Mentor softball: Cardinals hammer Brunswick for outright GCC title

May 6—Mak Kobetitsch had a sharp one-word answer when asked if she and the Mentor softball team were in a sharing mood May 6.

"Nope," the junior speedster said.

You can put can exclamation point after that one-word response.

Paced by an 18-hit atack and another dominating performance on the bump by pitcher Kristin Dems, the Cardinals throttled host Brunswick, 9-1, to wrap up the undisputed Greater Cleveland Conference title May 6.

Mentor (10-10, 9-0) still has a conference game this coming week against Solon, but with a multi-game lead over everyone else in the conference, the May 6 win made that game a moot point in the league race.

"We didn't want to share," Kobetitsch said. "This is very exciting to come back and win it after last year. (Losing to Brunswick) last year really set the bar for us this season."

After an 8-2 win May 5 clinched at least a tie for the GCC title, the Cardinals made a point to come out strong in the rematch a day later. Izzy Coode led off with a single, moved up on a bunt by Kobetitsch and the Cardinals were off to the races.

A 2-0 lead in the first turned into a 3-0 lead in the second on Abby Haydu's home run. Brunswick never recovered.

The hit parade by the Cardinals was monumental. Kobetitsch had four bunt singles, Abby Haydu and Coode had three each, and the trio of Maggie Haydu, Addison Siedler and Gabi Dadante had two each. Abby Haydu drove in four.

"It was huge for us to come out and score early," said Coode, who has had a big season after missing all of basketball season with a shoulder injury. "We knew Dems was coming in to pitch a second day in a row, so we wanted to get off to a good start for her."

Kobetitsch said the win May 5 gave her and her teammates confidence at the plate. The speedy junior had six bunt hits the past two games.

"I was very comfortable, especially after (Friday)," she said. "I saw yesterday that they didn't field bunts very well. When you get a bunt down, it makes them feel rushed. They have to be able to field it cleaning and throw it to first cleanly. They had trouble with that."

Dems didn't NEED a ton of support, but she got it anyway. In two straight outings versus the Blue Devils, she gave up a total of two earned runs and 11 hits.

"I really worked on executing my pitches," she said. "We changed the game plan from the first meeting to this one. I threw more inside in the second game after throwing more outside the first game.

"The run support helps a lot. It makes me more comfortable."

Mentor coach Jo Bondra said keeping Brunswick's vaunted lineup off-balance was key.

"They can hit the crap out of the ball," Bondra said. "We changed the plan today. They are very aggressive in the batters box, so we wanted to keep them guessing. Kristin did a great job of that."

Mentor plays Solon in a Division I sectional opener May 8. Some teams might be looking past Mentor seeing that the Cardinals have not been above .500 all season, but Bondra said the schedule strength has made her team what it is today.

A very dangerous conference champion with a fun postseason ride yet to come.

"People asked me a couple weeks ago about the strength of schedule," she said. "It has helped us. This is the smae Brunswick team that crushed us last year. Playing Fitch and Hoover prepared us for games like this."

After clinching the outright title on the Blue Devils' homefield, the Cardinals enjoyed a raucous bus ride back home relishing in a goal met. With an exclamation point.

"This is all we talked about for the last week," Dems said. "We are NOT sharing."