WHEATFIELD | Sevens were wild on the opening night of the Class 3A Kankakee Valley Sectional on Tuesday.
The host Kougars eliminated rival Rensselaer 7-0 in the nightcap after Knox ousted Calumet 7-0 in the opening game. K.V. will face Knox in Thursday’s first game before Hanover Central battles Andrean.
The Kougars plated five runs in the second inning, using a bunting clinic to get the rally started.
Three bunt singles around a double steal produced the first run before a Rennselaer throwing error allowed the second run to score.
Gabriella Henning drove in another run with a sac fly, and Maribeth Strong drove in another with a ground out. Alyssa Matson scored on an error to give starting pitcher Taurie Piatt a 5-0 cushion.
“I thought our inning where we executed a lot of bunts put a lot of pressure on their defense,” K.V. coach Brian Flynn said. “That really opened the door for us to score some runs. I was really proud with our short game.”
K.V. (19-9) added single runs in the third and fourth innings.
“I have a lot of confidence in my defense and my offense,” Piatt said. “They’re both very strong.”
Piatt said she just wanted to throw strikes to help her team advance.
“I was prepared and ready to help my team win the sectional,” Piatt said.
Piatt got the start over Ashley Dobson and allowed just three hits and struck out 10.
“Taurie is 8-2 on the season, and we have a lot of confidence in her being able to pitch for us,” Flynn said. “We thought she’d do a good job tonight, and she did.”
The Bombers (5-17) lost 16-0 to the Kougars a couple weeks ago when Piatt tossed a no-hitter.
“We haven’t played K.V. in seven innings for years,” Rensselaer coach Kim Denton said. “We played a very good game tonight. We’ve had our ups and downs all year, and this was definitely one of our ups.
“The girls were fired up and believed in themselves. They knew the challenges ahead of them, but they came in a gave their effort. That’s all a coach can ask for.”
It was one bad inning that cost Calumet (12-13), allowing five runs on four hits to break open a scoreless game. Starting pitcher Kaitlyn Magiera had fanned seven through four innings before the wheels fell off in the fifth.
“The girls played hard all year, and I have no regrets,” Calumet coach Ryan Vondrak said. “One bad inning doesn’t make a season. The seniors have turned this program around from where it was to where it is now.”