DeKALB – Katie Kowalski had shut down Kaneland all game.
The DeKalb senior pitcher had allowed only two hits in the first six innings as her team held a one-run lead heading into the top of the seventh at DeKalb High School.
The Knights' Meg Cohrs walked to lead off the frame, and it was all downhill from there. Cohrs ended up scoring to tie the score, and Kaneland added three in the top of the eighth to come away with a 4-1 win. The Barbs came into the game looking to win at least a share of the Northern Illinois Big 12 East title, and those hopes took a huge hit. DeKalb came in tied with Yorkville with two league losses. The Foxes were scheduled to play struggling Rochelle on Thursday afternoon.
Kaneland's game-winning runs in the eighth were courtesy of a Paige Kuefler RBI double and a Cohrs inside-the-park home run.
"Just a never-quit attitude. They stayed focused the whole time, they never quit," Kaneland coach Brian Willis said. "They showed a lot of character in today's win. So I think we grew as a team today."
DeKalb (20-6, 7-3 NI Big 12 East) got on the board in the first inning, when leadoff hitter Abby Taylor, after walking to start the game, was bunted to second by Erin Karasewski and scored on an RBI single by Morgan Newport.
However, that was all DeKalb would get against Knights pitcher Angie Morrow. The Barbs left 10 runners on base, including two in each of the fifth, sixth and seventh innings, against the Knights (15-11, 6-3).
"Sometimes it's just not your day. You've got to understand that's just how this game is. And it's hard to explain that to 15-,16-,17-year-old kids," DeKalb coach Jeff Davis said. "It is what it is. [Kaneland] played well today. I thought both teams played well, and they came out on top. We've been hitting the ball extremely well. We had an off day today, we start over."
Kowalski was dominant for the first six innings, walking two and striking out six. With Lanie Callaghan on third with two outs in the fourth, Kowalski was saved by her shortstop Taylor, who made a diving catch on a ball Lexi Roach hit into short left field.
"I knew I had to get it because there was a runner on third. I've had those before, and I haven't gone as hard as I wanted to," Taylor said. "I knew I had to go hard and make the diving catch."