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Bottom of lineup does bang-up job for Kaneland baseball

MAPLE PARK – The Kaneland baseball team relied on the bottom of the batting order Thursday to maintain its perfect record in the Northern Illinois Big 12 East.

Jacob Bachio and Lucas Wolski, the eighth and ninth batters, were 6 for 6 and knocked in four runs in the Knights’ 7-3 win over DeKalb. Kaneland is now 5-0 in conference play.

“We’ve been harping to those guys about getting something going for the top of the order and they produced today,” Kaneland coach Brian Aversa said. “A couple of big RBIs down there in the order. When you get production from the bottom of the order, that is how you win games.”

The duo put Kaneland (9-3 overall) in the lead in the bottom of the second after the Barbs picked up a run in their half of the inning. Noah Baert scored on a Jordan Keck single.

Cleanup hitter Nate Hopkins reached base on an error by DeKalb (5-6, 0-5) to open the inning. Two batters later, DeKalb starting pitcher John Crosby walked Curtis Thorson, the Knights’ starting pitcher. Bachio followed with a single to center, scoring Hopkins to tie the game at 1. Wolski, a left-handed hitter, doubled down the left field line, scoring Jake Bilotta, who was running for Thorson, and Bachio, putting Kaneland up, 3-1.

“Crosby is their ace pitcher and I knew he was going to throw a little faster,” Wolski said. “I was focused on hitting the opposite way.”

DeKalb tied the game in the fifth on two unearned runs. Dylan Farrell and Keck reached base on Kaneland errors. Farrell scored on a Logan Haring single and Keck scored on a Jake Kuykendall ground out.

The bottom of Kaneland’s order struck again in the sixth. Bachio doubled down the first base line scoring Connor Fedderly from second with the go-ahead run. Wolski followed with a single. Bachio scored on walk to Joe Panico when the ball got away from Haring. Wolski and Panico scored on Joe Laudont’s triple to give Kaneland a 7-3 lead.

Laudont’s hit was the last batter Crosby faced. The senior, who took the loss, started the game fanning the first four batters. He finished the day yielding 10 hits, while striking out six and walking one.

“I think John did a great job,” DeKalb coach Jacob Howells said. “Sometimes when he ran into trouble. he had a hard time finishing the hitters. I thought Kaneland did a great job of never giving in during an at-bat.”

Nick Henne picked up the win in relief. He took over for Thorson with the bases load and two outs in the sixth. Henne got out of the inning by inducing Patrick Aves, the first batter he faced, to ground out.

“They did a much better job of taking care of their opportunities. When they had chance to score, they cashed in every single time,” Howells said. “We probably had more chance to score runs. We weren’t able to get the big hit.”

“[Thorson] did a great job for us,” Aversa said. “He kept the score low and issued only one walk today. He gave us a chance to make plays on defense. Sometimes we did and sometimes we didn’t.”

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