Friday, February 23, 2024

Hornets rebound to split Saturday doubleheader

Kirtland rebounded from a 12-2 loss to Lake Catholic with a 6-2 win over host Eastlake North to earn a split of Saturday’s doubleheader.

The Hornets, who improved to 8-2 overall, learned from their mistakes in the first game and came out in the second with a better approach at the plate, on the mound and in spirit.

“The first game, we got behind in the count and gave up eight free bases in the first three innings,” said Kirtland coach Luke Smrdel. “Lake Catholic took advantage of that. You can’t do that against good teams and we ended getting run-ruled in six innings. We lost the first game but came out with fire in the second and got a 3-0 lead and held it. It was a fantastic effort on the boys’ part.”

Seth Carn allowed five earned runs in two innings to take the loss against Lake Catholic but Smrdel is knows he’ll bounce back in his next outing.

“He struggled with his command,” Smrdel said. “You could tell after the second inning he was having trouble but he’ll bounce back. I have confidence in him.”

Sophomore Blake Andonian made his first varsity appearance and allowed just one run in 2 2/3 innings against the Cougars.

“He came into his first varsity game and held them a little bit,” Smrdel said. “That was the first time I saw him pitch and he hasn’t even pitched on JV.”

Palmer Capretta ended the first game 2-for-2 with two runs batted in and Owen Loncar was 2-for-3. The Hornets finished with just six hits despite putting the ball in play throughout the game.

“We were hitting the ball hard but they were making a lot of good plays,” Smrdel said. “They shut us down by playing good defense.”

Vinny Matticoli threw a complete game against the Rangers in his first start this season. He allowed two unearned runs and struck out six.

“He walked eight but he battled through those walks and got guys out,” Smrdel said. “He started the first game behind the plate and then came in to pitch. That’s a testament to how good of an athlete he is. He’s a very talented baseball player.”

Kirtland outhit the Rangers, 7-1, with Anthony Fortuna finishing 2-for-4 and Brendan Williamson knocking in a pair of runs.

“Anthony is on fire,” Smrdel said. “He’s hitting the ball hard every game. He’s just hitting the cover off the ball. Williamson had a humongous single but it was for two runs on a line drive to right center. He wasn’t even supposed to start. He came in for Andrew Hutton, who got ill, and he gave us the momentum.”

Kirtland plays at Cardinal on Monday.

Steve Hare
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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