After dropping a 5-4 game at Wickliffe on Tuesday, Independence earned a season split with a 9-2 win at home on Wednesday.
Wickliffe scored five runs in the bottom of the sixth inning in Tuesday’s win but Independence’s players shook off that disappointing loss and took care of business in the second game of the series.
“We tell them that’s the best thing about baseball, you can come back the next day. You don’t have to wait a week; you can play the next day,” said Independence coach Jim Crooks about his team bouncing back from a loss to earn the split. “The key for us tonight was the pitching of Mike Andryszczyk. He pitched a really nice game. He got ahead in the count and threw hard on a tough day to hit. He threw five innings and Cy Jolliffe came in and battled back. We knew Wickliffe was going to battle back. They always do. They’re a great team. We were able to hold them off and Casey McGhee came in and shut them down in the seventh.”
Andryszczyk allowed one earned run on three hits and he struck out seven in 5 1/3 innings of work.
“It felt amazing to get the split,” he said. “It’s always a good feeling to come back and win that second game, especially after such a close game loss like yesterday. We were hungry for the split and we went and got it.”
Among his 89 pitches, Andryszczyk threw 50 for strikes.
“My key to success on the mound was to throw strikes and hit the spots because even if they hit the ball, I knew I had a strong defense that could back me up, and they did,” he said. “I was working in my curveball today and used that as my out-pitch. With every batter, my approach was to just throw strikes and keep them guessing on what I was going to throw next.”
Independence struck first when the Blue Devils scored three runs in the bottom of the fifth inning.
Luke Pascarella hit a leadoff double and Charlie McGreal followed with a single. Dom Narduzzi hit into a fielder’s choice and then Andryszczyk singled home two runs and then stole his way to third. He scored on an error.
Wickliffe scored two runs in the top of the sixth but Independence wasn’t going to allow a repeat of Tuesday’s setback.
“After Wickliffe scored in the sixth, we didn’t let those runs affect us,” Andryszczyk said. “We grew as a team from yesterday’s game and didn’t let those runs dictate the rest of the game. We came back to the dugout with our heads high, knowing a one-run lead wasn’t satisfactory, so we battled and put even more runs on the board.”
Independence scored six runs in the bottom half of the inning to close out the scoring.
Rory Corrigan doubled in the inning and Casey McGhee and Evan Beacher both had hits.
McGreal finished the day 2-for-2 and Pascarella was 2-for-3.
“We had a big inning and that’s what broke it open for us,” Crooks said. “Our bats came alive and that was enough to put us over the top.. Luke Pascarella had a great day at the plate for us. He had three hits including a bunt that he got for a hit. He had a great offensive approach today.”
Independence travels to Brooklyn on Thursday.