Tag Archives: Zach Martinelli

Martinelli_Zack_Football_player_2013

Martinelli playing football at Central College

PELLA, IOWA—Zach Martinelli of Elburn, a wide receiver and recent Kaneland graduate, is a member of the Central College football team.

The Dutch are the third-winningest football team of any college or university in the U.S. since 1975 (.805 winning percentage) and have not had a losing season since 1960. Central has captured a record 30 Iowa Conference championships with 20 NCAA Division III playoff berths, including 17 in the past 26 years.

Coach Jeff McMartin entered his 10th season ranked 12th among active NCAA Division III coaches in career winning percentage, posting a 73-23 (.760) mark. Central returns 44 letterwinners and 19 starters (7 off., 8 def., 4 specialty) from last year’s 5-5 squad.

KHS fall sports announce awards

Kaneland—The Kaneland High School fall sports programs recently concluded their respective awards nights.

Cross Country—Boys
• Most Valuable Runner: Kyle Carter, Conor Johnson
• Most Improved Runner: Nathaniel Kucera
• Larry Eddington Award for Courage, Leadership and Strength—Nick Messina
• Captains—Kyle Carter, Conor Johnson, Brad Kigyos
• Golden Knight Award—Freshman: Kyle Osborne; Sophomore: Andrew Lesak; Junior: Ryan Bower; Senior: Gus Stott
• State Qualifiers—Kyle Carter, Conor Johnson, Nathaniel Kucera, John Meisinger, Ryan Bower, Brandon Huber, Ryan Paulson, Luis Acosta
• All Conference—Kyle Carter

Cross Country—Girls
• Captains—Abby Dodis, Maggie Brundige, Ashley Castellanos
• Most Improved Runner—Jessica Kucera, Sydney Strang
• Most Valuable Runner—Victoria Clinton
• All Conference—Victoria Clinton, Brianna Bower, Abby Dodis, Sydney Strang, Amanda Lesak
• State Qualifiers—Victoria Clinton, Aislinn Lodwig, Sydney Strang, Abby Dodis, Ashley Castellanos, Maggie Brundige, Amanda Lesak, Brianna Bower
• All State, State Champion—Victoria Clinton

Football
• Captains—Blake Bradford, Ryan Lawrence, Dan Goress, Kory Harner, Nick Sharp
• Most Improved Player—Bradley Johnson
• Most Valuable Player—Blake Bradford
• Offensive MVP—Zach Martinelli
• Defensive MVP—Gary Koehring
• Special Teams MVP—Matt Rodriguez
• NIB XII All Conference—Zach Theis, Nick Sharpe, Alex Snyder, Zach Martinelli, Jesse Balluff, Drew David, Justin Diddell, Jaumaureo Phillips, Blake Bradford, Kory Harner, Gary Koehring, Ryan Lawrence, Matt Rodriguez

Golf
• Varsity Most Improved Player—Jessy Denton
• Varsity MVP—Matt Yonkovich
• Fresh/Soph MVP—Jeremy Faletto
• Fresh/Soph Most Improved Player—Tori Guyton, C.J. Wehrmann
• All Conference—Matt Yonkovich, Connor Williams, Brody Kuhar, Luke Kreiter
• State Qualifiers—Connor Williams, Luke Kreiter, Matt Yonkovick, Brody Kuhar, Dan Miller, Sean Glennon

Soccer
• Captains—Alex Gil, Anthony Parillo, Marshall Farthing, Sam Rymarz, Alec Koczka, Ivan Bohorquez
• Most Improved Player—Jason Biddle, Marshall Farthing
• Most Valuable Player—Alex Gil, Anthony Parillo
• Rookie of the Year—Ivan Bohorquez
• Coach’s Award—Tyler Siebert, Alec Koczka, Chris Van Dinther, J.T. Karr
• Offensive Player of the Year—Anthony Parillo
• Defensive Player of the Year—Sam Rymarz
• Player of the Year—Anthony Parillo
• All Conference—Marshall Farthing, Alex Gil, Anthony Parillo, Alec Koczka, Sam Rymarz
• All Conference-Honorable Mention—Arsim Azemi
• All Sectional-Honorable Mention—Arsim Azemi
• All Sectional—Alex Gil, Marshall Farthing
• All State—Anthony Parillo

