WHEATFIELD | The Class 3A Kankakee Valley Sectional isn’t seeded, but the best two teams will face each other in today’s 5:30 p.m. championship game between the Kougars and Andrean.
After K.V. (20-9) made quick work of Knox, 12-1 in five innings, in Thursday‘s first semifinal game, Andrean (23-4) eliminated Hanover Central, 5-0.
The championship will be the rubber game, as the teams traded victories in the regular season.
“We’re looking forward to it,” Andrean coach Brooke Baker-Runyon said. “It should be a good game. Two good pitchers, so it will probably be a pitchers’ duel. I like close games.”
Andrean did just enough to beat Hanover, collecting seven hits.
“Offensively, I don’t think some of our girls had their best at-bats, and we ran ourselves out of some innings,” Baker-Runyon said.
It was more than enough for pitcher Nikki Steinbach, who fanned 15 and allowed just two hits.
Steinbach is also looking forward to the title game.
“If we come out strong like I know we can, no one can beat us,” she said. “You can never underestimate K.V., because they can come out strong, and they have beat us before.”
Jessica Whittemore pitched admirably for Hanover (13-13).
“She did a nice job,” Hanover coach Larry McMillen said.
K.V. (20-9) jumped out a 6-1 lead after one inning, as the first five batters hit safely and scored. Lauren Stokes, Ashley Dobson and Mia Stevens each drove in runs with singles in the rally.
“Our bats were coming alive, and we were just feeling real good batting,” Dobson said. “If we keep that up for the next game, that would be great.”
The Kougars put the game away with five runs in the fourth. Stevens’ solo homer to left was the big blow.
“When Mia hit her home run, that was just awesome,” said Dobson, who finished with two hits and two RBIs.
Stevens just moved up from the junior varsity to give the Kougars another bat.
“She’s done a nice job for us since we’ve had her from the end of the JV season, putting the ball in play hard,” K.V. coach Brian Flynn said. “It’s been a nice addition to our roster.”
On the mound, Dobson scattered five hits and struck out four.
She said the team came out with a lot of energy and was pumped and ready to play.
“If we can keep this going for (Friday), I think it will be good,” Dobson said.