DeKALB – In the DeKalb baseball team’s contest against Kaneland on Friday afternoon, there was a runner on base in 13 of the 14 innings.
The only difference was Kaneland was able to bring more home.
The Knights scored all of their runs over the course of the first four innings, and Nate Hopkins, Nick Henne and Nick Stahl worked out of jams to escape with a 5-3 victory.
The Barbs had multiple runners on base all game long but never could bring home more than one run a frame.
“Bottom line is that we had chances and we weren’t able to capitalize enough. It’s nice to scratch one run here or one run there,” DeKalb coach Jake Howells said. “When you continually (put runners on), you have to scratch out more than just one run some of the time. We are just not getting that done.”
Kaneland (10-3, 6-0 Northern Illinois Big 12 East) opened the scoring with two runs in the first inning. A sacrifice fly from Tyler Carlson scored Joe Laudont, and later, Nick Stratman brought in Hopkins with an RBI single.
The Barbs (5-7, 0-6 NI Big 12 East) responded with a run in the bottom half of the inning. Five players reached base in the inning, but only Pat Aves came in to score on a fielder’s choice.
Leading 2-1, Kaneland extended its lead with two more runs in the third. Laudont doubled, then a Tyler Carlson single brought him home. Hopkins kept the order moving with another single and Carlson’s run made the score 4-1.
“We [had] some guys swinging the bat real well today. Anthony Holubecki was crushing the ball off the fence. Joe Laudont was the same way,” Kaneland coach Brian Aversa said. “Getting guys on is half of it, but getting them in [wins games], and we need to do a better job with that.”
DeKalb closed the gap to 4-2 with another run in the third, when Aves scored on a passed ball. Kaneland got that run back when Holubecki scored on a Jacob Bachio single.
“We lately have really been ripping the ball and getting guys on base,” Hopkins said. “That was one aspect that we weren’t solid with last year, but we are coming around to be good at hitting.”
Several times, Kaneland turned double plays and DeKalb could not get timely hits when needed. Howells said something always was happening in this game, but too many DeKalb mistakes cost them.
“We made some stupid mistakes. We didn’t execute the things we should have,” Howells said. “At some point, you are waiting for somebody to get the base-clearing double. You are waiting for somebody to get the two-out hit that will score three runs or two runs or clear the bases, and we aren’t getting that right now.”
Hopkins earned the win in five innings. The hurler allowed three runs on six hits. Laudont, Hopkins and Holubecki each finished with three hits apiece. Carlson had two RBIs.
“Let’s just say, winning ugly is still winning,” Aversa said. “We had every opportunity to lose that game and I am glad we could nail things down at the end.”
Aves led the Barbs with two hits and two runs scored. Logan Haring also had two hits.