Baseball: Jackson Kottmeyer’s gem leads Kaneland past Sycamore

Parker Violett, Matthew Brunscheen homer in handing Spartans their first loss of season

Kaneland's Jackson Kottmeyer delivers a pitch during their game against Sycamore Monday, April 22, 2024, at the Sycamore Community Sports Complex.

SYCAMORE – The way Jackson Kottmeyer was pitching against Sycamore on Monday, the Kaneland ace didn’t need much in the way of run support.

Parker Violett and Matthew Brunscheen gave him more offense than he needed, each homering in the Knights’ 7-0 win in the opener of a three-game Interstate 8 Conference series. It was the Spartans’ first loss of the season.

“The run support we had was incredible,” said Kottmeyer, who needed 97 pitches for his three-hit gem. “I mean, Brunch and Parker with the two big home runs. We’re not a team that goes out there and scores like 100 runs every game. So putting up runs early is huge for a pitcher.”

Collin Severson started the game for Sycamore (14-1, 6-1 Interstate 8) with a single, but Kottmeyer retired the next nine batters. Kottmeyer didn’t give up another hit until the sixth and by then the Knights (12-4, 7-0) were up 4-0.

Although Matthew Rosado and Kyle Hartmann hit back-to-back two-out singles, Kottmeyer induced a groundout by cleanup hitter Kyle Prebil to escape the jam.

“I’m just having fun at that point,” Kottmeyer said. “We’ve got four runs of a cushion, so I can just be myself, throw strikes. The off-speed was just working today. [Catcher] Zach [Konrad] put faith in me today. He’s like, ‘Don’t call me off. Your pitches are working. They can’t hit it. Just keep throwing it.’ ... Against a team like this, they can attack fastballs, so if you only have a fastball in your arsenal, you will struggle with them.”

Brunscheen got the Knights on the board in the first, belting a triple with two outs off Rosado. Zach Ramos scored the first of his three runs in the game for Kaneland’s early lead.

In the third, No. 9 hitter Dylan Borysiewicz doubled, Ramos singled and Violett launched a moonshot homer to left for a 4-0 lead. In the seventh, Konrad doubled home Ramos and scored on Brunscheen’s blast to left.

“He’s going to hit the ball, put it in play and get guys around the bases,” Kaneland coach Brian Aversa said of Violett, who was 1 for 4. “That one happened to go out today. Brunchy, too, had a nice poke out there in left and got us some runs.”

Brunscheen was 4 for 4 and drove home three runs, scoring once. Kaneland had eight hits, six of them coming off Rosado in his six innings on the hill. Rosado allowed four runs, all earned, and struck out five.

All seven runs allowed by Rosado and reliever Evan Munch were earned, but the Spartans committed three errors. The Spartans have had defensive lapses at times this year, coach Jason Cavanaugh said, something that’s been covered up at times by the team’s explosive offense.

The Spartans had scored at least 13 runs in five of their past seven games.

“I think we got exposed in some of those areas today,” Cavanaugh said. “It’s an opportunity for us to get better and it kind of shows us there’s some things we need to work on. I had no illusions of going undefeated even through conference, let alone the whole season.”

The series was scheduled to continue Wednesday in Maple Park and conclude Thursday in Sycamore.

“We know what they have,” Aversa said. “I don’t think many people know what we have. We don’t even know what we have yet. I know they’re probably [mad] we put seven on them at their place and shut them out. I would be, too. We’ll be ready for everything they’ve got on Wednesday and it will be another good game in this series.”

Kaneland became the last undefeated team in the conference. The Spartans fell into a tie with Morris, which also has one conference loss.

“We haven’t had much adversity yet this year,” Cavanaugh said. “We’ve been down in a couple games early and came back to win those games. So we’ll have a good practice tomorrow and go back to the drawing board.”

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