Thursday, September 16, 2021

Hornets bounce back with win over Berkshire

Kirtland quickly put Friday’s conference loss to Cardinal in the rearview mirror with an 11-5 win at Berkshire on Saturday morning.

“After a tough loss (on Friday), it was very important to get a win today,” said Kirtland coach Luke Smrdel. “It’s been difficult to find consistency on the field with the weather we’ve been having and after yesterday’s loss, we discussed a lot of things we need to improve upon. I’m very happy to see that we were able to make a lot of those things happen today, especially on the road at a very difficult place to win.”

Smrdel used three different pitchers to keep the Badgers at bay.

Tyler Bratton started the game and allowed three earned runs on five hits and struck out five to pick up the win.

Seann McGill allowed one earned run on two hits and struck out three in two innings of work and Vince Liuzzo retired both batters he faced.

“This year especially, now that we are going to have a lot of games on consecutive days because of the weather, it’s going to be a challenge to establish a pitching rotation,” Smrdel said. “Tyler Bratton did a great job for us today and I decided to go to the bullpen because we had a nice lead and he was only at 70 pitches. If he threw five more, he wouldn’t be able to throw again until Wednesday, but he can go as early as Tuesday now.”

Kirtland scored one in the top of the first and another in the second to take an early 2-0 lead.

Joey Torok was hit by a pitch to open the game and stole his way to third base. He scored on Anthony DeMarco’s single.

Torok’s two-out single in the second led to another run as he again stole his way to third and scored on a fielder’s choice.

Torok, who last week set the school record for career stolen bases, finished the game 4-for-4 with three runs scored and six stolen bases.

“When I’m batting, I just try to stay relaxed and not do too much with it,” Torok said. “I struggled last year because I was trying to hit the ball as far as possible every swing. This year I’m just trying to hit the ball where it’s pitched. Going 4-for-4 helps my confidence a lot and gets me excited for next week.”

The Badgers got on the board in the second when Peter Brent led off the inning with a double. He stole third and scored on Sam Roach’s single.

Kirtland scored nine runs in the next three innings to take control of the game.

Mike Zeuli, DeMarco and Gino Rosson each finished with two hits for the Hornets. Rosson and Zeuli both doubled in the game.

“Anthony DeMarco did a great job knocking guys in with three RBI,” Smrdel said. “Gino Rosson got us two hits hitting in the nine-hole today. The bats seem to be heating up throughout the entire order and hopefully, we can keep them hot now that it looks like we will finally start consistently playing in ‘spring type’ weather.”

Bobby Czekaj and Brent both had two hits for Berkshire.

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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