Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Piteo strikes out eight in Independence’s win at Fairport

Independence freshman Sarah Piteo allowed one earned run, struck out eight and didn’t walk a batter in a 6-3 win at Fairport Harding on Friday. The win was the first complete game victory of Piteo’s young high school career.

The Blue Devils, who improved to 3-3 overall and 2-1 in Chagrin Valley Conference Valley Division play, pounded out 11 hits after being held hitless in a loss at Wickliffe on Thursday.

“That was huge,” said Independence coach Steve Ambrose. “It’s everything to build our confidence back up. We took a little dip down after losing to Kirtland and to Wickliffe the way we did so it was nice to come out and hit the ball and get some strike outs and play well again.”

Senior Katie George, who was 2-for-3 with two runs scored, hopes the Blue Devils can use the win as momentum to put together a winning streak, starting with Saturday’s non-conference game against Parma.

“That game was so important for us,” she said. “(Thursday) was defeating because Wickliffe really only beat us out in two innings. Today, we stayed on top of the ball and we came out on top.”

Fairport jumped on Piteo early with two runs on two hits and an error in the bottom of the first but the Blue Devils didn’t panic.

Sophie Piteo hit a two-out single in the top of the second and scored on Olivia Pallini’s triple to cut Fairport’s lead to 2-1. Sarah Piteo then struck out two of the three batters she faced in the bottom half of the inning and Independence took the lead in the third.

Sophia Trombetta reached on an error and took second on a passed ball. She moved to third on George’s single and scored on Kim Rega’s ground out. Sarah Piteo then doubled to give the Blue Devils a 3-2 lead.

In the bottom of the third, Piteo put the Skippers down in order for the second consecutive inning.

Pallini hit her second triple of the game to open the fourth. She doubled in her next at bat to finish the game 3-for-3 with two triples, a double and an RBI.

“She came out of nowhere,” Ambrose said. “She’s a freshman so she’s a little more timid up there. She just felt it today. I got her in the lineup and she really delivered. I told her to go up there and not be afraid. I want her swinging on first pitch and she was. She was really hitting the ball.”

Jess Massey sacrificed Pallini home to give the Blue Devils a 4-2 lead, but they weren’t finished.

Jenna Suhy and George hit back-to-back two out singles and Rega singled to score them both to make it 6-2.

Suhy finished just 1-for-4 but she hit the ball sharply each at bat.

“Jenna Suhy just keeps getting on base for us,” Ambrose said. “She had a bunt single and two hard line drives to the shortstop. There’s nothing you can do about that.”

Fairport added a run in the sixth but Piteo struck out two of the last three batters she faced that inning to end the threat.

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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