Baseball/Softball notes: Oh brother, Hall baseball has strength in siblings

Red Devils have five sets of brothers with two pairs of twins

Newman’s Garet Wolfe can’t handle the throw as Hall’s Max Bryant slides in safe at second base Monday, April 15, 2024 at Newman High School.

The Hall Red Devils baseball program has not just one set of brothers, but five sets, including two pairs of twins.

Hall senior Max Bryant has been joined on the varsity this year by his brother, Luke, a freshman.

The Red Devils double up with senior twins, Matt and Jason Visocky, and sophomore Curran twins Braden on the varsity team and Jack on the fresh-soph.

There’s also the Jablonskis - junior Jack and sophomore Jimmie - and the Kochs - senior Joel and sophomore Alek.

Max Bryant said he’s been looking forward to this moment for a long time.

“It’s been so fun. I was really hoping at the beginning of the year he was going to get brought up. It’s been nothing but fun playing with him,” Max said. “Ever since I started high school, I was like, ‘Man, I really wish I could play with my brother one day.’ It’s been really fun to be able to do that.”

The younger Bryant is a rising star in his own right and doesn’t need much brotherly coaching.

“I really don’t have to tell him much. He knows what he’s doing out there,” Max Bryant said.

Poll watching

Rockridge is No. 2 and St. Bede No. 11 in this week’s Illinois Coaches Association Class 2A Softball Poll. They will square off on Saturday, April 27 at Abbot Father Philip Davey Field at St. Bede. They are also paired in the same sectional.

The Rockets are three-time defending 2A state champions and the Bruins are coming off a 1A state crown, now bumped up to 2A due to the success multiplier. Beecher is No. 1 in 2A.

Other area ranked teams are No. 6 Newark in 1A, No. 13 Seneca in 2A and No. 6 Sterling in 3A. Serena (1A) and Sherrard (2A) are receiving votes.

Bureau Valley sophomore catcher connects for a 3-run homer to lead the Storm to a 4-1 win over Kewanee Monday. The Storm took three-time defending state champion Rockridge into extra innings before falling 4-3 on Saturday.

Storm give Rockets a scare

The Bureau Valley Storm softball team gave Rockridge a run for its money Saturday, before falling 4-3 in eight innings.

The Storm struck for three runs in the top of the seventh inning to take a 3-2 lead. Rockets ace Kendra Lewis, a Wisconsin recruit, came in to get the Rockets out of the inning without further damage. The Rockets scored in the bottom of the seventh to tie the game and came back with another run in the eighth for the 4-3 win with Lewis (1.2 IP, 5 K) earning the victory.

First-year Storm coach Dave Shepard was not surprised to see how his team played because he said they are competitors.

“We had a great opportunity to win a ballgame,” he said. “The game was everything a fan could have wanted unless you were from Bureau Valley, because we hate to not win. It was crazy fun and exciting to be part of. Again I’m so proud of what we’re accomplishing at BV. I thank the girls for that.”

Shepard said the Rockridge program is an example of what other teams strive for.

“I love their culture and am working on ours to have the same feeling. Their stadium is just a shrine of what they have accomplished with the flags and all the banners,” he said.

New players fitting in

Two softball programs are getting a boost from new talent this season.

Bureau Valley has gained two new players, Kadyn Haage, who moved in from Somonauk, and Sadie Bailey, who came from Lowpoint-Washburn. Haage, who was batting .360, is playing at third base with Bailey (.286) across the diamond at first.

“Both are fitting right in,” Shepard said. “Haage is our entertainment and Bailey Is doing awesome also. Two great girls that are getting stronger every game.”

Princeton has picked up sophomore Keely Lawson after her year-long transfer from Bureau Valley was finalized. Coach Jhavon Hayes said Lawson has been flexible and willing to do whatever she needs to help the team, playing center field and short stop.

“She still wants to pitch, but I won’t let her,” Hayes joked.

A highly-touted prospect, Lawson has heated up as late at the dish, 5 for her last 7 with 5 RBIs, her first homer of the season Saturday at Geneseo to help power the Tigresses to a 6-1 win over the Maple Leafs. She is now hitting .375 with 15 RBIs.

Anky is back

Alex Ankiewicz has returned to the mound for the St. Bede baseball team, picking up where he left off last year. The senior right-hander has allowed just one earned run in his first four innings coming back from a broken foot sustained during the basketball season.

“His arm back in the rotation will be a big boost to our pitching staff,” SBA coach Bill Booker said.

He was 5-1 with a 1.98 ERA last year, earning co-MVP honors with Seth Ferrari

By the numbers

* Princeton junior Nolan Kloepping had two walk-off hits in a week against Hall and Kewanee.

* The Hall Red Devils have stolen 62 bases as a team, led by brothers Luke and Max Bryant and Braden Curran with 11 each.

* Princeton junior pitcher/short stop Jordan Reinhardt, who has not allowed an earned run in nine innings, but also carries the area’s top ERA (0.00) but batting average (.465) as well.

* The St. Bede softball team is 10-1 and has outscored its opponents by a margin of 110-22. The Bruins are batting .400 as a team with 11 homers while their pitchers sport a 1.80 ERA with 132 strikeouts.

* Speedy sophomore Lily Bosnich of St. Bede beat out two bunt singles in last week’s game with Dwight and has five or six on the season. She’s also a sprints standout for the St. Bede track team.

BCR softball leaderboard

BCR baseball leaderboard

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