Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Independence earns split with Hawken

Independence’s loss to Hawken on Monday didn’t sit well with the Blue Devils and they responded with a 4-2 win on Tuesday to earn a season split with the Hawks.

Hawken won Monday’s contest with a walk-off single but Austin Buc and Pasquale Monteleone prevented that from happening a second time. The duo combined to allow just two runs on two hits and struck out seven in Tuesday’s win.

“We lost that first game and we rebounded back,” said Independence coach Mike Gruber. “It was nice to see them come back. They really fought on Monday to take the lead and it was nice to see them not come back sluggish but to take care of business and do what we needed to do.”

Independence, which improved to 6-7 overall, scored single runs in each of the first three innings to take control of the contest.

With Buc and Monteleone on the hill, that was all the cushion the Blue Devils would need.

“Austin had command of his fastball and curve and was pounding the zone,” Gruber said. “The defense really stood up for him too. Every ball that went into the field we made a play. Pasquale comes in there and throws strikes. The big thing for him was to keep the ball low. He keeps guys off balance and has very calm nerves on the mound going into tough situations. He gets the job done.”

James Schmetzer reached on an error to start the first and scored on a single by Ricky Dolejs. Devyn Skoczen walked in the second and scored on Monteleone’s single and Daniel Mathews doubled in the third and scored on Danny Pumper’s base hit.

Hawken cut Independence’s lead to 3-1 in the fourth but the Blue Devils came right back in the fifth when Steven Schmetzer reached on a fielder’s choice and Skoczen singled to make it 4-1. The Hawks closed out the scoring with one more run in the sixth.

Buc, Dolejs, Pumper and Mathews also collected two hits in the contest.

“Dolejs has been on a tear this week,” Gruber said. “He was 4-for-4 on Monday and 2-for-4 today. All the balls he’s hitting right now are on the middle of the bat. He’s making solid contact every time.”

Pumper was 2-for-3.

“He’s a senior that came out this year and he fills roles we need and he’s willing to do anything that is asked of him,” Gruber said. “Today he came up big for us. He had a solid hit that scored a run and put us up by two. That gave us an extra run we needed to win the game.”

In addition to his two hits, Mathews made three extra base saving catches in the outfield.

“Danny Mathews did a great job in the field,” Gruber said. “He had three diving catches in center field and James Schmetzer did a great job at shortstop filling in for Austin when he was on the mound.”

Independence travels to Parma on Thursday.

Steve Hare
Steve Harehttp://www.ohiovarsity.com
Steve Hare is the Chagrin Valley Conference's Sports Information Director. He also created and publishes OhioVarsity.com, 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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