WHEATFIELD | A much-anticipated rematch is set in place after Tuesday’s opening games at the Class 3A Kankakee Valley Sectional.
The host Kougars will meet the Hanover Central Wildcats in Thursday’s first semi-final before Andrean plays Rensselaer.
K.V. advanced with a 21-0 five-inning victory over Calumet before Hanover disposed of Knox, 9-0.
K.V. (23-6) had no trouble with Calumet and put the game away early with a 14-run first inning, sending 20 batters to the plate. Brianna Niemiec had the big blow with a bases-loaded triple.
Niemiec finished the day 2-for-3 with four RBIs.
“I’m finally hitting the ball good toward the end of the season when I really need it,” she said. “I’m just trying to help the team out.”
K.V.’s big first inning made it easy for starting pitcher Taurie Piatt, who allowed just one hit in two innings of work and struck out five.
“We were glad we came out and scored some runs early,” K.V. coach Brian Flynn said. “We hit the ball real well. Calumet really lost their strong pitcher they’ve had for four years to graduation, so they’re rebuilding.
“The pitchers they did have thrown reasonably hard, they just had a little trouble with their control. When they put it in there, we hit it. We move on, and that’s what you want to do.”
K.V. added two runs in the second inning and five in the fourth. Kaitlyn Jones and Lauren Stokes each added two hits.
Hanover’s Melissa Balkema helped the Wildcats (15-9) jump out to a 3-0 lead with a two-run homer the first inning. She drove in another run with a single in a two-run fourth.
K.V. beat Hanover 7-6 in a windy April day in Cedar Lake.
“It was a strange game with the wind being the way it was,” Flynn said. “It was early in the season, and a lot of things have changed since then. Hopefully, we’ll be ready to play hard and play our best on Thursday.”