Tag Archives: Tom Fox

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.

No repeat trip for Kaneland baseball

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Knight baseball riding 1st-place wave

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

Aversa’s troops in NIB-12 drivers seat

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Limbrunner retired the final batter to earn a save.

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

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

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

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

Hopkins’ CG key to win over Sycamore

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—Knight pitcher John Hopkins kept the ball down, and with it, the chances for Sycamore to break through.

Using an array of pitches that worked, the Hopkins’ complete-game effort raised his mark to 4-2, while yielding only five hits on two runs in a 5-2 win on Monday afternoon in Sycamore.

Inducing grounders was the name of the game.

“We know that of John,” KHS coach Brian Aversa said. “They’ll drill it to shortstop, and the defense kept runners off the bases.”

“I’ve been trying to keep the ball low and trying to get grounders or to pop up,” Hopkins said.

It was a considerably better outcome than Thursday’s 4-2 loss to the Yorkville Foxes in Maple Park.

Kaneland still has a hold on the Northern Illinois Big XII mantle with a 15-8 mark and an 8-2 record in conference action.

In the win over SHS, Ray Barry acquitted himself in the leadoff role with a 2-for-4 day with a double and two stolen bases. Tyler Heinle had a 2-for-4 day with an RBI, as well.

With a scoreless deadlock in the fifth and two runners on, Heinle blasted an RBI single, followed by another run-scoring smack from Tom Fox. After Sycamore tied the score at 2-2, Kaneland rallied in the top of the sixth.

A fielding error by the shortstop allowed Hopkins to race home from second base for the go-ahead run, and Jake Razo laced a two-RBI double for the final 5-2 lead.

Bryan VanBogaert was tagged with the loss in 5.2 innings of work against the Foxes, and no earned runs given up.

Baseball holds own in NIB-12 conference play

Photo: Second baseman Joe Pollastrini tries to turn a double play in the fourth inning, but the ball was just a little late getting to first baseman Jordan Jones during Kaneland’s home game against Yorkville on Monday. Photo by John DiDonna

KANELAND—Much like last year, the Knight nine are taking care of business as the calendar turns pages on the season.

Wins over Yorkville, Wheaton Academy and DeKalb have the first-place KHS baseball crew feeling quite good.

Kaneland’s (14-7, 7-1 Northern Illinois Big XII) steady pitching went well with just enough hitting on Thursday in DeKalb.

The 2-1 victory was earned with a single run in the second and fifth innings, and Matt Limbrunner (1-0) took the win in a starting assignment. The tall right-hander went 6.2 innings and allowed no earned runs on four hits.

Ray Barry swiped three bases and scored both runs, while Jordan Jones produced an RBI.

In a 6-0 Saturday shutout of Wheaton Academy, the Knights got help on the mound from Jones, who went five innings and allowed four hits. Barry went 2-for-4 and swiped three more bases, along with his double and two RBI, while Tyler Heinle went 2-for-3 with an RBI and run.

On Monday, the Knights engineered an 8-6 win against the Yorkville Foxes. Down 3-1 in the third, KHS scored two in the third and four in the fourth for a lead before YHS tied matters with runs in the fifth and sixth. Kaneland’s two-run sixth gave the the hosts the edge.

Bryan VanBogaert improved to 2-1 with a win in relief, while Jordan Jones earned the save in a perfect seventh inning.

Tom Fox was 3-for-4 at the plate with a triple and three RBI, while Joe Pollastrini was 2-for-2 with two doubles and a walk.

In Kendall County, the Knights erased a 2-1 deficit with two runs in the top of the seventh to subdue the Foxes.

Trevor Storck improved to 4-0 on the year with a six hitter, in which he allowed just two earned runs.

Tyler Heinle went 1-for-3 with a run scored, as did brother Trever Heinle.

The Knights are at Yorkville on Thursday, April 26.

Two out of three ain’t bad

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

State department

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Best Week Ever for State-bound Kaneland baseball

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

IHSA Class 3A State
Tournament

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

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

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

Knights baseball hit field fully depth-charged

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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