Saturday, January 28, 2023

Billings tosses no-hitter in Independence’s win over Harvey

Independence wasn’t as productive on offense as head coach Mike Gruber would have liked but with Dakota Billings on the mound the Blue Devils did enough to leave Painesville with a 3-0 win over Harvey.

Billings struck out five and allowed just two walks in a complete game no-hitter.

“I felt great after coming home with the no-hitter,” Billings said. “I was jumping inside but I walked off smiling.”

For Billings, the success started with getting ahead of the Harvey batters.

“He always finds the zone,” Gruber said. “His pitch count really helped him out too. There were two innings, one was six pitches and the other was seven pitches, so he only had 67 pitches going into the seventh inning. He was throwing a lot of strikes. Most of the time he never really had a count deeper than two balls.”

Independence managed only five hits in the game but the Blue Devils made them count.

“We did enough to get runs across to win the game,” Gruber said. “Kyle Stefanski had a couple of hits to knock in a couple of runs. We hit the ball but they were fielding it pretty well. They had an error in the first inning and they turned it on defensively. Hats off to them for playing a good defensive game.”

Stefanski finished the game 2-for-3 with two runs batted in.

“I haven't been at my best the past couple of games hitting the ball,” he said. “It felt good when they found the holes and made it through.”

Ryan Wancata, Nick Mroczynski and Jakob Wells also had hits for the Blue Devils, who improved to 5-8 overall and 3-6 in the Chagrin Valley Conference Valley Division.



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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