Monday, June 17
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    Independence maintained its hold on first place in the Chagrin Valley Conference Metro Division with a pair of wins over Lutheran West on Monday.

    The Blue Devils first completed a 15-5 win over the Longhorns from a game postponed last week, and then they swept Lutheran West with a 15-4 win.

    “Our first game, we were up early and just dominated, but we took some time getting back in the groove at the start of the second game,” said Independence junior Paige Priebe. “We knew based on our performance in the first game that we had it in us to finish equally strong.”

    Independence led 10-0 in the first game before the Longhorns put up a five-spot in the top of the fourth, but the Blue Devils answered with five runs in the bottom half of the inning to invoke the run rule.

    Macey McGhee led the Blue Devils in game one as she finished 3-for-4 with a double, three runs scored, and an RBI. Ally Biondi went 2-for-3 with a double, one run scored, and a team-best four RBI. Priebe, Addison Walchanowicz, and Rebecca Gibson each finished 2-for-4. Priebe hit a home run, scored two runs, and knocked in two more. Keeley Sears and Bryanna LeRoy also had hits for the Blue Devils.

    The Blue Devils scored two runs in the top of the first to start the second game but held just a 3-2 lead entering the fifth inning.

    That’s when Independence’s offense exploded for four runs in the fifth and eight more in the sixth.

    “Like any win, it’s always an amazing feeling to see my team come out on top,” said LeRoy, who went 2-for-4 with two runs scored in the second game. “Today’s win will be a huge motivation and confidence booster going into more games later this week. This conference win is a big deal, keeping up undefeated status in our conference is a key focus for our team this season.”

    The Blue Devils scored two runs in the first without a hit.

    Priebe drew a leadoff walk and after a pair of strikeouts, she scored when Sears reached on an error. Sears later scored on a passed ball.

    Biondi tripled to start the Independence fourth and scored on Mia Whieldon’s sacrifice bunt.

    LeRoy singled to start the four-run fifth and Priebe drew a walk. McGhee picked up an RBI when Priebe scored on her groundout and Sears and Biondi followed with RBI doubles and Gibson knocked in a run when she reached on an error that made it 7-2.

    “We definitely want to start out games coming up to the plate pretty aggressive to catch our opponents off guard,” LeRoy said. “In the early innings of today’s game, it was a very close game, and each at-bat we had to be aggressive and take advantage of any ball we put in play. Overall, I am pretty satisfied with the outcomes of my at-bats. I would have preferred it if I had better pitch selection early on in the game but I adjusted by my second at-bat. Everyone did a really great job at adjusting to the different pitchers as we went through the games.”

    Walchanowicz drew a leadoff walk in the sixth, LeRoy followed with a single, and Priebe doubled both runners home.

    “Every time I step up to the plate, I just try to be smart in the box,” said Priebe, who was 2-for-2 with a double, three runs scored, and two RBI in the second game. “Being the leadoff hitter, you know your teammates on deck and in the hole will help you advance. I just try to keep my head on it and give it a rip.”

    Alexa Johnson followed with an RBI single, McGhee singled, and Biondi drew a one-out walk to load the bases for Gibson, who picked up an RBI the easy way when she walked with the bases full of Blue Devils. Whieldon followed with a bases-loaded walk. Biondi scored on a wild pitch and LeRoy singled home two more runners for a 15-2 lead.

    The Longhorns picked up a pair of runs in the bottom of the sixth, but it wasn’t enough to avoid the run rule.

    Biondi picked up the pitching victory after allowing three earned runs on seven hits with two strikeouts. She finished 2-for-3 at the plate with a double and a triple, one run scored, and an RBI.

    Johnson, McGhee, and Sears also had hits for the Blue Devils, who improved to 9-7 with their third straight win.

    “We are having such a cohesive year,” Priebe said. “We trust each other and we have each other’s backs. It’s just such a great feeling when everyone is clicking. We are having a great time, and it shows on the scoreboard.”

    The Blue Devils travel to Fairview on Tuesday.

     

    Steve Hare
    Steve Harehttps://www.ohiovarsity.com
    The creator and publisher of OhioVarsity.com, 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 IrishIllustrated.com, a member of the Scout.com network of high school and college sports web sites. He focuses on covering Notre Dame football recruiting. OhioVarsity.com was created in 2004 and was a member of the Rivals.com 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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