Thursday, September 16, 2021

Blue Devils remain undefeated in league play

Independence needed just four at-bats to take care of the visiting Cardinal Huskies on Monday.

The Blue Devils, who improved to 13-2 overall and 7-0 in league play, run-ruled the Huskies, 10-0, behind 11 hits and the solid pitching of Kim Rega and Sarah Piteo.

“It was good to be back on the field playing ball in warm weather,” said Independence coach Garry Moore. “Sarah and Kim did their job limiting Cardinal to three hits; Sophia Trombetta continues to be that hitter we need in the No. 9 hole going 2-for-3 with an RBI. Hayley Biondi was 2-for-2, with two RBI, but even better was her sac bunt in the third. It was nice to see production coming from all spots in the lineup, especially Erica Esper, who came up big with a double shot to the gap in left center as a pinch hitter.”

Rega and Piteo hit back-to-back triples in the first. Rega was thrown out at the plate trying to extend her hit while Piteo scored on a passed ball to give Independence a 1-0 lead.

The Blue Devils added three more in the second on singles by Ashley Caputo and Rega. Olivia Pallini led off the four-run third with a single and Jenna Suhy and Trombetta also had hits in the inning.

Maggie George singled to open the fourth and Caputo and Pallini both doubled to push the Independence lead to 10-0.

Rega, Pallini, and Biondi each finished with two hits for the Blue Devils.

The dynamic duo of Rega and Piteo kept the Huskies from mounting a threat.

Rega allowed two hits and struck out five in three innings of work while Piteo allowed just one hit and struck out four in two innings.

“I’m definitely happy with my performance today, but I of course there’s always room for improvement,” Rega said. “I feel comfortable at my positions, offense and defense, but can’t wait to be tested in the postseason.”

Independence drew the No. 1 seed in the Avon Lake District and will play the winner of the No. 8 Brooklyn-No. 9 Hawken sectional semifinal at home on May 8.

The Blue Devils made their first appearance in the Division III Ohio High School Fastpitch Coaches’ Association state poll on Monday. Independence was ranked No. 10.

“It feels really great to finally get some recognition for our hard work this year,” Rega said. “As a team, we take this as a stepping stone, continuing to move towards our ultimate goal. This gives us a confidence boost, but no matter what everyone knows, we have to be at our best to go far in the playoffs.”

Hannah Hill led Cardinal with two hits while Erika Ellis was the only other Husky hitter to record a base hit.

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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