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Spring training hitting, defensive fundamentals camp

in Baseball/Community Sports by

Kaneland—Any children between grades three and eight are invited to attend the Kaneland 2013 Spring Training Hitting and Defensive Fundamentals Camp.

The camp will be held on Monday and Tuesday, March 25 and 26. Grades 3 through 5 will gather from 9 to 10:30 a.m. each day, and grades 6 through 8 will be from 10:30 a.m. to noon each day.

Each child will be filmed while hitting and given an analysis of their swing. Additionally, they will learn the fundamentals of infield and outfield play.

Cost is $50, which includes two days of instruction from KHS coaches and players, and a camp T-shirt, which will be provided to all players who register by Friday, March 15.

For more information, contact Brian Aversa at (630) 365-5100, ext 379, or by email at brian.aversa@kaneland.org.

Swing shift | 2013 Spring Sports Preview

in Baseball/Featured by

Photo: Shortstop Trever Heinle saves the ball from going into the outfield on a high throw while a Yorville player steals second during Kaneland’s home game against Yorkville last season. File Photo

Kaneland nine ready to reach previous heights
by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—If Kaneland baseball has its way, the past stands to serve as the prologue to something bigger and better.

After a thrilling 3A title win at Silver Cross Field in Joliet, Ill., to end 2011, the Knights were upended in the regional semifinal by Northern Illinois Big XII rival DeKalb to conclude 2012.

All the varsity crew from the championship victory have departed, but the imprint from that amazing moment is still felt by current call-ups to the varsity crew.

“All of those players from the state team have graduated now,” seventh-year KHS coach Brian Aversa said. “It means a lot to these juniors and seniors who were in the stands watching how special that run was to State; something they strived to support. They know what it takes without being able to call themselves champs, yet.”

Returning to the varsity ranks from a 24-11 season are Kyle Pollastrini, Matt Limbrunner, Zach Martinelli, Joe Pollastrini, Ty Bellock, Matt Kucera, John Hopkins, Josh Cohrs, Dan Miller, Lane David and Clarke University-bound Blake Sowell.

Newly donning a varsity jersey in 2013 are seniors Austen Davis, Nick Albano, Jake Parry and Josh Sitterly. Juniors are Joe Komel, Tyler Carlson, Curtis Thorson, Lucas Wolski, Nate Hopkins, Nick Henne and Nick Stahl.

It’s up to the new varsity group to strike out the bad taste left by last year’s earlier-than-preferred exit.

“The DeKalb loss was exactly what happens when you think you are owed something that you haven’t gone out and earned,” Aversa said. “We have used that as an early coaching point, but we are now well past that, and those problems from last year are long gone. We are now back to business as usual, focusing on our fourth conference championship in a row.”

Despite the field being covered in snow, which can result in cabin fever, the players are getting their cuts in whenever they can, including evening practices.

“I haven’t seen another group work as much and soak up as much as these kids have. You can just see the burning desire that they all have. Not having to talk about the intangibles of hustle, heart, desire and will makes all the difference in this group,” Aversa said.

With the start of the campaign looming, Aversa’s current projections have an outfield three of Kyle Pollastrini, Martinelli and Miller. Bellock, Kucera, Nate Hopkins and Lucas Wolski would bring depth.

The infield would look like John Hopkins at the hot corner, Joe Pollastrini at shortstop, a platoon of Sowell, Carlson, Davis and Sitterly at second base, and Limbrunner at first. Komel will see time at first and designated hitter, with Carlson seeing time at third along with Parry.

The arms for Kaneland prove to be one of the major strengths of the club with John Hopkins, Limbrunner and Sowell as the top three. Komel will look to shut down late-inning threats in relief. Kyle Pollastrini, Thorson and Stahl also provide depth out of the bullpen. Sitterly, Albano, Joe Pollastrini, Bellock, Nate Hopkins, Davis and Henne could also see key mound-time before the year is out.

Threats hit the NIB-12 landscape with all eyes on KHS, and Aversa is aware of the talent from the area.

