Monday, August 15
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    The Vipers 16U team extended its winning streak to five straight games with three wins in pool play at Hope’s Turn At Bat in Mayfield Heights.

    “We executed,” said Vipers coach Christian Verde. “We practiced and went over some situations and scenarios and they executed all those plays that we ran through on defense and we were hitting the ball really well and had good pitching overall.”

    The Vipers opened the tournament with a 3-0 win over the Sapphires on Friday and then swept Fire Fastpitch and the Phantoms on Saturday, 7-2 and 5-4, respectively.

    Led by Lizzy Gardner (2024, Eastlake North), who hit .600, the Vipers had four players who batted .500 or better in pool play.

    Gardner was 3-for-5 with two runs scored and an RBI. Clarissa Morrison (2024, Mentor) went .571 (4-for-7) with a triple, three runs scored, and an RBI. Izzy Coode (2024, Mentor) also hit .571 (4-for-7) with two home runs, two runs scored, and a team-high seven RBI. Olivia Sacks (2024, Mentor) was .500 (3-for-6) with a run scored.

    Mak Kobetitsch (2024, Mentor) added a double for the Vipers, who hit .328 as a team.

    “It was a beautiful thing to watch,” Verde said of the offensive production. “We’re producing, whether we’re moving runners over, getting timely hits, or getting strikeouts or making diving catches, everyone is doing their job. We had excellent offensive balance.”

    The Vipers were equally effective in the circle with Kassidy Samuelraj (2025, Solon), Elena Scott (2025, North Olmsted), and Lilly Jarc (2024, Beaumont) each collecting a win. Scott also added a save.

    Scott finished the day 1-0 with the save and a .913 earned run average. She struck out seven with just one walk in 7 2/3 innings of work.

    Samuelraj pitched five scoreless innings and struck out three. Jarc allowed four earned runs on eight hits and struck out one in 3 1/3 innings.

    The Vipers also showed plenty of resolve in battling back from early deficits.

    “Everyone was relaxed,” Verde said. “When they put pressure on themselves they tend to make simple mistakes. We didn’t do that this weekend.”

    The Vipers earned a No. 2 seed for bracket play. They open the tournament against the Maniacs on Sunday at 8:00 a.m.



    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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