Saturday, January 28, 2023

Kirtland rallies for win over Harvey

Kirtland needed a seventh inning rally to pull out a 5-4 win at Harvey on Monday.

The Hornets held an early 3-0 lead but Harvey scored four runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to hold a one run edge heading into the final frame. The Hornets scored two runs with two outs to pull ahead for good.

“It was quite the game,” said Kirtland coach Luke Smrdel. “It was a game of survival.”

Joey Bates doubled with one out and Anthony Fortuna drew a two-out walk. Mike Zeuli then singled home Bates to tie the game and Ben Stark followed that up with a single of his own to give the Hornets a 5-4 lead.

Vinny Matticoli shut the Red Raiders down in the bottom of the seventh to pick up the save.

“Harvey played a heck of a game,” Smrdel said. “They played great defense and had situational hitting. I give them a lot of credit but we withstood the storm and survived.”

Kirtland took a 1-0 lead in the second when Zeuli, who was 2-for-2 in the game, singled and stole second. He scored on a fielder’s choice. The Hornets made it 2-0 in the third when Palmer Capretta singled with one out and scored on Owen Loncar’s sacrifice fly.

They added what they thought was an insurance run in the sixth on a single by Fortuna, who scored on Stark’s single. Stark finished 2-for-4 with two runs batted in.

Capretta finished the game 2-for-3 and Bates was 2-for-4 with two doubles.

Michael Kmentt started the game and allowed just one hit and two walks in five innings of work. He struck out nine before yielding to Fortuna, who pitched the sixth to earn the win. Fortuna allowed four runs on four hits and two walks.

In addition to his solid work at the plate, Zeuli threw out a baserunner attempting to steal second in the bottom of the seventh.

The Hornets improved to 4-5 overall and 3-1 in the Chagrin Valley Conference Valley Division while Harvey dropped to 2-10 and 1-6.

Kirtland travels to Independence on Tuesday.

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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