MIDDLEFIELD—Independence senior Tyler Wilson made his season debut on the mound and he also knocked in three runs to lead the Blue Devils to an 8-1 win at Cardinal on Monday.
Wilson, who was 2-for-3 at the plate, struck out seven and didn’t allow a run in four innings of work to pick up his first win of the year.
“Hats off to Tyler Wilson today,” said Independence coach Mike Gruber. “He came out and pitched and had three RBI and two big hits for us when we needed them. He came out and did it for us.”
An injury kept Wilson off the mound in the early weeks of the season but he didn’t look rusty. He struck out the side in the first inning and allowed just one run on one hit.
“It was his first time coming out this year,” Gruber said. “He had a little arm injury so he just started throwing a little bit and working his way back. I know he's been itching to get out here. It was nice to see him finally hit the mound and throw a lot of strikes. He put us in position to win the game.”
Independence jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first when Nick Mroczynski and Kyle Stefanski hit back-to-back singles. Mroczynski scored on Stefanski’s base hit and Wilson knocked in Stefanski.
“We talked about setting a goal here right at the beginning to not be down two runs,” Gruber said. “The last four games we've been trailing and putting the pressure on ourselves. It was nice to see us jump out to a 2-0 lead and put the pressure on the other team. I always feel when you're ahead it's easier to pitch, easier to field and easier to put the ball in play. Good things will happen.”
The Blue Devils, who improved to 3-3 overall and 1-2 in Chagrin Valley Conference play, added two more in the fourth and one in the fifth. They added three insurance runs in the seventh.
“We just did a nice job,” Gruber said. “It was an overall great baseball game for us today.”
Ricky Dolejs knocked in a pair of runs for the Blue Devils and Mroczynski was 3-for-4 with two runs scored. Jack Giganti, Owen Ramm and Jakob Wells also had hits for Independence.
Wells pitched the final three innings for the Blue Devils.
Sophomore Parker Kosh pitched six innings for the Huskies. He allowed seven earned runs on nine hits and struck out six.
“He definitely didn't have his best stuff today but he pitched tough,” said Cardinal coach Brian George. “He's out there throwing everything he's got. He kept us in the game. If we scratch in a couple runs here and there I think it's a copmletely different game going into the seventh inning when they scored those runs.”
The Huskies, who dropped to 2-5, 1-4, scored their only run in the third inning when Andrew Miller led off with a double and moved to third on Kyle Root’s sacrifice bunt.
Brice Hogue and Kosh, who was 2-for-3, had the only other Cardinal hits.
“We're kind of struggling at the plate right now,” George said. “We're not being very disciplined. We're giving these guys a lot of strikes that should be balls. We need to obviously work on that. I think that's something a young team is going to struggle with, which is to play disciplined and knowing the situation and what pitch is coming. That’s something we're going to work on.”
Independence hosts Kirtland on Monday while the Huskies go out of conference to play Pymatuning Valley at home.