“Sycamore and Yorkville are the two who I think are loaded this year, with DeKalb close behind. Morris is always tough, and Rochelle has some talent coming up,” Aversa said. “We will be ready, and the road for conference has to go through Maple Park. It has for the past three years, and until we don’t finish in first, we will continue to think that way,” Aversa said.

The season kicks off in Maple Park on Monday, March 18, against Machesney Park’s Harlem High School. The first NIB-12 East Division matchup is set for Monday, April 8, at Rochelle.

KHS Baseball Roster

Name Projected positions
Nick Albano P
Ty Bellock OF/P
Tyler Carlson IF
Josh Cohrs
Lane David
Austen Davis IF/P
Nick Henne P
John Hopkins IF/P
Nate Hopkins OF/P
Joe Komel IF/DH/P
Matt Kucera OF
Matt Limbrunner IF/P
Zach Martinelli OF
Dan Miller OF
Jake Parry IF
Joe Pollastrini IF/P
Kyle Pollastrini OF/P
Josh Sitterly IF/P
Blake Sowell IF/P
Nick Stahl P
Curtis Thorson P
Lucas Wolski OF

Baseball career goes to the next level

in Baseball/Featured by

Photo: Blake Sowell of Elburn with his parents, Roxanna and Brady Sowell, 13-year-old brother, Reece Sowell and coach Brian Aversa. Courtesy Photo

Kaneland—KHS senior pitcher Blake Sowell on Feb. 14 signed a letter of intent, accepting an athletic scholarship to play baseball for the Clarke University Crusaders. Clarke University is a Division II NAIA university in Dubuque, Iowa. Sowell will now attend Clarke in the fall of 2013.

The Crusaders had a 20-win season in 2012 with 20 losses. They were 15-9 in the Midwest Collegiate Conference (MCC). The Crusaders are coached by Dan Spain, who is in his second year as head coach. The Kaneland Knights are coached by Brian Aversa and are coming off of a successful 2012 season and a Conference Championship a year after winning the Illinois 3A State Championship.

During the signing event, Sowell expressed his appreciation to Coach Aversa, as well as the other coaches in the Kaneland High School baseball program: coach Dan Hallahan and Ernie Colombe. Sowell said all of the coaches played an integral part of Sowell’s development and success.

WCC offers fall high school baseball

in Baseball/Waubonsee Sports by

Sugar Grove—Waubonsee Community College will host a fall baseball league for high school players who are not participating in any fall high school sports.

This IHSA-approved league is the area’s longest running and most economical fall league. Over 2,000 players have participated throughout the past 27 years, with hundreds going on to compete at the collegiate level.

The league is scheduled to run from Thursday, Aug. 30, through the end of September.

Games will be played every Tuesday and Thursday during the month of September, beginning at 4 p.m. each day. All games will be played on Waubonsee Community College’s baseball diamond in Sugar Grove, and all players signed up are guaranteed playing time. Each of the eight game days will provide players the opportunity to use Waubonsee’s outdoor hitting facility that features two astro-turfed batting cages and multiple hitting stations.

Individuals interested in playing should attend an organizational meeting on Wednesday, Aug. 29, at 4:30 p.m. on the Sugar Grove campus. The meeting will take place in Room 219 of Erickson Hall, Waubonsee’s gymnasium, with a $60 fee due at that time.

For more information, contact Waubonsee baseball coach Dave Randall at (630) 466-2527.

Knights road ends with loss in St. Charles

in Baseball by

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.

KHS baseball in regional semi

in Baseball by

Photo: Joe Komel, handling first base duties for Kaneland High School’s summer league squadron, is shown moving toward home with the ball in play during last week’s action in Batavia.The summer homestretch began on Monday with a 6-1 win over Harlem High School on Monday. File Photo

KANELAND—It’s not the spring athletic season, but there’s still things to play for if your Kaneland High School baseball.

The Knight boys played a 26-game summer season before entering regional action, hosted by St. Charles East High School.

Things are looking up for the KHS lineup, as the ninth-seeded local outfit earned a 6-1 win over Machesney Park’s Harlem Huskies on Monday—a win over the eighth seed.

Kaneland followed that up with a 6-5, nine-inning win over the the top seed Rock Island Rocks on Tuesday afternoon.

