Independence defeated visiting Kirtland on Friday in an 11-5 pitcher’s duel of sorts.
Kirtland pitcher Gianna Cantini hit a pair of home runs while Independence’s Ashleigh Porter knocked just one out of the park, but Porter did strike out 11 Hornets on the way to the complete-game victory.
“My job in the circle is to throw strikes and hit my spots,” Porter said. “I tried to relax after that first inning, having confidence in my defense. My teammates made it easy because I know they always have my back. Everyone contributed on defense and offense to get another team win.”
Kirtland came into the game with the momentum after claiming their first victory on Thursday.
The Hornets got off to a great start when Gianna DiFranco singled and Madison Matijevic drew a walk. Cantini then homered on the second pitch she saw.
“We had just come off of a big win and I feel like my team started the game confident,” Cantini said.
The Blue Devils responded with a pair of runs in the bottom of the first.
Natalie George reached on a one-out error and then Porter flexed her muscles and hit a two-run shot.
“Coming up to the plate I tried to clear my head, trust myself, and put a good swing on the ball,” Porter said.
Independence added four more in the second.
Cayla Mazzola drew a one-out walk, Tiffani Niro singled and Alyssa Pallini hit a two-out single to load the bases. Mazzola scored on George’s walk, Niro scored on an error, and Morgan Pascarella hit a two-out single that gave the Blue Devils a 6-3 lead.
Cantini made it 6-4 in the third with her second home run of the game.
She finished the game 2-for-2 with two home runs and two walks.
“My approach to hitting was to get a great swing on a good pitch,” Cantini said. “If I continue to keep this mindset only good things will happen.”
Sophie George drew a leadoff walk to spark a three-run fourth inning for the Blue Devils, who hit four straight two-out singles. Porter, Pascarella, Anna Weber, and Cat Rieger all had hits in the inning.
Niro singled to lead off the Independence fifth and Sophie George then reached on an error. Pallini drew a walk to load the bases and Natalie George singled home a run. Sophie George scored on a groundout to close out the scoring.
Porter went the distance in the circle for the Blue Devils. She allowed five earned runs on eight hits and struck out 11. Cantini allowed six earned runs on 11 hits and fanned two in seven innings.
Porter, Pascarella, Rieger, and Niro each had two hits for the Blue Devils while DiFranco, Bella Hostutler, and Cantini did the same for the Hornets.