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updated: 4/19/2014 5:30 PM

Kaneland goes extra innings to beat Geneva

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  • Kaneland's Joe Panico slides into home plate past Geneva catcher Nathan Montgomery to break a 6-6 tie in the ninth inning on Saturday in Maple Park.

       Kaneland's Joe Panico slides into home plate past Geneva catcher Nathan Montgomery to break a 6-6 tie in the ninth inning on Saturday in Maple Park.
    Laura Stoecker | Staff Photographer

  • Kaneland's Joe Panico slides into home plate past Geneva catcher Nathan Montgomery to break the 6-6 tie in the ninth inning on Saturday, April 19.

       Kaneland's Joe Panico slides into home plate past Geneva catcher Nathan Montgomery to break the 6-6 tie in the ninth inning on Saturday, April 19.
    Laura Stoecker | Staff Photographer

  • Kaneland's Nick Stratman, left, is congratulated by teammate Nate Hopkins on catching the final out for Geneva in the top of the ninth inning on Saturday, April 19.

       Kaneland's Nick Stratman, left, is congratulated by teammate Nate Hopkins on catching the final out for Geneva in the top of the ninth inning on Saturday, April 19.
    Laura Stoecker | Staff Photographer

  • Geneva's Brandon Evert is safe on second base from Kaneland's Joe Panico in the ninth inning on Saturday, April 19.

       Geneva's Brandon Evert is safe on second base from Kaneland's Joe Panico in the ninth inning on Saturday, April 19.
    Laura Stoecker | Staff Photographer

  • Kaneland's Jake Bilotta tags out Geneva's Nathan Montgomery at second base in the fifth inning on Saturday, April 19.

       Kaneland's Jake Bilotta tags out Geneva's Nathan Montgomery at second base in the fifth inning on Saturday, April 19.
    Laura Stoecker | Staff Photographer

  • Kaneland's Joe Panico slides into home plate to break the 6-6 tie vs. Geneva in the ninth inning on Saturday, April 19.

       Kaneland's Joe Panico slides into home plate to break the 6-6 tie vs. Geneva in the ninth inning on Saturday, April 19.
    Laura Stoecker | Staff Photographer

  • Kaneland's Nick Stratman is congratulated by teammates as he returns to the dugout after catching the final out in the top of the ninth inning.

       Kaneland's Nick Stratman is congratulated by teammates as he returns to the dugout after catching the final out in the top of the ninth inning.
    Laura Stoecker | Staff Photographer

  • Kaneland's Nick Stahl tries to catch a hit off the bat as it flies between his legs and past his glove in the eighth inning on Saturday, April 19.

       Kaneland's Nick Stahl tries to catch a hit off the bat as it flies between his legs and past his glove in the eighth inning on Saturday, April 19.
    Laura Stoecker | Staff Photographer

  • Kaneland's Jacob Bachio heads for second base while Geneva's Nick Porretto calls out the direction of a fly ball in the eighth inning on Saturday, April 19.

       Kaneland's Jacob Bachio heads for second base while Geneva's Nick Porretto calls out the direction of a fly ball in the eighth inning on Saturday, April 19.
    Laura Stoecker | Staff Photographer

  • Kaneland's Nick Henne, center, celebrates with the Knights after their tie-breaking win over Geneva in the ninth inning on Saturday, April 19. Henne was the Knights' final pitcher of the game.

       Kaneland's Nick Henne, center, celebrates with the Knights after their tie-breaking win over Geneva in the ninth inning on Saturday, April 19. Henne was the Knights' final pitcher of the game.
    Laura Stoecker | Staff Photographer

  • Kaneland's Joe Panico slides into home plate to break the 6-6 tie vs. Geneva in the ninth inning on Saturday, April 19.

       Kaneland's Joe Panico slides into home plate to break the 6-6 tie vs. Geneva in the ninth inning on Saturday, April 19.
    Laura Stoecker | Staff Photographer

 

Opportunity knocked repeatedly for both teams during Saturday's nonconference baseball game between Geneva and Kaneland.

The Knights (7-3) capitalized on their opportunities when it mattered most, pushing a run across without the benefit of a base hit to tie the game in the bottom of the seventh and scoring the game-winning run a couple innings later on an RBI single by sophomore catcher Joe Laudont during their 7-6, extra-inning victory over the Vikings (8-2) in Maple Park.

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Joe Panico led off the ninth with a double before Laudont sent Eric O'Laughlin's first offering through the middle of the infield to drive in Panico as the Knights collected their sixth straight victory.

"I went down to talk to (third-base) coach (Brian Aversa) and he said, 'get up there and be aggressive -- if you get your pitch, hit it up the middle,'" said Laudont. "I was a little surprised (not bunting) but Joe (Panico) had a great hit and I think he just wanted to keep the momentum going."

The game had a little bit of everything, including clutch 2-out hits, shaky defense and a reversed balk call after it appeared that the Vikings had taken a 7-6 lead of their own in the top of the ninth.

"It was a normal 9-inning game for everybody, wasn't it?" joked Aversa. "It was a little bit of a war of attrition there. We did a nice job of staying with it, staying with it and making the best of the opportunities that were presented to us."

Geneva seized an early lead with a 4-run third that featured RBI singles from Garrett Davis and Nick Derr and Ben Chally's 2-run double down the third-base line.

Kaneland cut that lead in half in the fourth on RBI singles from Nick Stratman and Connor Fedderly before going on top 5-4 with a 3-run fifth.

Tyler Carlson delivered a run-producing single and Stratman added a sacrifice fly while the Knights also took advantage of a pair of Geneva errors.

The Vikings' Nate Montgomery lashed an RBI double in the sixth to tie the game at 5-5 before a Kaneland miscue allowed the visitors to retake a 6-5 lead.

"That's two games in a row where we've come back from behind," said Vikings coach Matt Hahn. "Obviously you want to pull those games out and win but if you're looking for a silver lining, I guess that would be it.

"Brian's teams always put the ball in play and our defense really let us down today," added Hahn. "I think I counted six errors -- it may be more. That was the difference. Give them credit -- they put the ball in play and forced us to make the plays and we didn't."

Geneva nearly scored a run without putting the ball in play in the top of the ninth after a balk was called on Knights reliever Nick Henne with runners on second and third and 1 out.

However, after a lengthy conference, the umpires reversed the decision and runners Brandon Evert and Alex Lobrillo returned to their respective bases.

"If he (Henne) would have jumped and straddled the rubber, that's a spinoff but he jumped straight back and didn't ball-fake or anything so there was no fake to an unoccupied base in my eyes," said Aversa. "I guess they agreed with me. It could have gone either way, I guess."

Two batters later, Stratman made a running catch in deep left-center to rob Derr of an extra-base hit to end the Vikings' half of the ninth.

"Stratman tracking that ball down in the outfield there -- that was a great play," said Aversa.

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