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    Kirtland pounds out 15 hits in big win over Cardinal

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    KIRTLAND—A 12-run third inning was all Kirtland needed to defeat visiting Cardinal in a Chagrin Valley Conference Valley Division showdown on Monday, 15-1, in five innings.

    The Hornets trailed 1-0 in the third when they erupted for 12 runs on nine hits including a Lucci Cantini inside-the-park home run.

    “Hitting is contagious,” said Kirtland coach Luke Smrdel. “We didn’t expect that first two innings. We came out a little flat. I don’t even think we had two hits in the first two innings. We just couldn’t get things going but, all of a sudden, we kept getting the bat on the ball and putting the ball in play. Good things happen when you put the ball in play.”

    Cardinal threatened in the first with back-to-back one-out singles from Charles Soltis and Troy Domen but Gino Blasini recorded back-to-back strikeouts to end the threat.

    Kirtland had back-to-back two-out singles from Carter Luzar and Jack Turk but couldn’t get the clutch hit to push a run across in the second.

    The Huskies took a 1-0 lead in the third when Reese Soltis drew a leadoff walk, stole second, moved to third on a groundout, and scored on Hunter Gresch’s two-out RBI single.

    It was all Kirtland after that.

    Xavier Lasecki, Trip Thaler, and Blasini started the Hornet third with back-to-back-to-back singles and Tyler Turk tied the game on a sacrifice fly. Cantini followed with a two-run single and Macguire Boyd reached on an error. Luzar hit an RBI single, and Jack Turk made it 6-1 with his two-run single. Max Paul singled and Lasecki was hit by a pitch that reloaded the bases and Blasini drew a two-out walk that pushed Kirtland’s lead to 7-1.

    Tyler Turk then doubled home three runs and Cantini crushed a 3-1 pitch off the fence in center and legged out the inside-the-park homer that pushed Kirtland’s lead to 12-1.

    Kirtland added three more runs in the bottom of the fourth.

    Otto Loschert started the rally with his one-out single and Paul recorded his second straight single in as many innings.

    After Loschert was caught trying to steal third, Paul scored on a passed ball and Thaler and Blasini drew walks. Vito Cantini then doubled home both runners to close out the scoring.

    Blasini pitched out of a jam in the top of the fifth to end the game. He allowed one earned run on five hits and struck out six.

    “It was an odd day, and as everybody knows, Gino pitches great on odd days,” Smrdel said. “He pitches great every day we give him the ball and we expect him to get the job done, and he does. We’ve relied on him for the last four years and he’s never let us down, so let’s keep that going.”

    Lucci Cantini, Luzar, Jack Turk, Paul, and Lasecki each recorded two hits for the Hornets in the win. Cantini and Tyler Turk both posted a team-high four RBI.

    Charles Soltis, Domen, Gresch, Carter Tucker, and Nicholi McDaniel had hits for the Huskies.

     

     

    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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