Monday, June 17
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    Keely Sears went 3-for-3 and knocked in two runs in leading Independence to a 7-4 nonconference win at St. Joseph Academy on Monday.

    With the win, the Blue Devils improved to 6-5 overall and extended their winning streak to five straight games.

    “After the fifth straight win, the team’s morale overall has been super great,” Sears said. “We really have bonded over persevering through tough innings making the game in general so fun and pushes us to work harder to maintain our streak.”

    The Blue Devils jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the second inning.

    Genna Gallucci started the rally when she was hit by a pitch and Sears singled her to third. Alexa Johnson made it 1-0 with her sacrifice bunt and Ally Biondi followed with an RBI single.

    Independence added four more runs in the fourth.

    Biondi drew a leadoff walk, Mia Whieldon walked with one out, and Paige Priebe singled to load the bases. Addison Walchanowicz earned an RBI the easy way when she walked home a run. Macey McGhee kept her hot streak alive with a two-run single and Gallucci and Sears drew back-to-back walks that made it 6-0.

    SJA scored three runs on four hits in the bottom of the fifth, but the Blue Devils answered with an insurance run in the sixth.

    McGhee drew a leadoff walk and scored on Sears’ RBI double.

    “We have come to learn how important it is to communicate with each other, whether that is calling a popup or picking someone up after a strikeout,” Sears said of responding to adversity. “Knowing your teammates have your back is a huge key to success.”

    A solo home run in the seventh cut Independence’s lead to 7-4 but Rebecca Gibson retired the next two batters to secure Independence’s win.

    Gibson allowed four earned runs on eight hits and struck out two in her complete-game victory.

    Whieldon went 2-for-3 with a run scored and Priebe, Walchanowicz, McGhee, and Biondi each finished with one hit.

    With her big day at the plate, Sears is now hitting .406 on the season and is third on the team with 13 hits.

    “I’m sure I’ll remain confident at the plate through the rest of the season,” she said. “My main goal is to keep my head on the ball and do my job as a player to keep the game moving in our direction. When the team benefits, I benefit.”




    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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