MAPLE PARK – The Kaneland baseball team relied on the bottom of the batting order Thursday to maintain its perfect record in the Northern Illinois Big 12 East.
Jacob Bachio and Lucas Wolski, the Knights' Nos. 8 and 9 hitters, combined to go 6 for 6 and knocked in four runs in the Kaneland's 7-3 win over DeKalb.
“We've been harping to those guys about getting something going for the top of the order and they produced today,” Kaneland coach Brian Aversa said. “A couple of big RBIs down there in the order. When you get production from the bottom of the order, that is how you win games.”
The duo put Kaneland (9-3, 5-0 NI Big 12 East) in the lead in the bottom of the second after the Barbs picked up a run in their half of the inning, when Noah Baert scored on a Jordan Keck single.
Cleanup hitter Nate Hopkins reached base on a DeKalb (5-6, 0-5 NI Big 12 East) error to open the inning. Two batters later, DeKalb starting pitcher John Crosby walked Curtis Thorson, the Knights’ starting pitcher. Bachio followed with a single to center, scoring Hopkins to tie the score at 1. Wolski, a left-handed hitter, doubled down the left-field line, plating Jake Bilotta, who was a courtesy running for Thorson, and Bachio, putting Kaneland up 3-1.
“Crosby is their ace pitcher and I knew he was going to throw a little faster,” Wolski said. “I was focused on hitting the opposite way.”
DeKalb tied the score in the fifth on two unearned runs, as Dylan Farrell and Keck reached base on Kaneland errors. Farrell scored on a Logan Haring single and Keck crossed the plate on a Jake Kuykendall ground out.
The bottom of the order struck again in the sixth. Bachio doubled down the first-base line, scoring Connor Fedderly from second with the go-ahead run. Wolski followed with a single, and Bachio scored on walk to Joe Panico when the ball got away from Haring, the Barbs' catcher. Wolski and Panico scored on Joe Laudont’s triple that gave Kaneland a 7-3 lead.
Laudont’s hit was the last batter Crosby faced. The senior, who took the loss, started the game fanning the first four batters. He finished yielding 10 hits, while striking out six and walking one.