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Tanner Sipes strikes out 13 as No. 1 Independence bests North Marion, 5-2

COAL CITY, W.Va. — Senior Tanner Sipes went the distance and recorded his 13th strikeout on his 106th pitch as No. 1 Independence defeated North Marion 5-2. The game, scheduled earlier this week, was a matchup of 2021 state tournament participants.

Sipes yielded just six hits — all singles — and did not walk a batter.

“The past two outings, he has pitched really well. We brought him in to close against Logan and then today that is the best he has pitched extended this year. We needed it. We were banged up a little bit today. So I thought he did a really good job,” said Independence head coach Scott Cuthbert.

The Patriots jumped on the scoreboard in their first at bat of the game. Atticus Goodson took an 0-2 pitch out of the yard for his eighth home run of the season.

North Marion evened the score in the fourth on a run-scoring single by Alex O’Neil. With the game tied at 2 in the sixth, the Patriots scored three runs courtesy of a North Marion throwing error and RBI singles from James Williams and Caleb Riddle.

The Huskies put runners on the corners with no outs in the seventh. But Sipes retired the next three batters in succession to close it.

Independence took the field without two of their top hitters. North Carolina State signee Michael McKinney and Clay Basham were both nursing injuries suffered earlier in the week.

“For some of those guys, it was the first time they got to play a lot of varsity action. They were getting to see the difference a little bit. They adjusted pretty well and finally put the ball in play a little bit.”

Independence (16-2) completed a 4-0 week that also included wins over No. 2 Logan and No. 5 Bluefield.

“I think we are getting there. If we can improve a little bit offensively, the pitching is starting to get dialed in a little bit. Just getting to play regularly helps. Hopefully by the end of next week we will be ready.”

Cole Malnick went the distance for North Marion (8-8). He struck out 13 batters and allowed 7 hits.

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