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Independence 6, Lutheran West 2
By Mark Fenske  | staff
Wednesday, March 31, 2010

INDEPENDENCE --  Lutheran West lost its opening day game against rival Independence Wednesday afternoon under cloudless skies and warm temperatures on the last day of March. Shaky defense, a shrinking strike zone, and control problems combined for a disastrous third inning that LW never was able to overcome. Senior Ryan Jones did all he could to rescue the Longhorns, but his three hits, two runs, and RBI were not enough to dig the team out of the hole that it made for itself in the third inning.

The inning started innocently enough. Independence’s ninth hitter, senior Josh Suvak hit a flare into right centerfield. Jones, playing center field raced to his right and dove at the last minute to catch the ball, but it popped out of his glove when he slammed into the turf. Before throwing a pitch, senior pitcher Billy Valletto turned to pick off Suvak at first and promptly threw the ball past senior Ty Hoy at first base and down the right field line moving Suvak to second. After going to a full count on Anthony Siciliano, Valletto got Siciliano to hit a line drive to LW senior Cal Thomay at third base. Thomay jumped to catch the line drive, but the ball hit off the end of his glove into left field for the Blue Devil’s second straight hit. First and third, no one out.

Valletto then began to lose control of the inning. After going to a full count on the next batter, Valletto appeared to have struck him out, but the home plate umpire ruled the pitch ball four. Valletto did the same thing to the next batter—this time Longhorn fans thought that he struck the batter out twice—but unfortunately this resulted in Valleto walking in a run. Valletto thoroughly frustrated, hit the next batter in the hip, and gifted Independence their second run of the inning. Valletto was knocked out of the game by a two run single off the bat of Billy Gutermouth.

Longhorn coach Dave Sellke had no choice but to pull Valletto from the game, bringing in senior Sam Myers to try to get out of the inning. Myers allowed a leadoff hit to start his work, but then settled down working the final four innings of the game and only allowing one run.

Offensively, the Longhorns flirted with getting back in the game all day, but never got the big hit to knock in the runs. In the first, they didn’t score despite a double from senior Rodney Bassett and a single by Jones. In the second, senior Zach Hausmann had a leadoff single but never got to second. In the fourth, Jones led off the inning with a homerun, but after Hausmann was hit by the pitch, the Longhorns failed to move him to second again. The fifth saw a leadoff single by Myers wiped out by a double play ground out by Hoy, and then a double off the wall from senior Justin Chislow. In the sixth a single from Jones, a walk to Thomay, a double from Hausmann, and a walk to senior Mitch Zaharewicz netted only one run thanks to a strikeout, a fielder’s choice and a fly out.

Tomorrow LW looks to right the ship when they play at home against VASJ. The game is scheduled to start at 4:00 PM.
Wed 3/31/10
L, 6-2
Thu 4/1/10
W, 12-2
Tue 4/6/10
W, 9-8
Wed 4/7/10
W, 12-2

Lutheran West
3850 Linden Road
Rocky River, Ohio 44116-4099

Phone: 440.333.1660
Fax: 440.333.1729

Acts 3:6-8 I don’t have much, but what I have I give to you:  In the name of Jesus-Walk!  The man jumped up leaping, dancing and praising God!