Thursday, December 7, 2023

Big innings lead Kirtland past Cardinal

KIRTLAND—For the second day in a row, Kirtland used a walk-off hit to beat a Chagrin Valley Conference Valley Division opponent.

Vikki Carriero’s bases-loaded grounder in the bottom of the sixth inning led to the final run of the Hornets’ 13-3 six-inning win over visiting Cardinal on Tuesday. The walk-off hit was far less dramatic than Haleigh Getchell’s two-run double in the eighth inning to beat rival Berkshire on Monday, but every win is important for this young Kirtland team.

“We’ve just got to make sure we’re focused for the entire game,” said Kirtland coach Jamie Kamensky. “We got a little too complacent for our liking, but with that being said, the kids are still learning. This was our third game and we’re young have kids in places they don’t usually play. It was good to get the experience but we’ve got to clean it up.”

After Morgan Faber struck out the Cardinal side in the first, the Hornets went right to work in the bottom half of the inning.

Elizabeth Vernon led off with a double and moved to third on Katie McCollister’s bunt base hit. Emily Ungrady then tripled to make it 2-0 and Carriero hit a one-out single to push the lead to 5-0. Faber doubled home Carriero then scored on Kaitlyn Mancini’s single.

Vernon walked and scored on a bases-loaded free pass in the second then singled and scored on McCollister’s single in the third to push the lead to 7-0.

Vernon finished with three of Kirtland’s 13 hits. McCollister, Ungrady, and Faber each collected two hits and Ungrady knocked in a team-high three runs.

“Everybody hit,” Kamensky said. “It’s good to keep our bats going. Right now, we’re trying to be as versatile as we can and find our hitters. It’s a learning process but I can’t complain about our bats today.”

Cardinal clawed its way back into the game with three runs in the top of the fourth.

Anne Rupinski led off the rally with a double and Alexis Christman reached on an error. Faith Peters, who was 2-for-2, singled home Rupinski and Christman and Peters later scored on Kirtland errors.

Kirtland responded with a run in the bottom half of the inning and five more to end the game in the sixth.

“All in all, it wasn’t bad,” said Cardinal coach Dennis Ikeler. “The first inning was pretty rough but they’ve got some good hitters and they got some solid hits. We got into it in the one inning and then we kind of collapsed around. I’m not taking anything away from Kirtland, they’re a good, solid team, but the girls just didn’t hold up.”

After allowing 10 walks at Fairport on Monday, Hanna Traggiai was more consistent at Kirtland on Tuesday.

“Hanna did a great job tonight,” Ikeler said. “We just couldn’t give her the support in the field or with the bats. She did a great job holding her own and she’s battling when she needs to battle.”

Faber went the distance for the Hornets.

She allowed five hits and struck out 12 while also finishing 2-for-4 at the plate with two RBI.

“Today was one of Morgan’s best games I’ve seen her play in the last couple of years,” Kamensky said. “She had 12 Ks and she battled through some tough situations and didn’t give up. It was good to see her resiliency on the mound.”

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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