Monday, June 17

    Crooks fans 14 in Independence’s win over Crestwood

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    Sam Crooks fanned 14 batters in leading Independence to an 8-4 nonconference win over visiting Crestwood on Tuesday.

    Crooks allowed just two runs on two hits in six innings of work.

    “Each game, my goal, and the team’s goal, is to compete in every opportunity, whether it’s on the mound, at the plate, or in the field,” Crooks said. “Today, I felt alive on the mound and prepared at the dish. Today, every pitch was a part of the arsenal. Dom (Narduzzi) had me changing speeds and varying locations.”

    Crooks also had a solid day at the plate as he finished 1-for-3 with a triple, two runs scored, and he knocked in a pair of runs.

    “As a team, we came out swinging early batting through the lineup in the first,” he said. “We continue to grow as a team at the plate with each game.”

    The Blue Devils jumped on the Red Devils with four runs in the bottom of the first.

    Andrew Stamp stayed hot with a leadoff double and Vinny Carriero drew a walk. Crooks then tripled home both runners and he scored on Narduzzi’s RBI single. Narduzzi scored on Liam Jenks’ sacrifice bunt.

    “We jumped out offensively in the first inning and put up a crooked number, which is always a good thing to do,” said Independence coach Jim Crooks. “Are you ready to compete today? And they showed it right away, and I was really happy about that.”

    The Blue Devils made it 5-0 in the second when Stamp and Carriero both reached on an error and Stamp scored on a throwing error.

    Cy Jolliffe singled and scored on Jenks’ RBI single in the fifth that made it 6-0 before the Red Devils added a run in the top of the sixth when Steven Lincoln hit a leadoff single and scored on an error with two down in the frame.

    The Blue Devils responded with two runs in the bottom half of the sixth.

    Stamp singled to start the rally and Crooks was hit by a pitch. Narduzzi followed with an RBI single and Anthony Sobonya was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded to force home another run.

    Crestwood loaded the bases in the seventh thanks to a leadoff single and a pair of walks. Two more walks and two balks cut Independence’s lead to 8-4 but Sobonya struck out the next two Crestwood hitters to end the game.

    “It was a lot of fun,” Coach Crooks said of the win. “I would say that Sam set the tone on the mound. He’s the guy who always wants the ball and he showed it. He was electric. Andrew Stamp had a great game today.”

    Stamp led the Blue Devils with his 3-for-4 performance at the plate. He doubled and was twice hit by a pitch. He also threw the final 2/3 innings and didn’t allow a baserunner.

    Narduzzi was 2-for-4 with two RBI and Jenks also knocked in a run for the Blue Devils, who have won three straight games.

    Carriero allowed one earned run without a hit and struck out one in 1/3 innings.

    Lincoln and Kyle Shelhamer each recorded one of Crestwood’s two hits.

    Independence travels to Berkshire on Thursday.


    Steve Hare
    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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