Tennis
• Team Spirit Awards—Varsity: Jess Woodward; JV: Katelyn Blaszynski
• Most Improved Awards—Varsity: Colleen Landers; JV: Mallory Dugan
• MVP—Sarah Grams, Stephanie Zwick
• Outstanding Achievement Awards—School Record: 38 wins—Madison Jurcenko, Angelica Emmanouil; 1st Singles player to qualify for the State Tournament—Samantha Schrepferman
• State Qualifiers—Madison Jurcenko, Angelica Emmanouil, Samantha Schrepferman
• All Conference—Madison Jurcenko, Angelica Emmanouil, Samantha Schrepferman, Sarah Grams

Volleyball
• Most Improved Player—Emily Laudont, Keri Groen
• Spirit Award—Rachael Clinton
• MVP—Jenny Lubic
• Top Offensive Player—Ellie Dunn
• Top Defensive Player—Shayna Tucek
• All Conference—Ellie Dunn, Lauren Banbury

No-Way for Knight football

Photo: Quarterback Drew David looks downfield under good blocking during the second quarter at Lincoln-Way West on Saturday. Photo by Patti Wilk

Lincoln-Way West builds big lead, eliminates Kaneland in second-round action
by Mike Slodki
NEW LENOX, Ill.—It’s been awhile since the Knight football team has seen that kind of offensive and defensive output from a playoff opponent.

The newest of the four Lincoln-Way schools, the Warriors from the West, used their playmakers to the best of their ability while employing their stingy defense on the way to a 31-15 upset of the Kaneland crew on Saturday afternoon.

In the first meeting of the two schools on the football field, the Warriors pressured Drew David and also broke long gains throughout the day in a meeting of No. 1 and No. 9 seeds in the Class 5A playoffs.

For Kaneland, it marks the earliest exit for the squad since 2009, when rival Sycamore bested the host Knights, 40-13, in a first-round matchup.

The Warriors improve to 8-3 on the year, while KHS finishes the season at 10-1, but still is 6-4 in its last 10 playoff encounters. The Knights will also enter 2013 with its 28-game regular season win streak intact.

Junior Drew David had his toughest game of the 2012 campaign, still nursing an injured hand. He was sacked seven times and threw for 84 yards with three interceptions.

L-WW saw its first scoring drive end with a nine-yard touchdown pass from Justin Keuch to Nick Andrade with 5:20 left in the first for a 7-0 lead.

L-WW struck again in the second quarter on a 10-play drive that ended with a 26-yard touchdown run out of the Wildcat formation by senior transfer Lavonte Blackful on fourth down for a 14-0 edge with 7:47 to go before halftime.

Kaneland fell victim to an interception on the ensuing drive’s second play, and runs by Blackful and Javier Montalvo set up a 22-yard field goal from Joe Leo with 2:00 left for a 17-0 lead going into the break.

The Warriors expanded on their lead when the running attack set up a 10-yard TD strike to Jake Robbins with 8:01 remaining in the third for a 24-0 edge.

Jesse Balluff (30) comforts quarterback Drew David (4) at the end of their playoff loss to Lincoln-Way West on Saturday. Photo by Patti Wilk

A dagger came after a KHS punt set up the hosts at their own 18, but Blackful went 82 yards for a score on a sweep with 2:24 remaining in the third for a 31-0 lead.

Kaneland finally found the end zone thanks to a nine-yard touchdown pass from Tyler Carlson to Zach Martinelli with 2:06 to go. Martinelli ran in the two-point try to make it 31-8. On its next possession, the Knights’ Carlson ran it in from the four with :47 left for the final 16-point margin.

