Monday, December 5, 2022

Kirtland wins season series from Cardinal

Andrew Spencer struck out seven and Seann McGill and Joey Mongelluzzi both had two hits to lead Kirtland to a 9-1 win over visiting Cardinal on Monday.

With the win, the Hornets swept the Huskies and improved to 8-3 overall and 7-0 in the Chagrin Valley Conference Valley Division.

“Sweeping any series in conference is always nice,” Kirtland coach Luke Smrdel said. “We try to make sure we have all of our cards in order with our pitchers and we’ve gotten a lot of quality starts out of our staff this year, which has been a tremendous help to being able to have the start that we’ve had this year.”

Spencer improved to 4-0 on the year. He allowed one unearned run on five hits.

“Andrew has been dominant because he gets ahead of hitters, mixes up his pitches, mixes up his timing, has confidence in his defense, and most importantly, he understands the art of being a pitcher,” Smrdel said. “It’s incredible to see a sophomore understand such a fine art. It’s almost like watching a young Picasso out there when he’s on the mound.”

Mongelluzzi and McGill combined for four of Kirtland’s eight hits but the Hornets were effective in putting the ball in play and moving runners.

“I’m going to guess this is the first time ever that someone has opened the paper and looked at the area stat leaders and a team’s eighth and ninth hitters were leading the area in hitting,” Smrdel said of his offense. “Coming into the year, I knew that our lineup 1-9 was solid, but the production thus far has been unbelievable. Everyone in the order is ‘patiently aggressive,’ which is the biggest thing we try to teach our hitters. They’re starting to understand the importance of situational hitting too, and even if one guy has an off day the next guy picks him up. Hopefully, we continue getting even better game by game.”

Mongelluzzi finished the game 2-for-3 with a double, two runs scored and he knocked in a pair.

“My main goal every plate appearance is to hit the ball hard somewhere,” Mongelluzzi said. “Even if you’re not getting hits, but you’re hitting it hard, it really helps your confidence.”

With speedster Joey Torok batting leadoff and Mongelluzzi coming up behind him, the Hornets have been very effective in scoring runs at the top of the order.

Mongelluzzi currently ranks second on the team with 11 runs batted in.

“It’s very nice having Joey in front of me,” Mongelluzzi said. “He gets on base a lot and it definitely gets in a pitcher’s head when Joey Torok is on first. Sometimes, if they are too focused on Joey first pitch, I might get a meaty fastball right down the pipe.”

Dan Heredos led Cardinal at the plate as he finished the day 2-for-3. Matt Carney, Justin Shank, Parker Campbell and Brandon Collins also had 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.

Related Articles

Stay Connected


Latest Articles

22 from CVC earn Division VI All-Ohio honors

The Ohio Prep Sportswriters Association on Monday released its 2022 Division VI All-Ohio football teams with 22 players from the Chagrin Valley Conference earning...

Trinity’s Isabel Iacano makes history

Trinity’s Isabel Iacano made history on Sunday by becoming the first Trojan female wrestler to place at a wrestling tournament.

CVC wrestlers kick off the season

Chagrin Valley Conference wrestling teams kicked off the 2022-2023 season over the weekend.

CVC Hoops Roundup: Richmond Heights wins 23rd straight game

Saturday’s Chagrin Valley Conference basketball action was highlighted by Richmond Heights’ dominant win against Orange.

Marion Local blocks Kirtland’s bid for state title

Kirtland’s bid for a seventh state championship hit a roadblock on Saturday morning at Tom Henson Hall of Fame Stadium.