photo by Patti Wilk

Furious 6th inning leads to comeback over YHS for Regional

by Mike Slodki
AURORA—There’s a saying that if you give someone an inch, they’ll take a mile.

In the case of Lady Knights softball, give them the sixth inning, they’ll score six runs.

Kaneland softball (31-6) scored nine runs in its final two at-bats during Saturday’s Class 3A Regional Championship at Illinois Math and Science Academy against the second-seeded Yorkville Lady Foxes for a 9-5 win and its first regional plaque in seven years.

“We’ve been doing this all year,” coach Brian Willis said. “They never quit. I didn’t have to say anything. They know what they’re capable of.”

Kaneland got into the final with a 10-0, six-inning triumph over fourth seed Rosary on May 23.
Delani Vest earned the win in both games.

“Since freshman year I’ve wanted to win a regional championship. It feels awesome to finally get one, and we really had to push through this one,” Vest said.

Yorkville went up 1-0 in the third inning, and it remained that way until the bottom of the fifth.

With one out, Allyson O’Herron singled, as did Paige Kuefler. Lanie Callaghan laced another single for an RBI to tie the game. With two outs, Lexi Roach redeemed her third-inning at-bat that left two runners stranded with a triple to give Kaneland a 3-1 lead.

“That was the biggest hit, no question,” O’Herron said. “That got us going.”

After Yorkville put up four runs on Vest in the top of the sixth, Kaneland’s lineup came alive with six runs after 11 girls came to the plate.

With the score 5-4 after a Vest RBI, McKinzie Mangers lifted a flyball out of the right-fielders reach that plated two more for the 6-5 lead. Sarah Grams and Roach came up with two more run-scoring hits.

In the seventh, Sam Hansen caught a liner at second base, triggering a celebration.

“We are confident. This shows that we could do it, and we have to ride the wave,” O’Herron said.

The sectional wave was scheduled for Wednesday at Belvidere North against Sterling. Sterling won the game 9-1, ending the KHS season. See the June 7 edition of the Elburn Herald for game coverage.

Lady Knights get last swings before playoffs

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—At the very least, Lady Knights softball can be encouraged by the offense going into an uncertain playoff campaign.

KHS lit up the Saturday scoreboard with a doubleheader sweep of Rosary, 9-8 and 14-4 in five innings, after dropping a 5-2 decision to Marengo on Thursday.

The Lady Knights finished the regular season at 14-17.

In the first game on Saturday, Rosary took a 7-5 lead afrer two in the top of the fourth. After going ahead 8-5 in the top of the sixth, KHS rallied with a four-run barrage in the bottom of the sixth, and retired the Royals in the seventh for the win.

Rilee Vest went 2-for-3 with two RBI, while Katy Dudzinski went 2-for-4 with a double and two RBI.

The second game went well for Kaneland, as they put up runs in every inning of play, and went out to an 8-1 lead after two. The Lady Knights won it with one run in the bottom of the fifth, putting a cap on a 17-hit outing.

Andrea Potts went 2-for-4 with two HR’s and six driven in, while Vest went 3-for-4 with and RBI. Teammate Sam Hansen went 2-for-2 with three runs.

Dudzinski suffered the loss against the visiting Indians on Thursday.

In underclass action on Thursday, the JV team put up 14 runs in the first inning en route to a 29-2 win over Rockford East.

The sophomores swept host Rosary, 5-3 and 11-10.

Scheduled for Thursday, May 26, was Kaneland’s first regional test as the No.3 seed in the Kaneland Regional against second-seeded Sycamore. The winner of the Sycamore-Kaneland matchup was slated to face either No. 1 Burlington Central or No. 4 Rochelle for the regional title on Saturday, May 28, at 11 a.m.

The Kaneland Regional winner moves on against potential opponents like Sterling or Geneseo in the Rochelle Sectional on Thursday, June 2.

Softball finished by Sycamore

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lady Knights stage comeback

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

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

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

Sophomore Delani Vest fanned seven batters for the win.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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