It was set to lead to a battle in the summer regional semifinal at St. Charles East High School on Wednesday against the host Saints.

St. Charles East is the fifth seed and had victories over Marmion Academy and Geneva as notches in the belt.

Matt Limbrunner and Blake Sowell earned the wins this week.

Non-wood bats still no-no

in Baseball by

INDIANAPOLIS—New language has been added to the high school baseball rules to re-emphasize that non-wood bats cannot be altered.

This additional note in Rule 1-3-2 was one of four rules changes approved by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Baseball Rules Committee at its June 3-5 meeting in Indianapolis. All rules changes were subsequently approved by the NFHS Board of Directors.

The new note in Rule 1-3-2 is as follows: “The NFHS has been advised that certain manufacturers consider alteration, modification and ‘doctoring’ of their bats to be unlawful and subject to civil and, under certain circumstances, criminal action.”

“Not only is it a violation of NFHS baseball rules to alter a non-wood bat, this new language emphasizes that an individual could be subjected to a civil or criminal lawsuit for tampering with a bat,” said Elliot Hopkins, NFHS director of sports and educational services and staff liaison to the NFHS Baseball Rules Committee.

Two other changes deal with the use of new technology. Rule 3-3-1f prohibits the use of video monitoring equipment for coaching purposes during the game, and Rule 3-3-1i prohibits the use of any electronic devices in the coach’s box.

“Technology has improved to the level that mobile devices can accurately video different aspects of the game, which provides an unfair advantage to a coach by replaying the footage in the dugout during the contest,” Hopkins said.

The final change approved by the Baseball Rules Committee deals with the warm-up criteria for a pitcher who replaces an ejected player during an inning. If a pitcher is ejected, an incoming pitcher will be afforded the same warm-up criteria as a replacement for an injured player.

Under normal circumstances, a relief pitcher is allowed eight warm-up throws; however, the umpire may allow additional pitches because of an injury, ejection or inclement weather.

A complete listing of all rules changes approved by the committee is available on the NFHS website at www.nfhs.org.

Crosby visits Friendly Confines

in Baseball by

Stat line: 1-1, 9.49 ERA before heading back to Toledo
by Mike Slodki
CHICAGO—Casey Crosby’s first tenure in the majors with the Detroit Tigers was a historic occurrence.

However, he’ll have to do it again by springboarding from Toledo, Ohio.

After having his start pushed back two days in order for veteran starting pitchers Rick Porcello and Justin Verlander to pitch in turn, Crosby missed a chance to start in front of his local fans at Wrigley Field against the Cubs on June 13. Instead, the Kaneland Class of 2007 graduate made a home start on Friday at Comerica Park against the Colorado Rockies, and lasted just 3.2 innings in a 12-4, 10-inning loss. Crosby was sent down after Friday’s setback.

Pitcher Doug Fister, whose disabled list sting paved the way for Crosby’s callup from Class AAA Toledo on May 30, was then activated.

Crosby, in three starts, went 1-1 with a 9.49 ERA in 12.1 innings, while averaging nine strikeouts and 11 walks per nine innings.

The 23-year-old former two-sport standout for the Knights makes the return trip west on I-75, where he went 4-2 with a 4.26 ERA to go with 57 strikeouts and 26 walks in nine starts. He made a start Wednesday against the Lehigh Valley IronPigs.

While in town with the Tigers on June 13, the lefty was witness to an 8-4 win over the Cubs by his teammates. Things had come a tad easier for Crosby in his second week of major league life, even while simply observing.

“It’s good to be back here, even if I’m not pitching,” Crosby said. “They needed to get the other guys like Justin Verlander their regular rest.”

A bevy of resources available at the top level make a difference, as well.

“It hasn’t changed much since I’ve been up here. There’s still a routine. You get a look at the lineup, and there’s a lot better video and better technology,” Crosby said.

Crosby tried to adjust and build from start to start in his June tenure in the bigs.

“I threw a lot of mistake pitches. I just have to limit damage every time out and maintain consistency when I’m out there,” Crosby said.

Veteran catcher Gerald Laird has handled his share of pitchers in Crosby’s spot, who see their first season shuffling back and forth between levels.