KHS coach Tom Fedderly gave credit to the Warriors, a force to be reckoned with.

“It was tough, but we kind of got behind so much that we really had to go to our passing game,” Fedderly said. “We knew going in that we’d have to mix things up. To their credit, those guys did a great job. Offensively, they moved the ball on us.”

Lincoln-Way West faces Joliet Catholic in the third round, as the Hilltoppers beat Tinley Park on Saturday, 42-21.

NIB-12 champions

Last-minute heroics lead to win over Morris, 3rd-straight conference crown
by Mike Slodki
Kaneland—It was anyone’s ballgame to win.

By virtue of heightened play on their last drive, coupled with a bit of luck, it turned out to be Kaneland’s ballgame.

Echoing the dramatic narrative histrionics of a year ago in Grundy County, it came down to the Knights’ final possession against Morris on Friday, with Drew David throwing a five-yard, game-winning touchdown pass to Zach Martinelli with :27 left for a 33-30 win.

“We’ve run that route numerous times all year, and Drew put that ball on the money,” Martinelli said. “It couldn’t have been any better. I saw it coming and I was smiling.”

The win cemented Kaneland’s third straight undefeated regular season. Kaneland’s program has now won 28 regular season games in a row. Counting the postseason, KHS is 34-3 in its last 37 contests.

The Knights also finish the regular season as Northern Illinois Big XII East division champions and have never lost a conference game.

Kaneland outgained the visiting Redskins by a count of 408-280 and advanced 200 yards on the ground in the win.

Jesse Balluff provided immense support for the Knights with a 140-yard rushing effort with a touchdown, and even took some snaps out of the Wildcat formation to relieve David, who is still recovering from a nagging hand injury.

Morris quarterback Zach Cinnamon had a team-high 81 yards rushing.

His counterpart, David, was 13-for-21 for 208 yards with three touchdowns and an interception.

“I didn’t play last Friday, and I felt a little out of the game rhythm, but once we got back on the field for the first play I was good to go,” David said.

Martinelli was the top receiver with six catches for 124 yards.

KHS struck first in the opening frame, thanks to a third-down pass under pressure to Martinelli for a 59-yard touchdown with :10 left in the first for a 7-0 lead.

A kickoff return for a touchdown by Morris was called back because of a penalty, negating Morris’ chance to answer.

Morris’ first score came on a Cinnamon touchdown run from the 15-yard line with 4:21 remaining in the half.

KHS seemed to be moving toward another score, but a tipped pass was picked off by Josh Lincoln at the 5-yard line and returned all the way back to the 16-yard line of KHS. With time for one play, Fernando DelToro’s 33-yard field goal try ended the half with the Redskins taking a 10-7 lead.

Third-quarter scoring got underway with Balluff galloping over a tackler and going for a 53-yard touchdown with 8:38 remaining for a 14-10 lead in the third quarter.

The following drive went eight plays, featuring Balluff runs and a pass to Kyle Pollastrini. However, the drive stalled, allowing Matt Rodriguez to boot a 41-yard field goal for a 17-10 lead with 3:10 remaining.

Morris took five plays to find the end zone as Anthonee Monson scored on a 16-yard TD pass with :56 left in the frame to tie the score.

The fourth quarter began with six Balluff runs and a 39-yard field goal for a 20-17 lead with 9:52 remaining in regulation.

Morris used an Austin Hogan kickoff return to set up shop at the KHS 31. Reese Sobol scored on a 20-yard touchdown run on the fourth play of the drive for a 24-20 Morris lead with 8:01 remaining.

Kaneland made good on the next drive: an eight-play, 70-yard drive that ended with Dylan Nauert catching a touchdown pass from the 14 out of trips formation for a 27-24 edge with 4:10 remaining.

The two squads traded punts with Morris scoring next, thanks to a 49-yard scamper by Cinnamon with 1:58 remaining. The extra-point try was no good, but Morris still led 30-27.

