Saturday, January 28, 2023

Brooklyn rallies past Independence

Independence’s post-season run came to a crashing halt on Monday when Brooklyn scored three runs in the top of the seventh inning and held on for a 5-4 win.

The Blue Devils put runners in scoring position in the bottom half of the inning but didn’t get the clutch hit to tie the game.

“I thought we put ourselves in position to win the game,” said Independence coach Mike Gruber. “I explained that all playoff games are tough battles. They end up being one-run games. It’s a game of inches that could go either way.”

Independence got off to a hot start with three runs in the second on a two run single by Dakota Billings and an RBI hit by Kyle Stefanski. The Blue Devils later added another run on a Nick Mroczynski RBI base hit.

The Hurricanes rallied in the seventh to take the lead.

“We had a misplayed ball that led to a double and walked the next batter,” Gruber said. “They laid down a safe bunt and got a single to score two runs. They found a way to manufacture that extra run.”

Tyler Wilson went the distance for the Blue Devils.

He allowed eight hits and walked just two.

“I feel for Tyler Wilson,” Gruber said. “He pitched a great game. He always does for us.”

Stefanski led off the bottom of the seventh with a single and stole second. He moved to third on a ground ball out and Owen Ramm walked. Ryan Wancata hit a deep fly ball to right but the Hurricanes made the play to seal their win.

“We hit the ball and got the key hit we needed in the third inning,” Gruber said. “We were doing what we needed to do to win the game but we needed that big hit. That’s been the story of our season.”

Stefanski was 3-for-4 with an RBI and Ricky Dolejs and Mroczynski both had two hits for the Blue Devils.

Independence is scheduled to host Cuyahoga Heights on Thursday.


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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