Knights nine close out summer session
KANELAND—It was time well-spent, if you’re Kaneland High School baseball.
The summer session for baseball teams usually involved getting the capable athletes to play in tandem with one another, and hope for better things in nine months time.
Kaneland (20-10-3) was able to see how it was able to play together and how much hope it could have after its performance in the IHSBCA St. Charles East Regional on Monday against Cary-Grove High School and on Tuesday against Batavia.
The Knights fell in a 5-4 squeaker to No. 7 Batavia on Tuesday, after vanquishing the No. 15 seed Trojans by a 4-1 clip on Monday.
KHS coach Brian Aversa felt the Knight lineup acclimated well once school was out.
“Guys were really settling in,” Aversa said. “A lot of these guys are seniors now and they owned it. They know that win or lose, it’s on them.”
Batavia was set for a Wednesday semifinal matchup against St. Charles East/Geneva at regional host St. Charles East. The game was not completed in time for press.
The Bulldogs lineup got to Knights starter Steven Limbrunner early on Tuesday, connecting for five runs in the first three innings of action thanks to a single, three doubles and a triple. Matt O’Sullivan shut the door on Batavia’s lineup in the final four innings.
KHS came back in the third inning as Joe Panico was hit by a pitch and Austin Wheatley singled. Two batters later, a Nick Stratman grounder went under the third baseman’s legs allowing Panico to score. Two batters later, Matt Rosko’s two-run double made it 5-3.
Kaneland would cut it to 5-4 in the fifth after a Stratman RBI groundout scored Wheatley, but that play would close out the scoring for the afternoon.
“Batavia’s a good team,” Aversa said. “It was nice for our guys to battle. There were things we couldn’t control, but I wouldn’t feel bad.”
Kaneland also did battle beginning on July 7 at the Wood Bat Tournament hosted by St. Charles East.
As the fourth seed in Pool A, the July 7 meetings had KHS lose to St. Charles East 3-2 and St. Charles North 5-1. July 8 saw Kaneland best regional final foe St. Francis 7-4 to conclude the Wood Bat festivities.
Additionally, Kaneland had two members of the lineup, catcher Joe Laudont and infielder Danny Hammermeister, get a slot on the 2014 Wayne DeMaar All-Division team that also included players from St. Charles North, Geneva, West Chicago, St. Charles East, Batavia, Larkin and St. Francis.
Before the Wood Bat action, KHS also went on a tour of early-season staple Cincinnati and took second in the Cincinnati Fourth of July Baseball Tournament that went four days. The Knights rattled off four straight wins before losing to the Cincinnati Mustangs 7-3 in the championship.