PLANO – Some dugout whispers late in Wednesday’s game left Kaneland senior right-hander Nathan Hopkins armed with some potentially dangerous information.
He was three outs away from a six-inning no-hitter.
Not until Kaneland took the field leading Plano by the final, 11-0, margin in the bottom of the sixth did Hopkins realize what was at stake. He retired the first two Reapers, walked the next two, then settled down to prepare for true bedlam.
“I was really ecstatic, and it was just really awesome,” Hopkins said.
The Knights’ right fielder when he’s not on the mound, Hopkins helped Kaneland improve to 1-3 in his first start of the season. He struck out six and walked five, but also acknowledged plenty of help from his teammates.
With a runner on first and two outs early in the game, Knights shortstop Joey Panico ranged to stop a hot shot up the middle and flipped to second base for the force-out.
Jacob Bachio (three RBIs) and Panico added two hits for Kaneland, which also capitalized on seven Plano errors. As if Hopkins wasn’t enough.
“I was able to keep the batters off-balance. My offspeed was working really well, and I was just hitting my spots really good,” Hopkins said. “Then my teammates helped me out with the bats and we got the ‘W.’ ”
Burlington Central 8, Marengo 4: At Marengo, Danny Gerke delivered a pinch-hit, two-run single to help lift Central to a Big Northern Conference win. Jake Schutta was the winner.
Aurora Central Catholic 11, Lisle 8: At Lisle, Andrew Bruss and Jared Smith had multi-hit games and freshman John Belskis drove in a pair for 8-2 ACC. Patrick Canning improved to 3-0, pitching six innings.
Aurora Christian 15, Wilmington 5 (5 inn.): At Waubonsie Creek Park in Aurora, Dustin Barrett contributed two hits and three RBIs as Aurora Christian improved to 5-2. Drew Wagner had three hits and two RBIs.
Neuqua Valley 5, Batavia 1: At Batavia, Brieann Cruz doubled for Batavia (0-3, 0-2 UEC River) in the Upstate Eight Conference crossover loss.
Geneva 15, East Aurora 0 (5 inn.): At Geneva, Sarah Baurer (three hits) and Jenelle Reilly (three RBIs) helped pace Geneva (4-1, 1-1 UEC River). Emily Plocinski and Rachel Fanella combined on a one-hitter.
Aurora Central Catholic 12, Aurora Christian 2: At Aurora, host ACC rolled to a Suburban Christian Conference victory.
St. Francis 10, St. Edward 0: At Elgin, Emma Chapman homered to back winner Maggie Remus as St. Francis (5-2) earned a SCC win.
Wheaton Academy 15, Guerin 3: At Chicago, Autumn Ratliff homered for Wheaton Academy (3-0, 2-0 SCC Gold), while Marissa Gagliano had three hits.
Augsburg-Drach Invitational: At St. Charles, Anna Corirosi and Rion Gaffney scored for St. Charles East as the host Saints opened tournament play with a 2-1 victory against Schaumburg. Shannon Rasmussen added an assist for East (4-0-1), which led, 2-0, at halftime.
In other tournament action, Geneva and Naperville Central played to a 1-all tie.
St. Francis def. Streamwood, 2-0 (25-7, 25-20): At Wheaton, Greg Churney (nine kills) and Robert Smith (17 assists) powered 3-0 St. Francis.
St. Charles East 7, Glenbard North 0: At Carol Stream, East improved to 3-0 with its second straight sweep. The Saints have won 20 of 22 matches overall.
Batavia 5, Wheaton North 4: At Batavia, the host Bulldogs improved to 2-0 on the season with the win.
Wheaton North 9, St. Charles East 6: At St. Charles, Pruthvi Patel and Krupa Patel both were part of two, three-game victories for East. The Saints won three of five doubles matches.