The Kaneland baseball team rallied for four runs in the bottom of the seventh but fell short in a 10-8 loss to Burlington Central on Wednesday in a Class 3A Sterling Sectional semifinal.
“Give our guys credit for not giving up,” Kaneland coach Brian Aversa said. “That’s been the tone all year. Last game, we got down 3-0 and didn’t panic. Burlington was just a little too much to handle.”
The Knights (21-9) trailed, 10-4, heading into the bottom of the sixth, when Nick Ortegel reached on an error after Nic Panico was hit by a pitch. After Zach Farris walked, Thomas Shaw was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded, then Jon Alstott reached on an error, scoring another run to make it 10-6.
Alijah Acevedo reached on an error to score Farris, then Luke Gomes hit a sacrifice fly to make it 10-8, but they couldn’t get any closer.
The Rockets built a quick 6-0 lead, but the Knights scored four in the bottom of the fourth to cut the lead to two.
“You never want to fall behind, especially in sectionals,” Aversa said. “Even if we fell behind, we were still comfortable. We have a never-say-die attitude, and the guys showed it again today.”
Alstott singled home Ortegel and Farris to start the scoring in the second for Kaneland. Gomes grounded out to score Shaw, then a groundout by Angel Acevedo brought home Shaw to make it 6-4.
The Rockets added two in the fourth and two in the fifth to build the lead back to six.
Gomes drove in two runs in the loss as Kaneland managed only four hits. Ortegel scored twice.