After two incomplete passes, David rushed for 15, 33 and two yards to put the Knights in solid Redskins territory.

A pass to Pollastrini was good for 19 yards, which set up the final successful play.

Morris had a chance to drive 69 yards in 21 seconds, but Cinnamon was sacked on the final play.

“We go every week saying it’s going to be a four-quarter game,” KHS coach Tom Fedderly. “We’ve got to play every single second of the game until the last play is done, and we had to do it tonight.”

Kaneland, as the No. 1 seed on its side of the bracket, will host No. 16 Belvidere at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 27. Kaneland held on against the Bucs in the first round of the 2011 playoffs for a 51-45 barnburner.

IHSA Class 5A Playoff Notes
No. 1 Kaneland will host Belvidere High School in the first round of the Class 5A State Series.

Belvidere comes to Kaneland with a 5-4 overall record, and averages a 12.2 scoring deficit for the year.

Meanwhile, Kaneland enters the playoffs with a perfect 9-0 record, outscoring its opponents by an average 28.1 points per game.

Higher ground

Photo: The Knights go up to try and block a Sycamore extra point during the first quarter of Kaneland’s 30-7 Homecoming win. Photo by Patti Wilk

Kaneland gets best of Sycamore in a rush in Homecoming game
by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—There’s beauty in simplicity.

Kaneland kept it simple on Friday night at Peterson Field, brought on by necessity after quarterback Drew David was spelled before the game by sophomore backup Tyler Carlson due to injury.

The Knights utilized a clock-munching, punishing ground game with different formations, and saw the defense also get in on the act en route to a 30-7 win in Northern Illinois Big XII Conference play.

Kaneland’s mark improved to 8-0, marking that particular stat for the third straight year, and 4-0 in the NIB-12 East.

Sycamore fell to 5-3 (2-2 NIB-12), and hasn’t beaten Kaneland in regular season play since a 37-7 win on Sept. 14, 2007, along Spartan Trail.

Kaneland lost to the Spartans in first-round playoff action on Halloween night, 2009, in Maple Park.

Not needing to go complicated with a first-time starter behind center, and having the ground tools at its expense, the Knights got 177 yards rushing from Jesse Balluff, and 104 from Carlson in the win.

“We came into this game thinking normal playbook, same plays, everything like that,” Balluff said. “The running was working so we went to that more.”

The scoring started from the Spartan end, thanks to a touchdown run from senior ballcarrier Austin Culton on the lengthy opening drive to make it 7-0 halfway through the first frame.

Beginning from their own 19, Kaneland used two runs by Carlson, including a 27-yard carry, and three by Balluff to get into position for a 1-yard scoring run by Carlson with 3:22 remaining in the first for a 7-7 tie.

The defense took the stage on Sycamore’s next drive, thanks to a stuff of Dion Hooker by Gary Koehring in the endzone to take the lead for good, 9-7, with 2:13 to go in the first.

“Our line got such a good push. They had him stuffed in the backfield. All I had to do was wrap him up and take him down,” Koehring said.

The second quarter featured another score from the Knights, with a drive beginning at the 38 of Sycamore. Three runs by Carlson and another by Balluff set up a third-and-8 from the 26, when Brandon Bishop hauled in a 16-yard pass.

Balluff took the next carry and powered his way through the middle for a touchdown to make it 16-7 with 1:33 before halftime.

Kaneland’s second-half opening drive came up empty after a missed 40-yard field goal try by Matt Rodriguez was returned to the Kaneland 33.

Justin Diddell stonewalled a Culton carry on 4th-and-1 at the Knight 24 to reverse possession.

A 10-play drive that featured a Zach Martinelli 20-yard catch sandwiched around runs from Carlson, Balluff and Dylan Nauert, led to a Balluff 14-yard score with :34 left in the third.

Carlson found a hole for a nine-yard scoring run to make the final margin of 23 with 6:35 remaining.

