One of the trends in baseball is for teams to put their best hitters higher in the lineup to get them more opportunities at the plate.
Oswego did that and then its big bats made the most of its chances, rallying for a 9-6 victory in
nine innings over Kaneland in Tuesday’s second round game in the Phil Lawler Summer Classic in Maple Park.
Leadoff batter JD Miller, Cal Hejza, Garry Maynard and Luke Menard combined to go 12 of 17 with eight runs scored, six RBIs, three walks and a sacrifice fly.
“The top of our order is pretty strong,” Menard said. “We start with JD who is going to play [Division I college] baseball, so he’s a good guy to start and Cal at No. 2 always put the ball in play, Garry’s a big power hitter, and I’m just there to clean up with the RBIs.”
Kaneland (17-8) pulled ahead 5-4 in the bottom of the fifth inning. Michael Rogers singled, stole second and scored on an errant throw. Angel Acevedo walked and then scored the go-ahead run on Nik Panico’s double.
The Panthers (9-4) forced extra innings in the seventh on Menard’s RBI single to right field. They then had a chance to pull ahead with runners on the corners and one out, but the next two batters struck out.
Kaneland nearly won it in the bottom of the inning, loading the bases on a Jonathon Alstott single, but Thomas Shaw flew out to end the threat.
“They had the lead most of the day and we kept coming back and tying it up,” Knights coach Brian Aversa said. “I thought our pitchers did a nice job except for trouble in the end where they put some runs on the board and we couldn’t catch up.”
Despite the loss, it was a successful summer for the Knights.
“We had good weekend tournaments where we were successful and finished second in both,” Aversa said. “We put together a good body of work and saw some guys step up.”
Alijah Acevedo led Kaneland with a double and home run’ while Nick Ortegel added three base hits.