Thursday, September 16, 2021

Huskies score signature win at Kirtland

KIRTLAND—Matt Carney pitched a complete game and Jacob Gotham recorded three hits and knocked in a pair of runs to lead Cardinal to a 6-4 win at Kirtland on Friday.

The win over the Hornets was the first for the Huskies since 2010.

“They’re a heck of a team,” said Cardinal coach Seth Klepper. “They’re right up there at the top (of the league standings) every year. They’re one of the top teams to beat and we just played a heck of a game. It feels good.”

Klepper, in his first season as head coach, was hoping to see the Huskies remain competitive in every game this season.

So far, so good as the Huskies improved to 4-3 overall and 3-1 in the Chagrin Valley Conference Valley Division. The win over the Hornets could help the Huskies to generate some momentum heading into the heart of their schedule.

“It makes them excited and makes me feel good for them because they get to experience that,” Klepper said. “They haven’t won much in the last few years and to get a win like that, and hats off to Kirtland, but it’s about time. This is why we do it for the kids, to get them feeling good about themselves and about the school. It’s what I expect these kids to do. I don’t expect them to lose every game. I expect them to go out and win every game and there will be times where we won’t and I understand that, but for now, we’ll take them when we can get them.”

Cam Klepper’s one-out double led to a two-run first inning for the Huskies.

Klepper stole third and scored on Parker Kosh’s single. Kosh stole second and scored on Jacob Gotham’s groundout.

The Huskies stole six bases in the game and now have 42 in seven games this season.

“We have to,” Coach Klepper said. “We don’t have a lot of power so if we get on we’ve got to go and that’s the way we operate. We’re going to keep doing it. That’s just the way we play ball.”

Kirtland picked up a run in the bottom of the second when Vince Liuzzo reached on a one-out single and moved to second after Mike Zeuli was hit by a pitch. Both runners moved up on a wild pitch and Liuzzo scored on Seann McGill’s groundout.

The Hornets tied it in the fourth when Tyler McCrory drew a leadoff walk and Luke Potosky hit a two-out double.

Cardinal responded with three runs in the fifth on three walks and two singles. Kirtland opened the bottom half of the inning with three straight singles to cut Cardinal’s lead to 5-4.

It stayed that way until the seventh when the Huskies added an insurance run on a Carney sacrifice fly.

Liuzzo and Zeuli drew back-to-back walks to put Hornets on first and second with no outs in the bottom of the seventh but a sharply hit ball to Brandon Collins at third resulted in a double play and Carney retired the next batter to seal his complete game victory.

Carney allowed two earned runs on six hits and struck out four.

“He pitched like that against Cuyahoga Heights last week,” Coach Klepper said. “He’s a trooper. He comes out and battles every day.”

The missed opportunity in the seventh wasn’t the only time the Hornets ran into bad luck. The fifth inning rally also was cut short due to a baserunning mistake that resulted in an out instead of a run with Hornets on second and third with no outs.

“We didn’t take advantage of our opportunities throughout the game,” said Kirtland coach Luke Smrdel. “They did that and we didn’t; that was a big difference in the game. I give them all the credit in the world. They did what they needed to do in the right situations and we definitely didn’t.”

Cam Klepper finished with two hits for the Huskies and Liuzzo had two for the Hornets.

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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