Morris comes into town to finish the regular season in a battle of undefeated squads on Friday, Oct. 19.

Morris hosted Kaneland a year ago with the NIB-12 East on the line and lost 31-28.

Knights road ends with loss in St. Charles

Photo: Tyler Carlson holds off on a pitch in the dirt. File Photo

KANELAND—After traveling for summer league regional wins over rivals out west, it was the closest opponent that proved damaging.

In the summer regional hosted by St. Charles East High School, the semifinal matchup went to the host Saints, as they pounded the Kaneland crew by a final of 11-0 in five innings on July 17.

Kaneland had successful trips to Machesney Park to beat Harlem, 6-1, on July 15, and Rock Island by a 6-5 tab.

St. Charles East, the fifth seed, defeated Marmion Academy and Geneva in the opening two rounds.

Kaneland ended its summer campaign at 15-13.

Kaneland saw pivotal contributions from John Hopkins and Blake Sowell on the mound during league play, and Zach Martinelli, Tyler Carlson, Joe Komel and Joe Pollastrini at the plate during the summer.

The Saints then lost to Crystal Lake South in the regional final on Thursday, with the Gators going to the Elite 8 in Naperville after a 20-7 win.

No decay in Decatur area for Knights baseball

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Semifinal sting: Montini edges KHS, 35-31

Photo: Receiver Sean Carter hauls in a pass during Saturday night’s Class 5A
playoff semifinal battle with defending champion Montini. Photo by John DiDonna

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—Sequels can be more entertaining and gripping than the original, but for Kaneland football and its fans, the ending to this particular drama was still hard to take.

Jordan Westerkamp’s touchdown catch with 2 minutes, three seconds remaining in the game was the final blow in a 35-31 loss to Montini Catholic on Saturday night, ending the Knights’ quest for Class 5A State glory at 12-1.

Kaneland held the lead for nearly 25 minutes going from the second quarter to late in the fourth, but as it stood, Montini tries for its third straight title against the Hilltoppers of Joliet Catholic on Saturday, Nov. 26, at the University of Illinois.

Kaneland still has won 24 of 26 contests, and hasn’t lost in the regular season since Week eight of 2009.

Montini outgained Kaneland by a 407-366 yard margin, but it was more of the toe-to-toe fight Knight faithful were looking for after last year’s 27-14 setback in the semifinal to the Broncos.

“Our kids played their hearts out,” KHS coach Tom Fedderly said. “I’m so proud of our team, they came out and didn’t back down.”

Montini’s John Rhode was 20-for-35 for 230 yards with one touchdown and an interception. Counterpart Drew David was 16-for-31 for 165 yards and a touchdown.

Bronco Joseph Borsellino was the leading receiver with 123 yards on nine catches. Knight Jesse Balluff was the leading target out of the backfield with 69 yards. Balluff added a prolific 143 yards rushing, a game high. Bronco Dimitri Taylor had 111 of his own.

Montini got on the board first with a one-yard run out of the wildcat formation from Borsellino with 1:13 left in the opening frame for a 7-0 lead. Balluff tied matters soon after with an 81-yard scoring scamper down the sideline just 23 ticks later, and Taylor came back 36 seconds after that with a 48-yard TD run for a 14-7 deficit.

The second quarter belonged to KHS, thanks to a Balluff TD run from 18 yards away with 7:51 to go and a tie-breaking 26-yard field goal from Matt Rodriguez with 3:14 left, and the Knights went into the locker room up 17-14.

In the second half, things improved for KHS when Zach Martinelli made an acrobatic touchdown catch from 18 yards away, giving Kaneland a 24-14 lead with 9:01 to go in the third. Borsellino scored again from two yards out with 5:53 to go to close within 24-21. David’s four-yard plunge with 1:38 to go in the third marked the last Knight score of the season, and a 31-21 lead.

