Monday, January 30, 2023

Defensive lapses cost Independence in 10-6 loss at Beachwood

Independence likely will look at its 10-6 loss at Beachwood on Tuesday as a win that got away.

The Blue Devils and Bison were tied 3-3 heading into the bottom of the fifth inning when Independence’s defensive miscues led to seven Beachwood runs in the final two Bison at bats.

“We just mentally lost track of what we were supposed to do,” said Independence coach Mike Gruber. “We didn’t make the simple routine plays that have to be made to win ball games.”

Tyler Wilson had allowed just three hits through 4 2/3 innings when things took a turn for the worst for the Blue Devils.

Beachwood’s Josh Bialosky hit a pop up at home plate that landed in fair territory for a two-out single. He went on to score on an overthrow at third base. Ben Connor also scored an unearned run in the inning to make it 5-3.

In the bottom of the sixth, Aiden Stern reached on an error and after Wilson got the next two outs Shawn May and Max Balazs hit back-to-back singles to make it 7-3. Two more errors and a double increased Beachwood’ lead to 10-3.

The Blue Devils scored three runs, all with two outs, to pull to within 10-6 but that’s as close as they would get as Pasquale Monteleone’s line drive to left with two runners on base ended the game.

Led by Austin Buc, who was 3-for-4 with a double, the Blue Devils outhit the Bison, 10-8. James Schmetzer and Jake Watroba both had two hits for Independence.

“Offensively, we really put the ball in play today and started to make things happen,” Gruber said. “I was happy to see them come out in the seventh inning after our bad inning on the defensive side go out and hit the ball to give ourselves the chance to come back and win the ball game.”

Wilson went 5 2/3 innings and allowed just three earned runs and struck out four. His performance followed Nick Niro’s one-hitter with 12 strike outs in Independence’s 1-0 loss to Beachwood on Monday.

“The last two days we’ve had great pitching,” Gruber said. “Both our starters came out and threw the ball well and did what they needed to do to get the win. Today our defense just didn’t do what we had to do to get out and cut back on the runs.”

Independence plays at Cleveland Heights on Wednesday.

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Steve Harehttp://www.ohiovarsity.com
Steve Hare is the Chagrin Valley Conference's Sports Information Director. He also created and publishes OhioVarsity.com, 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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