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    Blue Devils earn season sweep of rival


    Independence earned its first season sweep of the season on Tuesday by beating host Cuyahoga Heights, 10-4.

    The Blue Devils opened the season on Monday with an 8-1 home win over their rivals.

    “It’s always great to beat our rivals,” said Independence coach Jim Crooks. “Our guys weren’t going to consider it a complete set unless we took both games and they did it, so I’m happy for them.”

    Independence broke a scoreless tie in the second inning when Rory Corrigan reached on a fielder’s choice and stole second. He moved to third on an Evan Beacher single and then scored on Jack Corrigan’s groundout. Beacher later scored on an error to make it 2-0.

    The Blue Devils added two more runs in the third.

    Connor Blum sparked that rally with a two-out single. He moved to third on an Ashton Lerz single and both runners scored on Corrigan’s double.

    Matt Richards reached on a fielder’s choice and scored on an error in the fifth that pushed the Independence lead to 5-0.

    Three straight hits in the fifth led to a three-run inning for the Blue Devils.

    Blum and Lerz both singled and Rory Corrigan hit another two-run double. He finished the game 2-for-4 with two runs scored and four runs batted in.

    “Rory Corrigan had a good day at the plate as did Ashton Lerz,” Crooks said. “Lerz used the entire field today and Rory hit a number of balls to the fence in a head-on wind, so that just proves when he gets up to the plate he can smash the ball.”

    Cuyahoga Heights scored four runs on three doubles and a walk in the bottom of the fifth inning. Those runs were charged to starting pitcher Casey McGhee, who picked up the win.

    McGhee allowed three earned runs on seven hits and he struck out six in five innings of work.

    “He’s our bulldog,” Crooks said of McGhee. “He’s a gamer and he likes to be in those situations. He pitched very well today through five innings. He had command of all of his pitches and he got ahead of hitters. It worked out well for him.”

    The Blue Devils added a couple of insurance runs in the sixth.

    Cy Jolliffe drew a leadoff walk and scored on McGhee’s sacrifice fly. Mike Andryszczyk also walked and later would score on another Lerz hit.

    Lerz finished the game 3-for-3 with two runs scored and an RBI.

    Independence collected 10 hits in the win.

    “We hit the ball really well (on Monday) and today, we hit it even better,” Crooks said. “I’m really happy for the guys. They came prepared to swing the bats. Overall, we had a good first week of the season. I’m glad that we got these games in during the first week of March. I’m proud of how the boys played and we’re going to focus again on next week.”

    Steve Hare
    The creator and publisher of, Hare has covered high school sports in Northeast Ohio since 1997. He began as a correspondent for the Lake County News Herald, where he contributed until 2011, primarily covering high school football and wrestling. In 1999, Hare began writing for, a member of the network of high school and college sports web sites. He focuses on covering Notre Dame football recruiting. was created in 2004 and was a member of the network until 2012. The site's original purpose was to cover Ohio high school football and recruiting news but since has grown to cover all sports and to provide sports information services to high school athletic programs and individual teams. 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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