BAINBRIDGE—Independence and host Kenston needed an extra inning to decide the outcome of Thursday’s clash between two of the Chagrin Valley Conference Chagrin Division’s top teams.
The visiting Blue Devils scored a run in the top of the eighth then held off a Bombers’ rally in the bottom half of the inning to win, 3-2.
“We needed that,” said Independence head coach Garry Moore. “It was a tough game to play. It was cold and windy and it was an ugly win but we’ll take it.”
Kenston, which dropped to 6-2 overall, scored first when Jenna Kerchenski walked, stole second and scored on a base hit to centerfield.
Halle Dorko gave Independence a 2-1 lead when she doubled home two runs in the top of the third. The Bombers responded with a run to tie it in the bottom of the inning.
Both teams had their opportunities to end the game in regulation but couldn’t push across the winning run.
Independence, which improved to 7-0, took a 3-2 lead in the top of the eighth when Katie George singled with one out and advanced to second on Dorko’s ground out. Victoria Sirna then drove a ball into right center to score the go-ahead run.
Sirna then pitched out of a jam in the bottom half of the inning to seal the win.
“It feels good,” Sirna said. “I was expecting to win by a little more than one so it’s a little different to be in such a close game. We definitely underestimated them. It’s a good win.”
Kenston had runners on first and third with two outs when Independence first baseman Mallory Trombetta snagged a line drive to end the game.
The Blue Devils played without senior centerfielder Nicole Ferrara, the team’s batting leader. She suffered a bruised knee in Wednesday’s win over Perry.
“We were down early and without Nicole Ferrara, she’s what starts this team going,” Moore said. “Without her it’s just not the same. She’s the biggest part of it.”
George hit the ball hard several times in the game but her only hit came in the decisive eighth inning.
“She roped one into right field and Jenna (Kerchenski) rips her off of a base hit,” Moore said. “Vic came up and never in my life have I worried about Vic coming up.”
Freshman Kim Rega started in the circle for the Blue Devils. She allowed both runs but pitched herself out of several jams to keep the Blue Devils in the game until Sirna took over in the sixth.
“She’s a tough little freshman,” Moore said. “It’s tough to follow (Sirna’s) shoes but she’s doing it really well.”