DeKALB – Kaneland pitcher Angel Acevedo entered the game in the fifth inning and shut down DeKalb, and the Knights rallied late for a 3-1 win in eight innings April 13.
Acevedo struck out nine and held the Barbs scoreless over the final four innings to earn the win. He struck out the side in the first two innings he pitched.
“My goal was to just stay calm and stay relaxed. Just attack the strike zone,” Acevedo said. “I just wanted to keep the ball low and away as much as possible.”
It wasn’t the plan for Acevedo to make DeKalb batters whiff, but it’s hard to argue with the end result of those strikeouts.
“We weren’t expecting that, and we wouldn’t put that on anybody,” Kaneland coach Brian Aversa said. “That’s not what we do. We expect our defense to play better, but we’ll take those nine strikeouts.”
The Knights scored the go-ahead run on a passed ball with two outs in the eighth and added an insurance run when Preston Havis hit a rocket off relief pitcher Jacob Perkins’ foot.
“We just kept moving guys, putting it on the next person,” Aversa said. “[We] put pressure on their defense and made a lot of hustle plays.”
DeKalb starting pitcher Bryce Wheeler pitched a gem of his own, giving up only one run in seven innings and striking out six.
“It was more about the mental side of things today. I was just trying to hit my spots and rely on the guys behind me,” Wheeler said.
Kaneland tied the game in the sixth inning on an RBI single by Robbie Dudzinski that knocked home Luke Calabrese.
The Barbs scored an early run in the first with aggressive running on the basepaths. Derek Kyler came home on an error after going from first to third on a hit-and-run. But DeKalb wouldn’t cross home plate again as that was all the offense it could muster.
For Kaneland, Calabrese went 2 for 4 with a run scored, Dudzinski was 3 for 4 with an RBI and a run scored, Joshua Norman went 1 for 3, and Havis went 1 for 4 with an RBI.
“The plan was to jump on pitches early, get some baserunners on, start moving a little bit,” DeKalb coach Dedric Wright said, “We were able to execute a hit-and-run early in the first inning, but from there we didn’t get much going on the bases and offensively.”
The Knights kept it rolling with a 10-9 home win against Aurora Central Catholic on April 15. Kaneland scored three times in the bottom of the sixth inning to take the lead for good.
A walk to Calabrese and a single by Dudzinski set the table for Norman, who singled home Calabrese. Joey Brandonisio’s single scored Jake Needham, running in place of Dudzinski, with the tying run. Logan Piercy, running for Norman, stole home for the winning run.
Calabrese hit two home runs, drove in three and scored four runs. Norman and Brandonisio each drove in two runs. Grant Thomas pitched the final 1 2/3 innings to earn the win.
Kaneland fell 14-4 against host Mount Carmel on April 17 to slip to 7-6 on the season