Sunday, October 2, 2022

Huskies earn walk-off win over Independence

MIDDLEFIELD—Matt Carney’s two-out single in the bottom of the eighth inning led Cardinal a 10-9 win over visiting Independence on Wednesday.

The win for the Huskies sealed a season sweep of the Blue Devils for the first time since the 2011 season. Both wins came in eight innings.

“Independence is a really good program and they’ve always had a good program so it feels good to sweep them,” Every season it feels like we had a significant win. Last year, it was Cuyahoga Heights and Kirtland. This year, it’s Independence.”

Independence scored two runs in the top of the first when Sam Belitz led off the game with a single and Connor Blum hit a two-run homer.

Cardinal took a 3-2 lead in the bottom of the second when Jacob Gotham walked to lead off the inning. Justin Byler and Brandon Collins then drew two-out walks and Dan Heredos and Brice Hogue followed up with a single and a double, respectively.

Independence tied the game in the third and took a 7-3 lead with four runs in the fourth.

Belitz and Blum both singled and Jordan Mallernee and Tim Marcinko both doubled in the inning.

Cardinal pulled to within 7-6 of the Blue Devils with three runs in the bottom of the inning. Hogue and Carney both doubled in the inning and Heredos collected his second single.

“There really wasn’t a single point in the game that made the difference, there was quite a few of them,” Klepper said. “There were key hits when we needed those hits, stolen bases when we needed them. It was a team effort from top to bottom.”

Independence added a run in the fifth but Cardinal tied the game with two runs in the bottom of the sixth to force the extra inning.

Two walks and an error led to an Independence run in the top of the eighth but again the Huskies responded.

Hogue reached on a fielder’s choice that left the Huskies down to their final out.

Kale Byler then singled home Hogue to tie the game and after stealing second, Byler scored on Gotham’s walk-off single.

“You can look at it all the way down to the last inning,” Klepper said. “Kale Byler was 0-for-4 or 0-for-5 and he comes through with a clutch hit and that’s what we needed at the time. Everyone was making plays throughout the whole game.”

Heredos, Hogue, Carney and Gotham each had two hits for the Huskies.

“Jacob finally came out of the slump he’s been in,” Klepper said. “Dan Heredos had a heck of a game. He’s been hitting the ball and putting it in play the last several games but today he really shined. When we needed a key hit and to get to Brice at the top of the order, he was there at No. 9 to do that for us.”

Justin Shank picked up the win for the Huskies. He pitched 1/3 of an inning and struck out one. Hogue pitched 8 2/3 innings. He yielded six earned runs on 11 hits and struck out 10.

Belitz, Blum, Mallernee and Marcinko each had two hits for Independence.

Haley Adams
Haley Adams is a 2016 graduate of Cardinal High School. She is currently in her third year at Hiram College with a major in Communications and a minor in Writing. Haley, a three-sport standout at Cardinal, has participated in many athletic events at Hiram and plans to become a sports broadcaster.

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