ROCHELLE – In a pitching matchup like Kaneland and Sycamore put out on the field Wednesday, one pitch can change everything.
In the bottom of the fifth of the Class 3A Rochelle Sectional baseball semifinal, Knights pitcher Anthony Holubecki threw a fastball down the middle to Sycamore center fielder Brett Weaver, and Weaver crushed it for a solo home run to left field. That would be the only run of the game as Kaneland bowed out, 1-0, to Sycamore.
It was one of just two hits that the sophomore allowed on the day, but it was enough for the Spartans (25-12) as junior pitcher Colan Treml tossed a no-hitter to shut out the Knights (18-16).
“Treml did a nice job keeping us off-balance today,” Kaneland coach Brian Aversa said. “Give him all the credit for the way he performed.”
Both Treml and Holubecki held no-hitters through four innings, but there was plenty of action on the bases. Sycamore had an error in each of the first three innings, the second one a slow bouncer by Joe Panico in which shortstop Michael Swanberg was thrown off by third baseman Mark Skelley running in front of him and bobbled the ball.
The official box score gave Swanberg the error, keeping Treml’s gem alive.
Treml has earned all three of the Spartans' wins this postseason and has thrown 18 scoreless innings.
"Eighteen scoreless innings in the postseason. That’s insane,” Sycamore coach Jason Cavanaugh said. “When they were swinging at curveballs they were down, when they were taking them they were right there in the strike zone, and that makes any pitcher tough to hit.”
The Spartans loaded the bases against Holubecki in the third, but he coolly struck out Nate Haacker to keep the shutout alive. One more scoreless inning later, Weaver stepped up to the plate in the fifth and promptly ended that.
“Tony had a no-hitter going until that one swing, and that changed the outcome of the game,” Aversa said. “He pitched a great game. You can’t ask for much more than two hits from a pitcher. Give Weaver credit for turning that one around.”
In the bottom of the sixth, Sycamore put runners on second and third with a double from senior first baseman Cooper Vinz, and that was the end of Holubecki’s day. Reliever Nick Henne then came in and got out of the jam.
It was up to the Kaneland offense to get that run back, but it couldn’t produce against Treml, who had 10 strikeouts on the day. The Knights went three up, three down through the last three innings, and a Nate Hopkins slow grounder wrapped it up.
Aversa said the scouting report was to go after Treml’s first pitch, when he likes to throw his fastball, but even that was unhittable on Wednesday.
Still, Aversa took the time to focus on the good, a successful season for the regional champion Knights and a memorable senior class.
“This last week has been awesome for all of us. It’s just been such a fun ride,” he said. “Between (Nick) Stahl and (Ty) Carlson and Hopkins and (Curtis) Thorson, these guys are people that are going to be irreplaceable.”