Sunday, May 19, 2024

Timely hits lead Independence to win at Berkshire

BURTON—Independence’s timely hits in the third and seventh innings led the Blue Devils to a 6-2 win at Berkshire on Thursday.

The Blue Devils trailed 1-0 heading into the third inning when they scored three runs and never looked back.

“Our theme this year is to compete,” said Independence head coach Jim Crooks. “I think our boys treated it as a challenge when they go down by a run to say, ‘We can come back and win an inning and string together a couple of successful innings.’ They view it as a challenge; they want to compete against their opponent, and that’s what we say today to overcome the early deficit.”

Berkshire took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second inning when Jack Hastings was hit by a pitch, Abram Southern walked, and Jason Brent reached on a bunt single. Sam Barcikoski was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded.

The Blue Devils responded with a three-run third.

Andrew Stamp hit a leadoff single and moved to second on Anthony Sobonya’s sacrifice bunt. Sam Crooks then reached on an error and Stamp scored tying the game at 1-1. Dom Narduzzi followed with an RBI double, and Cy Jolliffe hit a sacrifice fly that made it 3-1.

Oliver Miller doubled to start the Badger fifth and Patrick Brancel doubled him home as Berkshire cut the Independence lead to 3-2 through five innings.

“One thing you have to know when you play Berkshire is that they’re always a well-coached, disciplined, and talented team,” Coach Crooks said of Berkshire. “We know that, so I always credit the Badgers. We knew we had to get the runs in the opportunities to get them and not let (Berkshire) hang around. Today, our boys took advantage of those opportunities.”

Independence added three insurance runs in the top of the seventh.

Stamp reached on an error with one out, Sobonya singled and Crooks doubled home Stamp for a 4-2 lead. Narduzzi reached on an error that allowed Sobonya to score, and Jolliffe walked home another run.

Jolliffe retired the Badgers in order to seal Independence’s win. He allowed two earned runs on four hits and struck out eight in seven innings.

“Cy Jolliffe was dominant today on the mound,” Crooks said of Jolliffe’s performance. “He had one of the best outings that I’ve seen him have in his entire career to pitch a complete game. He mixed (the pitches) up, changed locations, and did an outstanding job. He set the tone for this game. Our guys got up on Cy Jolliffe’s performance on the mound. They were energized by him; they wanted to make plays for him.”

Owen Jenks led the Blue Devils at the plate as he finished the game 3-for-4. Stamp went 2-for-3 with a double and two runs scored and Sobonya, Crooks, Narduzzi, and Liam Jenks also had hits for the Blue Devils.

“It’s important; we try to put up crooked numbers,” Coach Crooks said. “We try to get guys on base and say, ‘Good things will happen when guys are on base.’ We put an emphasis on our baserunning this year, and our guys were active on the basepaths today, putting us into scoring position. Then, we had timely hits, so we were able to score runs.”

With the win, Independence improved to 4-3 on the year.

“We’re going to continue to pitch well, hit the ball, and play great defense,” Crooks said. “Most importantly, we are going to have more energy than our opponents. That’s what we pride ourselves on.”

Lou Filby took the pitching loss for Berkshire. He went 3 2/3 innings and gave up six hits, one earned run, with one walk and two strikeouts.

Hastings pitched 3 1/3 scoreless innings in relief and allowed just three hits and one walk.

Brancel led the Berkshire offense by going 2-for-3 with an RBI double. Brent and Miller each racked up a hit for the Badgers, and Barcikoski drove in one run.

Berkshire visits Crestwood on April 19 while Independence travels to Wickliffe on April 22.

Berkshire will visit Crestwood on April 19, while Independence will visit Wickliffe on April 22.


Related Articles

Stay Connected


Latest Articles


Perry walks off with win over Riverside

Sam Tharp’s bases-loaded single allowed Perry to walk off with a 4-3 win over visiting Perry at Classic Park on Saturday.

CVC Athletes of the Week

Athletes from 11 different schools have been named the Chagrin Valley Conference Athletes of the Week for the week ending May 12.

Lake Division title on the line

Edgewood and Madison will square off on Thursday in a pair of games that will decide the Chagrin Valley Conference Lake Division title.

CVC athletes claim seven titles on first day of district meets

Chagrin Valley Conference athletes claimed seven individual titles on the first day of the OHSAA district meets on Wednesday.

Perry, Berkshire advance in postseason play

Perry and Berkshire kept their postseason runs intact with wins on Wednesday and will meet in a Division III district semifinal on Monday at Struthers High School.