Softball: Kaneland's killer schedules continues with loss to Yorkville
Katlyn Schraeder played a part-time role last spring during Yorkville softball's historic season.
As a sophomore Schraeder moved up and down from JV to varsity. She had a good view as the Foxes won their first sectional title.
Bigger things could be in store this postseason. Schraeder is a big part of it.
Now a full-time varsity starter, Schraeder had the go-ahead two-run double in Saturday morning's regular season finale against Kaneland. The Foxes went on to a 5-1 win in a game called because of rain after five innings, and in the process matched a program record with their 26th win.
Good momentum going into next week's playoffs, where Yorkville (26-5) is a No. 1 sectional seed.
"We're having fun, playing hard together, very strong. I think we're going into the playoffs really confident," Schraeder said. "Everybody is doing their part."
Indeed, every Yorkville starter reached base at least once on Saturday in an 11-hit attack, and the Foxes threw both of their pitchers in their final playoff tuneup. Schraeder caught both in a rare opportunity catching.
"It was a great opportunity and I took advantage of it because my main position is catcher on my travel team," Schraeder said. "I've been playing a lot of outfield. I really love the outfield but I really just took advantage of catching today and it was fun."
With the score tied 1-1, Yorkville starting pitcher Lauren Koster doubled to start the fourth, and Ally Stancel drew a walk. Schraeder, the Foxes' No. 9 hitter, followed by turning on a low offering and drilling a double to deep left, scoring both to make it 3-1.
"It was low and inside, and I really love the low pitches," Schraeder said. "I saw it and I knew I had to get those runners in."
The Foxes tacked on two runs in the fifth. Ellie Alvarez doubled and scored on Sara Ebner's single, and Abby Pool singled in Sam Davidowski.
"It was great for us to get people in the game, see who's hot going into the postseason, which is really important, just to get everybody working," Yorkville coach Jory Regnier said. "We know Kaneland is going to give us great competition. It was a good pickup for us and hopefully good preparation for them too."
The matchup between former conference rivals was put together in the last week, and went off despite threatening conditions.
Yorkville scored first, Kaitlyn Roberts singling to lead off the Foxes' first for the first of her three hits and scoring on Ebner's sacrifice fly. Kaneland (15-12) tied it in the third, as Corinne Pugh reached on a dropped ball in the outfield to start the inning and scored on a two-out wild pitch.
Kaneland ace Grace Algrim started and worked three innings, allowing three hits with four strikeouts.
"We didn't have anything on the schedule and Jory reached out. We did whatever we could to make this game happen," Kaneland coach Mike Kuefler said. "You'd like to say that you've got everything done and worked on throughout the season but we're still working on things."
Kaneland goes into the postseason with more losses than usual, but the Knights have played a rugged schedule. Three are by one run to Class 4A No. 1 seeds St. Charles East, Huntley and Marist.
"It might not show with our record at this point, but you know what, our kids are seasoned, prepared and unflappable," Kuefler said. "I think we are ready for the postseason."
So, too, is Yorkville, which paired Koster as a starter and ace Madi Reeves in relief for the first time this season. Koster allowed one unearned run on three hits with two strikeouts over the first four innings, with Miami-Ohio commit Reeves striking out the side in the fourth.
"We're excited. We're going to take it one game at a time," Regnier said. "We take no teams for granted whether we have played them or not, wherever they are ranked in our sectional. We have to go out and play Yorkville softball."