Monday, March 20, 2023

Independence splits a pair with Trinity

Independence opened Saturday’s doubleheader against Trinity with a convincing 8-2 win but couldn’t maintain the momentum and dropped the second game to the Trojans, 12-3.

That inconsistency is what head coach Mike Gruber is trying to shake.

“We’re starting to get things together a little bit,” Gruber said. “We’re trying to go back to working on our fundamentals and trying to get into a groove here to rattle off a few more wins in a row rather than splitting with teams.”

James Schmetzer set up the Blue Devils for success in the first game by allowing just six hits, one earned run and striking out three in a complete game victory.

Austin Buc and Daniel Mathews both had two hits for the Blue Devils, who outhit the Trojans 9-6.

“I thought we played pretty well in that first game,” Gruber said. “James threw strikes and kept us in the game and the bats came alive. We executed the little ball really well and manufactured some runs. We didn’t really do what we wanted to in the second game.”

Trinity turned the table the backend of the doubleheader by outhitting the Blue Devils, 11-7.

Tyler Wilson took the loss in game two with 5 2/3 innings of work and freshman Kyle Stefanski saw his first varsity action of the season. He didn’t allow a baserunner in one inning on the mound and he went 1-for-3 with a run scored and an RBI.

“Kyle, we’re expecting great things from him,” Gruber said. “He’s young right now but coming he came out of nowhere to catch both games for us. As far as catching, he’s really built up the fundamentals to be a nice catcher and he has a strong arm. The bonus was he put the ball in play too and got a run across when we needed it.”

Mathews finished the day 3-for-7 with three runs scored and an RBI.

“The last few games he’s really starting to see the ball well and putting the ball in play,” Gruber said. “He’s finding left field really nice and he turns on the ball well and hits it hard.”

The Blue Devils host Hawken on Monday.

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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