Kaneland sophomore Anthony Holubecki didn't allow a hit through four innings against Aurora Central Catholic Friday in the Class 3A Plano regional semifinals.
When the fifth inning rolled around, Knights coach Brian Aversa sent Nick Henne to the mound. Henne tossed a 1-2-3 fifth with 2 strikeouts, completing the combined no-hitter with Holubecki in Kaneland's 12-0 victory.
"I wasn't thinking about that (no-hitter) at all," said Holubecki, whose team also threw a combined no-hitter earlier this week against Wheaton Warrenville South.
"We were just trying to keep his pitch count low and we have some other guys that need work," Aversa said. "No-hitter or not it's a team game. Tony is the first one to know that. He doesn't care about that stuff."
Holubecki, a sophomore already committed to Notre Dame, struck out eight and walked two. He improved to 5-2.
"Anytime you have a pitcher striking out a bunch of guys and the defense doesn't have to make plays, it's awesome," Aversa said. "When you do get plays you make them, it's even easier."
And it also helps to score early, which Kaneland (17-15) did with four runs in the first inning. The Knights capitalized on three walks and a hit batter in the inning.
With that 4-0 lead, Holubecki went back to the mound and struck out the side in the second inning.
"I felt good," Holubecki said. "Best run support we've gotten all year. That's not a pushover team either. These guys did a great job at the plate. I was pretty decent at working ahead. Once we got a lead I just had to throw strikes and we got it done."
The Knights' bats started to come alive in the second with a ringing RBI double to the fence in right from Joe Laudont for a 5-0 lead, and then Danny Hammermeister and Tyler Carlson opened the third with booming doubles to nearly the same spot in deep left field.
Those hits were the start of a 5-run third that pushed the margin to 10 runs. Nick Stratman plated the final run of the inning with a single between third and short after another RBI hit from Laudont.
"We had a nice approach," Aversa said. "We've been working on that for two weeks. We've been working on seeing the ball, seeing the zone. We were hitting the ball well when we got a pitch in the zone we drove the ball. Looked good."
Aurora Central Catholic (19-16) defeated the Knights last Friday, though they didn't face Holubecki. The Chargers never got going Friday.
"The story of the day was them," Chargers coach Sean Bieterman said. "They outplayed us. They are a good team, the kid is a heck of a pitcher and they seem to rally really well behind him. They beat us all three phases.
"We had some great kids. This group of seniors has won 46 games over the last two years which if you know anything about the way this program has been before that's a huge accomplishment."
Laudont and Carlson both had 2 hits to lead Kaneland's 10-hit attack. Next comes a rematch with St. Francis at 10 a.m. Saturday in the regional championship game. The Spartans defeated the Knights 3-2 last year to win a regional title on Kaneland's home field.
"They are a good team," Aversa said. "Every year they are in the thick of things. We saw them last year. They are kind of nemesis. Hopefully we can replicate today."