STILLMAN VALLEY, Ill. (WTVO/WQRF) — It was high school sports drama at its best Thursday afternoon in a sectional semifinal baseball game between the Byron Tigers and Wheaton Academy. The player who played the biggest role in that drama was Byron’s Kye Aken.
In the bottom of the eighth inning with the game tied at 4, two outs and the bases loaded, Aiken delivered a bouncing single through the middle to score Caden Considine with a walk-off, game-winning hit and run. Not bad for a batter who hits in the ninth spot in the lineup.
The Tigers took advantage of a big break at the start of the inning. Catcher Charlie Mershon hit a high fly ball leading off the inning. Wheaton Academy’s right fielder was under it in plenty of time, but he misplayed it. The ball dropped in. Mershon hustled into second base.
After a pair out outs and a pair of intentional walks loaded the bases, Aken came through with his clutch hit.
Both teams had their chances to score in the seventh inning, but neither could. Byron starting pitcher Braden Smith reached the 115 maximum pitch limit with two outs in the seventh inning. He was removed having struck out 14 battersand allowing only five hits and two earned runs.
Ryan Tucker replaced Smith on the mound. He worked out of a jam in the seventh inning and again in the eighth inning setting the stage for Byron’s win in the bottom of the eighth.
For highlights of this game watch the media player above.
Byron advances to the 2A Stillman Valley Sectional Championship game at 10 a.m. Friday against Rockford Christian making it an all-Big Northern Conference title game.