With the way Kaneland sophomore Anthony Holubecki was pitching against Northern Big 12 East rival Yorkville in inclement weather conditions Monday, the Knights felt if they could scratch out a run, they could stay unbeaten in conference play.
The Knights were able to do that, plating two runs in the bottom of the sixth to pull out a 2-0 win in the first of a three-game series.
“It was going to come down to who scored first or who scored latest,” Kaneland coach Brian Aversa said. “It was good to be the team that did that.”
Yorkville starter Nick Sewruk was stride-for-stride with Holubecki through five innings. He struck out six and allowed four hits with no walks in six innings.
“He really threw the ball well,” Yorkville coach Scott Luken said. “He can throw three pitches for strikes. He’s very confident right now. He just goes out and competes every day.”
But in the bottom of the sixth, the Knights (11-4, 7-0) finally got to him. Jacob Bachio, the No. 9 hitter, led off with a single and scored the game’s first run on Joey Panico’s single. Tyler Carlson then drove him in with a groundout to stake Kaneland to a 2-0 lead.
“I knew we needed to get this first win [of the series],” Holubecki said. “The run support in the sixth, it felt really good to get those runs.”
Holubecki struck out nine, walking two and allowing two hits in six-plus innings.
“First-pitch strikes were really important,” Holubecki said. “I know they have a lot of good hitters in the middle of their order. It felt good to get ahead early. Then I was in control from there.”
Two of those base runners reached to start the top of the seventh for Yorkville (14-7, 4-2). Aversa went out to get Holubecki at that point in favor of Nick Stahl. He came in and retired three straight batters to give Kaneland the win.
“Nick does a great job with control,” Aversa said. “He just pounds the zone. He does a great job. Nick has been a guy we can lean on a lot in the later innings. He proved it again today.”
Game 2 of the series is Tuesday at 4:30 p.m. at Yorkville. The Foxes return to Kaneland for the series finale Thursday at 4:30 p.m.
“They won all their games so far, so they’re two up on everyone,” Luken said. “But there are a lot of games to go.”