Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Blue Devils cruise in final playoffs tune up

Independence closed out the Chagrin Valley Conference portion of its schedule with a 9-1 road win at Fairport Harding on Wednesday.

The Blue Devils, who hammered out 11 hits, improved to 10-2 in the Valley Division and 13-6 overall.

“Once one of us hits, we all just follow suit,” said senior shortstop Katie George, who was 2-for-3 with pair of doubles and two runs scored. “We just did our thing, stayed positive, and were always there to motivate each other.”

George’s first double came with one out in the top of the first.

It sparked a four-run rally that included hits by Kim Rega and Olivia Pallini. Sarah Piteo knocked in two runs in the inning and Maggie George and Pallini both pushed runs across in the inning.

The Blue Devils added another in the second when Jenna Suhy, who was 3-for-5, led off with a single and scored on George’s second double in as many innings.

Independence pushed its lead to 7-0 in the third on singles by Pallini and Suhy. Sophia Trombetta drew a walk and scored a run.

Katie George opened the sixth with a walk and scored on Piteo’s triple. Maggie George then grounded out to make it 9-0.

Rega pitched four shutout innings for the Blue Devils. She allowed just one hit and struck out four. Piteo pitched the final three innings. She allowed one run on two hits and struck out two.

The game was Independence’s final tune up before Thursday’s Division III sectional final against visiting Wellington. The Blue Devils are the No. 4 seed in the Avon Lake District while the Dukes enter the game as the sixth seed.

“We couldn't be more ready,” Katie George said. “The postseason is really the heart of the season and a chance to show off what you've worked on all year. We've done everything we can to prepare and hopefully the ball goes our way. If we work hard and hit, pitch, and field like we did (on Wednesday) there's not a doubt in my mind that there will be very highly competitive games.”

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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