MAPLE PARK – The Kaneland softball team broke out of its hitting slump in a major way Saturday, pounding out 30 hits to sweep Batavia in a non-conference doubleheader.
The Knights topped the Bulldogs, 12-2 and 19-5, in two five-inning games.
“Every team goes through a funk and we were in one of those funks,” Kaneland coach Brian Willis said. “Today we hit our way out of it.”
Slotting second baseman Morgan Weber at the top of the batting order was one of the keys to the Knights' offensive resurgence.
“I thought Morgan did a nice job of leading off for us,” Willis said. “It was the first time I put her in the leadoff role. I thought she did an excellent job of getting on base and setting the table for our offense.”
The freshman was only retired once during her nine plate appearances for the day. Weber collected three hits, including her second home run of the season, drew four walks and scored six runs.
“I think my confidence level was up there a little more than in the first week and I was keeping my eye on the ball and keeping my shoulder down,” Weber said.
The second baseman knocked a Rachael Lovestrand pitch over the center field fence for a solo homer run in the second inning of the first game.
“That felt pretty great. I hit one yesterday, too,” Weber said. “The pitch was right down the middle and a was a perfect changeup so I stayed down and took it all the way.”
Kaneland third baseman Paige Kuefler also had a good day at the plate, going 5-for-7. The junior collected three doubles, a triple and a single.
A Knights six-run fourth inning broke open the first game. Eleven Kaneland players batted and made the most of five hits, three walks and Batavia errors to take an 11-2 lead. The contested ended in the next inning when pinch-hitter Courtney Davis singled home Lanie Callaghan and gave her team a 10-run lead.
In the nightcap, Kaneland (6-5) scored early and often against the Bulldogs (0-6). The Knights batted around in the first three innings and sent 11 hitters to the plate in the fourth. Kaneland runners crossed the plate five times in three of the first four innings. In the second, the team only scored four runs.
“I give Kaneland a lot of credit. They hit the ball hard today,” Batavia coach Lupe Castellanos said. “We had some errors today. We can’t afford to give up those little errors between those hard hits.”
Willis would like his team to tighten up the defense.
“I don’t think they had an earned run today, everything was either booted or extra bases or something,” said the coach. “We need to clean it up.”
Junior pitcher Angie Morrow won the first game for the Knights while teammate Anissa Becker earned the second victory. Lovestrand and Alyssa Klemm were tagged for the losses.