Saturday, January 28, 2023

Huskies top rival Berkshire to secure first winning season since 2009

BURTON–Moments after Cardinal's softball team ended its season with a 10-6 win over rival Berkshire on Monday all but one of the Huskies spent some time celebrating in front of the visitor's dugout.

About 75 feet down the right field line, Haley Adams, Cardinal's lone senior, spent that time with her family and closest friends.

The win put an exclamation point on Adams’ remarkable career as a Cardinal student-athlete.

“It's an awesome feeling,” said Adams, a three-sport standout. “There's no words to describe it after taking a hard loss in volleyball in districts and then another two hard fought losses against Berkshire during basketball season. I knew what we were capable of doing and we came out and did that today.”

Adams, an all-conference performer in volleyball, basketball and softball, credited her teammates for sending her off on a winning note.

“It definitely ends my softball career on a great high,” she said. “I couldn't be more proud of our girls tonight. They fought hard and battled hard and we came out on top.”

With the win, the Huskies improved to 11-9 overall and 6-6 in the Chagrin Valley Conference Valley Division. It was Cardinal’s first winning season since 10-9, when the Huskies went 10-9.

“I think this is a big boost for the whole program,” said Cardinal coach Dennis Ikeler. “This whole year was a boost for the program. We played hard. We played tough and got a decent amount of wins. That’s going to help the whole program.”

The game began on May 4 but was suspended in the top of the third with the Huskies leading, 4-1.

Megan Baril gave the Huskies an early 1-0 lead when she opened the game with a single and scored on Dawn Scribben’s base hit.

Shannon McGee hit a two out double in the bottom half of the inning and scored on a wild pitch to tie the game at 1-1.

The Huskies responded with a run in the top of the second when Madysin Ciminello singled and Baril and Allissa Nevison both hit two out singles.

Cardinal made it 4-1 in the third on singles by Adams and Anne Rupinski and a base hit by Ciminello. Then the rain came and forced the game to be finished nearly two weeks later.

The Huskies started with runners on second and third with one out. Rupinski scored on Hannah Hill’s ground out and Baril made it 5-1 with a two out RBI single.

Berkshire pulled to within 5-2 in the bottom of the third but the Huskies scored three more in the fourth to take an 8-2 lead.

Delaney Leichtman started the rally with a one out single and Scribben, Adams and Rupinski all hit singles. Ciminello and Hill also had hits in the inning.

Cardinal added another in the fifth when Leichtman hit a deep fly ball to center, just out of the reach of Berkshire’s Catherine Lillibridge. The ball bounced off the fence and Leichtman legged out the inside the park homer to make it 9-2.

The Badgers responded with three runs in the bottom half of the inning and another in the sixth to pull to within 9-6.

The Huskies got an insurance run in the seventh when Faith Peters led off with a single and scored on Nevison’s double.

“That was the biggest thing right there is they didn't drop their heads,” Ikeler said. “Berkshire kept coming back and pulling it closer and closer. My girls held in there and played tough.”

Ciminello, who allowed six runs on 15 hits and struck out six, got the first two outs in the bottom of the seventh before walking Erin Drew and giving up a single to Lillibridge. A ground out to short ended the game.

“This is a great way to end the season,” Ikeler said. “It really is. These girls fought hard. We started off rough but they came back and battled back all year. This is a great way to end the season right here with a win over our biggest rival.”

Leichtman led the Huskies at the plate. She finished 4-for-5 with two runs scored.

Baril was 3-for-5 with a run scored and Ciminello also finished with three hits and scored twice for the Huskies. Nevison, Scribben, Adams, Rupinski and Hill all finished with a pair of hits.


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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