Sunday, February 25

    Kirtland no-hits Harvey

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    Kirtland pitchers combined to throw a no-hitter in an 8-4 win over visiting Harvey in a Chagrin Valley Conference Valley Division showdown on Friday.

    Gino Blasini allowed four unearned runs and struck out a career-high 10 in five innings of work and Trip Thaler blanked the Red Raiders in the final two innings. Thaler struck out five.

    “It feels great to be part of a no-hitter with one of my teammates,” Blasini said. “We get to share this awesome moment forever.”

    Harvey scored four unearned runs in the fifth inning when Blasini temporarily struggled.

    The first batter reached on an error and the second was hit by a pitch. A walk loaded the bases and then the Hornets recorded a fielder’s choice for the first out. Another walk reloaded the bases and then Blasini struck out the next batter. The Red Raiders drew back-to-back walks and Harvey scored on a passed ball to tie the game at 4-4.

    Kirtland scored four runs in the bottom half of the inning to seal the win.

    “Gino came out and he was very good,” said Kirtland coach Luke Smrdel. “He threw strikes and got ahead of hitters but then he just kind of ran out of steam so we went to the bullpen and we were able to combine on a no-hitter. I’m pretty happy with that.”

    Kirtland took an early 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning.

    Tyler Turk drew a one-out walk and Luke Chuko was hit by a pitch two batters later. Turk scored on a passed ball.

    The Hornets added three runs in the fourth.

    Will Bates started the rally with a single and Thaler drew a walk to put runners at the corners with one out. Bates scored on a passed ball and Tommy Gogolin reached on an error to push the lead to 3-0. A balk forced in another run.

    After Harvey scored its four runs in the fifth, the Hornets responded in kind.

    Chuko reached on an error, Jonathan Withrow singled and then Bates hit an RBI single. Victor Alfieri hit a two-out, two-run double and Gogolin added an RBI single.

    Blasini and Thaler did the rest.

    “One thing that was working for me was getting ahead in the count with an outside fastball,” Blasini said. “I was drilling the outside part of the zone all day. Then I would finish off the at-bat with a high fastball if it was 0-2 and make them chase it.”

    Bates and Alfieri both finished the day 2-for-3 and Gogolin, Turk, Pierce Boyd, Chuko, and Withrow each had one hit for the Hornets, who improved to 6-8 on the year.

    “At this point, we’re trying to win every game possible and we’re trying to manufacture runs and get some momentum going for the postseason,” Smrdel said. “It’s all starting to come together and we were able to manufacture enough runs. They made it close but we were able to respond and score a few more.”

    Kirtland travels to Harvey on Saturday for the second game of the two-game series.

    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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