Friday, February 23, 2024

Big inning leads to quick win for Hornets

KIRTLAND—A nine-run second inning helped Kirtland make quick work of visiting Fairport Harding in a key Chagrin Valley Conference Valley Division matchup.

The Hornets added single runs in the third and fourth innings to finish off the Skippers, 11-0, in a five-inning contest that took just one hour to play.

“We got off to a little slow start in the first inning but had a big second inning,” said Kirtland coach Luke Smrdel. “Fairport definitely made a few mistakes and we took advantage then we started hitting the ball. We had some very good approaches at the plate.”

The quick game helped the Hornets avoid the rain and kept them in a first place tie with Berkshire for the CVC title. The Hornets improved to 15-7 overall and 6-1 in conference play.

Jacob Boyd was hit by a pitch with one out to start the big second inning. Vinny Matticoli then reached base on an error with two outs and Andrew Hutton singled to make it 1-0. Brendan Williamson then drew a walk to load the bases.

Back-to-back walks by David Allchin and Palmer Capretta made it 3-0 and Anthony Fortuna’s double cleared the bases. Matthew Finkler, Boyd and Owen Loncar followed up that big hit with three straight singles to make it 9-0.

“We only had eight hits but it was a team effort,” Smrdel said. “We played great defense and had great hitting. It was a great day despite the rain.”

With Finkler on the mound, the Hornets cruised to the five-inning win. He struck out four and allowed just one hit.

“He was back to his good old ways of throwing strikes and getting ahead of batters,” Smrdel said. “He was back to his normal self.”

A win at Fairport on Tuesday will clinch a share of the CVC title for the Hornets.

Steve Hare
Steve Hare
Steve Hare is the Chagrin Valley Conference's Sports Information Director. He also created and publishes, an online publication dedicated to providing hyperlocal coverage to area high school athletic programs. Hare began covering high school sports for the Lake County News Herald in 1997. Hare attended Willoughby South High School through the middle of his senior year, then graduated from Berkshire High School in Burton in 1986. He played football, wrestled and was an all-Geauga county baseball player (1986). He lives in Chardon with his wife Paulette and their children.

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