Baseball: Kaneland hands Yorkville first conference lossYorkville's starting pitcher, Tanner Cook delivers against Kaneland on Monday, Apr. 23, 2012. | Donnell Collins~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: April 23, 2012 10:32PM
All game long, the Kaneland coaching staff was imploring its players to take advantage of the northwest breeze and poke the ball into right field.
Finally— and when it counted the most — Ray Barry took them up on it.
The senior center fielder’s wind-blown double to the right field fence turned out to be the game-winner as the Knights posted two runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to rally for an 8-6 win over Yorkville in the first game of a three-game set between the top two teams in the Northern Illinois Big 12 Conference.
Kaneland (13-7) dealt the Foxes (12-8-1) their first conference loss, and both teams head into today’s game at Yorkville with identical 6-1 records in league play.
“We feel pretty good about what we did,” Kaneland coach Brian Aversa said. “We are happy to win at home because the whole series is big.”
Yorkville, which had led 3-1 early in the game, trailed 6-5 heading into the top of the sixth but tied the game at 6-all on an RBI single by Luis Correa. When Kaneland came to bat in the bottom of the frame, Joe Pollastrini started the inning with a double to left and came home on Barry’s long fly that one-hopped the right field fence.
Tom Fox later plated Barry for an insurance run, and Jordan Jones retired the Foxes in order in the top of the seventh for the save.
“The coaches said anything to the right side and I’m pretty good at that,” said Barry, who had two hits and scored twice. “I just tried to do my job and see the ball and hit it.”
Both teams hit the ball a lot, as Kaneland poked out 12 hits and Yorkville nine. Jake Razo helped the Knights effort with two hits and scored twice, John Hopkins drove in a run and Pollastrini doubled twice and drove in a run for the Knights.
Chris Hill homered and drove in two runs for Yorkville, Correa added two hits and an RBI and Matt Thill had two hits and scored twice.
“Both teams played well, both teams made mistakes and both teams took advantage of those mistakes,” Yorkville coach Scott Luken said. “They seemed to take a little more than we did. We need to find a way when we take a lead to finish teams off. We haven’t done that this year, but I think we are about to figure it out.”