Baseball: Kaneland scores early, Alex Schiefer throws shutout in win over L-P

Knights top Cavaliers 14-0 to complete three-game sweep

Kaneland pitcher Alex Schiefer delivers a pitch to L-P on Thursday, April 11, 2024 at Huby Sarver Field in La Salle.

LA SALLE – When Alex Schiefer stepped on the mound Thursday, he already had a two-run cushion.

That was more than enough for the Kaneland senior.

Schiefer allowed only four hits to help the Knights to a 14-0, five-inning victory over La Salle-Peru in an Interstate 8 Conference game at Huby Sarver Field.

“I think we played great,” Schiefer said. “We got the bats working early. We scored two runs in the first, which was about as many as we scored in the first two games of the series, so that was great to help me. I just wanted to pick them up after they gave me some runs, and I did my job.”

Schiefer struck out eight batters and walked none.

“I tried to limit the amount of balls I threw,” Schiefer said. “Last time out, I walked too many people. We’ve been doing that this series. I did my best to keep it in the zone. I let the defense work, and that ended up getting me some strikeouts as well.”

Schiefer allowed one hit in each the first, third, fourth and fifth innings.

He ended the first inning with a double play, struck out two batters after Alex Galindo’s double in the third and ended the fourth on a strikeout after Jacob Gross’ triple. The game ended on a caught stealing in the fifth.

“Schiefer set the tone for us on the mound, and the offense supported him the whole time,” Kaneland coach Brian Aversa said. “We did a really nice job getting him some runs early, and we just kept adding to it, and Schiefer shut them down.

“His stuff was working for him. He felt real comfortable throwing three pitches. The wind and a little bit of a delay [because of lightning] can throw you off, but he stayed focused and knew he didn’t have to do everything himself. He let the defense work, turned a double play.”

Members of the Kaneland baseball team hi-five teammates Preston Popovich and Anthony Campise after scoring a pair of runs against L-P on Thursday, April 11, 2024 at Huby Sarver Field in La Salle.

The Knights’ offense started strong, as Anthony Campise delivered a two-run double in the first.

Kaneland scored one in the second and three in the third before blowing the game open with an eight-run fifth that was stopped for half an hour due to lightning.

“I think we were a little more aggressive at the plate than we had been the last couple games,” Aversa said. “Everybody was seeing the ball well. We were hitting it well. We had big two-out hits with runners on. It made things easier for us defensively and pitching.”

The Knights got a lot of production from the bottom third of the order. Nos. 7-9 hitters Preston Popovich, Jack Wituk and Tom Thill combined to go 5 of 10 with five RBIs and five runs.

“Those guys have been doing that most of the year,” Aversa said. “It’s not expected, but it is a luxury to have, and we want them to continue doing that. Those guys are seeing the ball well, putting it in play and setting the table for the top of the order.”

The Knights are 7-3 and 3-0 in the conference after completing the sweep in the first I-8 series of the season.

“It feels great,” Schiefer said. “It’s a great start for us. It’s fun.”

Galindo, Gross, Seth Adams and Aieden Wenskunas each had one hit for L-P (6-9, 0-3), which has lost seven games in a row.

“We didn’t start off very well,” L-P coach Matt Glupczynski said. “When we boot the ball around a little bit, set the table for them and fall behind hitters, a good team like that, that’s what they’re going to do to you.

“We have to find ourselves at the plate. We have to get our confidence back at the plate and be able to put the ball in play and drive the ball around the yard like we know we’re capable of doing. Baseball is a funny game. Sometimes you’re feeling it and have your confidence, and other times you don’t.

“Right now, we just have to keep fighting, keep working and see if we can get back to what we know we’re capable of doing.”

L-P's Alex Galindo smacks a double against Kaneland on Thursday, April 11, 2024 at Huby Sarver Field in La Salle.
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