“You just have to be ready and offer what you know and help them prepare,” Laird said.

Laird is on his second tour of duty with the Tigers, after catching for the world champion St. Louis Cardinals in 2011, and knows a pitcher with tools when he sees one.

“Casey has a fastball that he’s not afraid to throw. All he needs to do is execute; it doesn’t matter who’s hitting,” Laird said.

Toledo hosts Lehigh Valley on Thursday, June 21.

Pitcher Park honored in Ohio

in Baseball by

LIMA, Oh.—After winning 31 games and advancing to the Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference tournament, the University of Northwestern Ohio baseball team was honored by the WHAC with three players on the first team All-Conference list and six more on the honorable mention roll.

Pitchers Austin Park, a 2008 graduate of Kaneland High School, and outfielder Ben Smith were named to the first team. Pitchers Juan Espinosa and Pichi Torres, infielders Dylan Brammer and Ben Schubert, catcher Cory Cook, and designated hitter Kevin Cyrus appear on the honorable mention list.

Park was 5-0 with a team-leading 19 appearances, with a 0.96 ERA and 29 strikeouts, while being named to the All-Academic team.

Former Knight Crosby now in MLB win club

in Baseball/Featured/Sports by

Photo: Casey Crosby went 5.1 innings for his first-ever win as a member of the Detroit Tigers pitching staff.
Originally scheduled to start against the Cubs on Wednesday, he is slated to pitch on Friday, June 15, against
Colorado. Mark Cunningham/Detroit Tigers

KHS grad holds
Indians at bay, Tigers player development impressed

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—After his Major League Baseball debut on June 1, Casey Crosby knew he had to push on after a less-than-desirable result.

“You don’t dwell on it and you move on, and the experience is for the better,” Crosby said on June 5.

The member of Kaneland High School’s class of 2007 came back against the American League Central Division rival Cleveland Indians, and earned his first win (1-1) after leading the effort in a 7-5 result.

The lefty went 5.1 innings, two full innings more than his losing effort against the visiting New York Yankees.

Crosby allowed three earned runs on five hits, while striking out two batters and walking three. He threw 91 pitches, 54 for strikes.

Four pitchers followed the former Knight two-sport standout, with Tigers closer Jose Valverde tossing a perfect ninth.

For a highly-touted draft pick like Crosby, selected in the fifth round five years ago, it’s rewarding for the personnel keeping tabs on promise.

“He was a young kid making his first start and facing New York and obviously he didn’t have the start he wanted, but he adjusted well and did things differently in his next start,” Dave Owen, Tigers director of Player Development, said.

Owen, fresh from a trip to Detroit to prepare for the MLB Draft earlier this month, was able to see Crosby in his major league infancy.

“Obviously he’s a great competitor and had success and injuries,” Owen said. “He’s a terrific athlete and ready to emerge and help the club, and we hope he has a long career ahead of him.”

Crosby was the sixth player from the Tigers’ 2007 draft taken. The odds are immense to make it, but Crosby and teammate Rick Porcello are products of the designed strategy.

“You root for everyone to make it and want to see everyone succeed, top to bottom, no matter what round they are taken,” Owen said. “Each call-up is unique and there’s joy when they come up because you get to know them and build relationships with them.”

Owen, who also swung a bat for the 1984 National League East champ Chicago Cubs, believes Crosby has tools in his favor that stand to be heightened.

“He has a plus fastball, and a great changeup. He’s a three-pitch guy and he’s going to gain experience along the way,” Owen said.

Crosby dips into interleague play on Friday, June 15, against Colorado.

Spring kind to Kaneland athletics in awards season

in Baseball/Boys Track/Girls Soccer/Girls Track/Softball by

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

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

Awards were released on June 3.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Crosby Show

in Baseball/Featured/Kaneland by

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

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

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

[pullquote]

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

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

[/pullquote]

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

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

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

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

It was only against the New York Yankees.

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

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

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

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

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

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

[pullquote]

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

– KHS baseball coach Brian Aversa

[/pullquote]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Notes:

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

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

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

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

BOX SCORE FOR CASEY CROSBY’S MAJOR LEAGUE DEBUT

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

No repeat trip for Kaneland baseball

in Baseball/Featured by

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.

