Big Foot nearing RVC South baseball crown
WALWORTH—Football dominates the trophy case at Walworth Big Foot High School.
The Chiefs won the Division 4 state title in 2009, finished runner-up in 2008 and 2012, and have won seven straight Rock Valley South titles.
The baseball program is about to add its own piece of hardware to the mix.
Big Foot is 11-3 in the Rock Valley South and one win—or one Beloit Turner loss—away from its first conference title since 2003. The Chiefs can claim the outright title Tuesday at Clinton.
“We set the bar pretty high coming into the season,” Big Foot coach Steve Bochat said. “There were a number of goals we wanted to achieve, but winning conference was at the top of the list. We're not there yet, but we're getting closer.”
The Chiefs are 13-5 overall. Two of the losses were to Division 1 programs, while another came against Jefferson—the top ranked team in the state in Division 2.
Turner has been a Rock Valley South powerhouse for the last decade. The Chiefs swept the Trojans in a doubleheader earlier this season.
Big Foot is averaging nearly eight runs a game, including eight games of 10 or more runs, but pitching has been the catalyst behind the success.
The ace of the staff is left-hander Austin Hoey. The senior has been dominant this season, including Thursday's 13-strikeout performance in a complete-game 2-1 win over Edgerton. That victory solidified Big Foot's likely No. 1 seed for the upcoming Division 2 regional.
Hoey said this year's team is a tight-knit and talented group.
“We've been playing together for a long time, and that's why we play so well together,” Hoey said. “I think every one of us is a solid player.
“Winning conference is great, but we want more. Getting the No. 1 seed was really important, and now that we've got it, we've got to take advantage of it.”
Bochat said winning conference is important, but an early tournament exit would taint the entire season. Big Foot could host Edgerton in a regional title game. The Crimson Tide knocked the Chiefs out of the tournament a year ago, and Thursday's win over Edgerton was the first time Big Foot had beaten Edgerton in the six years that Bochat has been coach.
“We're not done meeting our goals by a long shot,” Bochat said. “We wanted to hit over .300 as a team, which we're doing right now, and win at least 20 games, which we still have a chance to do.
“After that, our goal was to win regional. And with the No. 1 seed and a chance to host, we've moved closer to that goal.”
Big Foot's baseball team will certainly add at least one more trophy to the case. The football program certainly won't mind sharing the wealth.