Independence prepared for Wednesday’s rematch with rival Cuyahoga Heights, the defending Division IV state champion, with an 8-3 win at Perry.
The Blue Devils, who improved to 12-3 overall and 6-1 in the Chagrin Valley Conference Valley Division, pounded out 11 hits and played solid defense in the win.
“We hit the ball well and our defense again was outstanding,” said Independence coach Garry Moore. “Some of the plays these kids are making, unreal.”
Halle Dorko, who was 3-for-4 with two runs batted in, and Katie George, who was 4-for-5, led the Blue Devils at the plate.
Meanwhile, Victoria Sirna shut down the Pirates’ offense.
Sirna allowed three unearned runs, four hits and struck out six in the win.
“She pitched really well,” Moore said. “I just kind of take that kid for granted; she’s just that good.”
Independence scored three runs in the top of the second when Nora Baran singled, Nicole Ferrara walked and Katie George reached on an error to make it 1-0. Dork then doubled home Ferrara and George for a 3-0 lead.
Baran has played in just eight games this season but she makes an impact every time she steps on the field.
“She’s the quiet one,” Moore said. “She missed a few games when she went to Florida with the band but she’s been playing lights out. I don’t think she’s made an error and now her hitting is starting to come around.”
The Blue Devils added four more in the fourth on singles by Ferrara and George and a double by Sirna, that made it 4-0. Dorko then singled home another run and Larissa Adams knocked in a pair on Independence’s fifth straight hit.
“Everyone hit the ball,” Moore said. “That Perry team is pretty talented. They made an error at a crucial time then we hit the ball.”
Perry scored its three runs in the bottom of the fifth on three hits and an error. The Blue Devils got one back in the seventh.
George has been on the ball all season long but she finally broke out on Monday.
“She hit the ball four times really hard,” Moore said. “She always hits it hard; unfortunately she just hits it right at people. She just keeps hitting the ball and it found the openings today.”
Independence plays at Cuyahoga Heights on Wednesday needing a win to earn a share of the conference title.