Monday, June 17

    Independence edges Lutheran West in key Metro Division clash

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    Andrew Stamp allowed one earned run and Independence manufactured runs in a key 4-3 win at Lutheran West on Monday.

    With the win, the Blue Devils improved to 8-3 overall and 4-1 in the Chagrin Valley Conference Metro Division while Lutheran West dropped to 11-3, 6-1.

    “We put together a combination of great pitching and we strung together two innings where we scored two runs apiece, and that was the difference in the game,” said Independence coach Jim Crooks. “We needed every run because they made a comeback in the bottom of the seventh, and we knew they were capable of that.”

    Independence struck first in the top of the third when Anderson Jolliffe drew a leadoff walk and Ronin Tschetter doubled him home for a 1-0 lead. Anthony Sobonya then hit a one-out single to plate Tschetter.

    Sam Crooks hit a leadoff double to spark a two-run sixth.

    Dom Narduzzi was intentionally walked and after moving to third on Cy Jolliffe’s groundout, Crooks stole home and Narduzzi scored on a passed ball.

    Liam Jenks doubled with two outs, but the Blue Devils couldn’t come up with a clutch hit to bring him home.

    Lutheran West rallied for three runs in the seventh.

    Steven Alferink was hit by a pitch and Bryce Groppe drew a two-out walk. With the tying run at the plate, Coach Crooks never contemplated pulling Stamp off the bump.

    “We wanted him to finish the game,” Crooks said. “He kept it in the zone. He walked a guy and hit a guy, but he was still right around the zone, and I thought him finishing the game in that situation would be better than bringing in a reliever in a tough spot mentally when he had the rhythm and the momentum all day long. We gave him the opportunity to finish, and he closed the door.”

    Alden Barnes hit an RBI single and Jansen Gross reached on an error that allowed two runners to score. Adam Flachbart singled, putting the winning run on first base with two outs.

    Stamp struck out the next batter to end the game.

    “In that situation, I still had full confidence in my team,” said Stamp, who allowed one earned run on five hits and struck out six. “Going against a team like that isn’t easy and things will happen, but I never lost faith in my teammates. I calmed myself on the mound and locked in and finished it.”

    His coach’s confidence in him allowed Stamp to focus only on the next pitch.

    “It’s great to have a good relationship with coach,” Stamp said. “Having his confidence just pushes mine past the limit. It’s a great thing to have and I believe it’s going to help our team go far.”

    Stamp also went 1-for-4 at the plate. Sobonya, Crooks, Liam Jenks, and Tschetter each recorded hits for the Blue Devils. Sobonya and Tschetter also notched an RBI.

    Barnes led the Longhorns at the plate as he finished the game 2-for-3. Flachbart went 2-for-4.

    Eric Dill took the loss on the mound after allowing four earned runs on five hits and he fanned seven.

    Independence hosts Lutheran West on Tuesday in a game that could decide the Metro Division title.

    If Independence wins, the Blue Devils will need to win one of their final two league games against Fairview to earn a share of the conference title, and they could win it outright with a sweep of the Warriors.

    Lutheran West would clinch the title outright with a win on Tuesday.



    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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