ROCHELLE — The Rochelle Hub varsity baseball team looked to send its eight seniors off with one final home win on Wednesday, when the Kaneland Knights came to town to conclude a two-game Interstate 8 Conference series. Rochelle was unable to snap out of its recent funk, however, falling 11-2 and losing its seventh straight game. The Hubs dropped to 6-11 overall.
Seniors Spencer Warborg, Sam Hacaga, Kyler Lara, Oscar Linares, Michael Schlenbecker, Reese Kirk, Mark Hopkins and Evan Meyers were all recognized before Wednesday’s game. Linares started on the mound for the Hubs, throwing four innings and striking out six Kaneland batters. After a scoreless first inning, Kaneland went ahead 2-0 on a two-run triple in the second inning.
“We had a big group of seniors and it was unfortunate they had to miss their junior year,” head coach Jarrod Reynolds said. “They’re a group that really likes baseball and they enjoy being out on the field and having fun. They have a lot of enthusiasm at practice and they’re a nice group of kids to be around. I’m definitely going to miss their enthusiasm for the game.”
The Knights singled and scored on a groundout to take a 3-0 lead in the third inning. Kaneland then tripled and hit a sacrifice fly to plate another run in the fourth inning, surging ahead 4-0 before a four-run fifth inning on three walks, one single and one double made it 8-0 Knights. Rochelle fell behind 11-0 after one Kaneland run in the sixth inning and two in the seventh.
Meyers walked to start the Hubs in the bottom of the seventh, scoring when Warborg reached on an error to plate Rochelle’s first run. Another error from the Knights allowed Hacaga to reach base and junior Jacob Andrist to score the second and final run for the Hubs. Rochelle will now prepare for the IHSA 3A Regional Semifinals against Dixon on Friday, June 4 at 4:30 p.m. The seventh-seeded Hubs and second-seeded Dukes will play at Borden Field in Dixon.
“Braden [Alfano] has pitched really well for us this year,” Reynolds said. “If he pitches like he has been, we feel that we can be right in the game. We’ve struggled to hit the ball and we’ve faced some good pitches including two Division I pitchers recently. We feel like we match well with Dixon from a pitching standpoint. We just need to find ways to push runs across.”
Rochelle and Kaneland squared off at Northwestern Medicine Field in Geneva, home of the Kane County Cougars, for the first game of the Interstate 8 series on Monday. The Knights shut out the Hubs 5-0, with Kaneland pitcher and Eastern Illinois University recruit Tyler Conklin no-hitting Rochelle and striking out 15 Hub batters.
The Rochelle Hub fresh-soph baseball team defeated Kaneland 12-6 on Wednesday and improved to 7-5 on the season. Brandon Moody doubled and recorded three RBIs for the Hubs, while Colton O’Rorke singled twice and added three RBIs. Garrett Gensler added two RBIs and Alex Burnette singled three times in the win. Noah Lara, Brock Metzger, Christian Burnette and Bradley Cooney each had two hits for Rochelle, while Cody Eichinger chipped in one hit.