Photo: Sam Hansen leaps into the arms of fellow Class 3A IMSA Regional-winning teammates on Saturday after Kaneland’s 9-5 win over Yorkville. Photo by Patti Wilk
Furious 6th inning leads to comeback over YHS for Regional
by Mike Slodki
AURORA—There’s a saying that if you give someone an inch, they’ll take a mile.
In the case of Lady Knights softball, give them the sixth inning, they’ll score six runs.
Kaneland softball (31-6) scored nine runs in its final two at-bats during Saturday’s Class 3A Regional Championship at Illinois Math and Science Academy against the second-seeded Yorkville Lady Foxes for a 9-5 win and its first regional plaque in seven years.
“We’ve been doing this all year,” coach Brian Willis said. “They never quit. I didn’t have to say anything. They know what they’re capable of.”
Kaneland got into the final with a 10-0, six-inning triumph over fourth seed Rosary on May 23.
Delani Vest earned the win in both games.
“Since freshman year I’ve wanted to win a regional championship. It feels awesome to finally get one, and we really had to push through this one,” Vest said.
Yorkville went up 1-0 in the third inning, and it remained that way until the bottom of the fifth.
With one out, Allyson O’Herron singled, as did Paige Kuefler. Lanie Callaghan laced another single for an RBI to tie the game. With two outs, Lexi Roach redeemed her third-inning at-bat that left two runners stranded with a triple to give Kaneland a 3-1 lead.
“That was the biggest hit, no question,” O’Herron said. “That got us going.”
After Yorkville put up four runs on Vest in the top of the sixth, Kaneland’s lineup came alive with six runs after 11 girls came to the plate.
With the score 5-4 after a Vest RBI, McKinzie Mangers lifted a flyball out of the right-fielders reach that plated two more for the 6-5 lead. Sarah Grams and Roach came up with two more run-scoring hits.
In the seventh, Sam Hansen caught a liner at second base, triggering a celebration.
“We are confident. This shows that we could do it, and we have to ride the wave,” O’Herron said.
The sectional wave was scheduled for Wednesday at Belvidere North against Sterling. Sterling won the game 9-1, ending the KHS season. See the June 7 edition of the Elburn Herald for game coverage.