Norman part of All-MWC Honors list at Beloit

in Baseball/Hometown by

RIPON, Wis.—Three members of the 2012 Beloit College Baseball team earned a spot on All-Midwest Conference Team, released today by the Conference Office.

Shortstop Jordan Jaenicke (Bourbonnais, Ill./Bishop McNamara), starting pitcher Alex Norman (Elburn/Kaneland) and relief pitcher Al Loth (East Troy, Wis.), all seniors, were named to the team.

Norman, a left-hander who also earned All-MWC honors in 2011, , led the team with seven wins, a 2.19 ERA and 50 strikeouts. His 2.19 ERA was the fourth-best in a single season while his seven victories tied the season record. Career-wise he finishes first in innings pitched, second in wins with 19 and ERA at 2.89, and third in appearances with 41. He led or shared the MWC lead in ERA, innings pitched and wins and was second in strikeouts and strikeouts looking.

The Bucs finished the 2012 season with a 19-21 overall record. They had a 9-7 mark in the MWC and earned a spot in the MWC Tournament for the second straight season and third time in four years, where they finished as the runner-up for the second straight season.

Non-conference foes fall on KHS baseball victory tour

in Baseball/Featured by

Photo: Bryan VanBogaert fires toward the dish against Batavia on Friday’s Senior Night at Fifth Third Ballpark in Geneva. The Knights won 2-1. Photo by Patti Wilk

KANELAND—Whether you are Marmion Academy, St. Francis of Wheaton, DeKalb or IMSA, you can’t be looking forward to what lies ahead next week.

Kaneland baseball rolled through the last week of non-conference competition, ending on Saturday with a 7-2 solving of host West Aurora.

Previously, the Knights also took care of Batavia, 2-1 at Fifth Third Ballpark in Geneva, and also traveled north to Cary-Grove High School to hand the Trojans an 8-2 shellacking.

Despite a Monday setback to host St. Charles East, The Knights finish 24-10 with the regular season and conference crown already collected.

Kaneland was 20-10 when the 2011 regular season concluded on the way to a State title.

More currently, the Knights are winners of nine of their last 10.

Jordan Jones took the ball for a complete-game win over the Blackhawks.

Jones went seven innings, allowing just two runs on four hits.

Mike Tattoni went 2-for-3 with two runs and two RBI to go along with three base swipes.

Ray Barry went 2-for-3 with two swipes.

The Knights put up three runs in both the second and third innings for the cushion.

In the win against former Suburban Prairie Conference North Division and Western Sun Conference rival Batavia, Kaneland’s two-run output in the bottom of the second inning was enough to ward off Batavia’s run in the third.

Trevor Storck improved to 7-0 on the mound, while Bryan VanBogaert earned the save with two innings of work.

Kaneland jumped out to a 7-1 lead in the first three innings thanks to personnel like Tyler Heinle (3-for-3, three runs, two RBI), Jake Razo (2-for-4, double, two RBI) and Tom Fox (1-for-3, three RBI, double).

In the 5-4 loss to the Saints, Matt Limbrunner saw the loss come his way after giving up five runs on five hits. Barry went 2-for-2 with double and Quinn Buschbacher went 2-for-3 with a double

Kaneland was set to play on Wednesday as the top seed of its own regional on Wednesday against fourth-seed DeKalb, which beat IMSA on Monday evening.

The regional title matchup is scheduled for Saturday, May 26, at 11 a.m. with either Kaneland or DeKalb facing the winner of the second-and-third seed matchup of Marmion Academy vs. St. Francis.

Baseball wins third straight conference title

in Baseball by

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

___

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

Knight baseball riding 1st-place wave

in Baseball/Featured by

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

in Baseball by

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

in Baseball/Featured by

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.

Pitcher Stahl tosses gem for KHS sophs

in Baseball by

KANELAND—Nick Stahl of the Kaneland sophomore baseball team tossed a no-hitter on Tuesday, as the Knights took care of Yorkville, 4-0. The sophomores improved to 11-6.

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