Zach Martinelli has made his share of integral catches. It was time for No. 11 to make an exceptional catch. Shifting his body to get the edge on Bronco defenders, Martinelli grabbed the ball in mid air and fell to the end zone with 9:01 to go in the third quarter, giving the Knights a 24-14 lead

With 12 minutes to go before the Knights conceivably could start their Champaign journey, the Broncos’ Taylor completed the ensuing drive after David’s TD with a 31-yard scoring run just 30 seconds into the quarter, making it 31-28.

In crunch-time, Montini’s drive stalled at the Knight 46, leading to a punt. The Knights, however, went three-and-out, giving the ball back to the Broncos. Montini went 52 yards, ending with Westerkamp’s 19-yard paydirt play.

KHS then stalled at its own 47, on an incompletion to Sean Carter.

“We wanted to be close and have it come down to the fourth quarter, and it didn’t happen tonight,” Fedderly said.

The Knights, who still had a season to remember, have now lost their last three State semifinal games. Their 2006 nemesis, Marian Central Catholic of Woodstock, lost in this year’s quarterfinal to Montini.

Opportunity knocks for Kaneland

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kaneland baseball lineup clinches share of NIB-12

KANELAND—Rosters change from year to year, so do conference alignments, but success doesn’t have to.

After a 7-1 win over Morris on Thursday, Kaneland cinched a tie for the Northern Illinois Big XII Conference East Division title with the Redskins.

Additionally, after an 8-3 win on Tuesday over visiting Wheaton Academy, the Knights found themselves at 15-10 overall with a 10-5 mark in NIB-12 play.

Sycamore had a chance to make it a three-way tie for the conference, but lost on Thursday.

This marks the second straight conference crown for the Knights, who last year captured the Western Sun Conference outright.

Kaneland’s Kyle Davidson produced a win after a complete-game effort of three hits allowed and seven strikeouts.

Bobby Thorson showed his penchant for the long-ball with a three-run homer in the fifth inning, while Cory Landers also hit a homer with two runs scored.

Sophomore action had Kaneland beat Morris by an 11-7 final. Zach Martinelli went 4-for-4 and Matt Limbrunner got the win. KHS sophomore baseball saw its record improve to 20-4 (13-2 NIB-12) en route to a conference title.

Against the Warriors, the Knights were behind 3-2 in the sixth before a prolific six-run rally in the bottom of the inning.

Davidson, bound for Millikin University in Decatur, Ill., this fall, had yet another iron-man type outing with seven innings thrown and four K’s, while giving up just two earned runs on seven hits.

Thorson went 2-for-3 with 3 RBI and a homer, while Drew French went 2-for-3 with two RBI and a double.

Senior Night For a Cause
Thursday, May 19, at Elfstrom Stadium in Geneva,
Kaneland and Batavia High School baseball teams hold their Senior Nights. The sophomore game starts at 4:30 p.m., with varsity at 6:45 p.m.

The two schools will celebrate their seniors, along with raising funds for David Helm, 4-year-old brother of KHS two-sport standout Daniel Helm. David has been diagnosed with leukemia and is undergoing treatment.

David plans to throw the ceremonial first pitch to brother Daniel before the start of the varsity game.

For how you can help and to monitor David’s progress, check:
www.caringbridge.org/visit/davidhelm

Feeling Big Blue
Kaneland senior Kyle Davidson plans to attend Millikin University in Decatur, Ill., for the next step in his baseball life.

Millikin, part of the College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin, was also the college home of KHS head coach Brian Aversa.

“Kyle can expect to work his butt off for a starting position. I’m sure there are guys on the team in front of him, but the good thing about college is if you perform you will play, no matter what year you are in school,” Aversa said.

Davidson, who has pitched and played shortstop this season, was also a standout football player and wrestler for Kaneland. The senior is 5-0 on the mound in 2011.

“Kyle’s mound presence and glove on defense are both solid and his bat has been great this year as well. Taking his skills to Millikin will do wonders for them, and I’m sure that he will excel himself,” Aversa said.