By Michael Beaven
Beacon Journal sports writer
WADSWORTH: Barberton juniors Kloee Cuckler, Macy Kaisk and Riley Ries can’t quite recall when they first met.
The three softball players know it was pretty early in their lives.
They have been playing travel ball together since they were 6, and all their experience paid off Thursday as they led the Magics to a 9-0 victory over host Wadsworth.
Cuckler doubled and scored in the fifth inning and smacked a grand slam in the seventh inning to put an exclamation point on the victory for Barberton (12-0).
Ries singled twice and scored once, and Kaisk pitched a shutout and scored one run.
“It feels great to be on this team,” Ries said. “I really trust in our whole lineup, and our first three batters, I feel real comfortable with. We have played together ever since we were little. I can’t wait for that day where we are all hitting, one through nine.”
Kaisk, a right-hander, struck out six and limited Wadsworth (7-4) to five hits. Kaisk and Cuckler, a left-hander, are both 6-0 this season.
“My curve ball was working pretty well,” Kaisk said. “That was my go-to-pitch most of the time.
‘‘My changeup wasn’t as good today.”
Barberton struck quickly with two runs in the first inning after junior Morgan Kadilak singled in Kaisk and sophomore Kayla Rorrer singled in senior Kelsey Wilson. The Magics added two in the fifth after Ries singled in Cuckler and Kadilak singled in Ries.
Defensively, the Magics turned two double plays, one in the second and one in the fourth.
“Barberton is a wonderful team and what we take away from this game is experience and being in a game against a state-ranked team,” Wadsworth coach Michelle DeAngelis said. “We had some big hits. [Junior] Kaitlin Murphy really stepped up today and hit the ball very well [with a double and two singles]. We always tell the girls it is the little things that win big ballgames, and that is something we take away from today. We didn’t put some bunts down to move runners early in the game and against a dynamite pitcher like Macy, we have to do those things.”
Kadilak doubled in Wilson in the seventh, and Cuckler capped the inning with her grand slam over the center field wall. Rorrer, senior Courtney James and junior Rylee Lappin also scored.
“As soon I hit it, I knew it was going over,” said Cuckler, whose three home runs are tied for first on the team with Kaisk and Kadilak. “It was actually a high ball. It was a rise ball and I probably shouldn’t have swung, but I did.”
Grizzlies freshman right-hander Kim Crookston struck out 11, but allowed 11 hits.
“Crookston did a nice job at keeping our hitters off balance,” Barberton coach Steve Kaisk said. “We got some timely hits in the first with a couple of little bleeders there that got through, and then toward the end of the game, we started hitting her pretty solid.
“This is a young group, but they are seasoned on the varsity level. We had everybody basically coming back from last year’s team and with me being a first year coach, that doesn’t happen too often.”
Michael Beaven can be reached at 330-996-3829 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the high school blog at www.ohio.com/preps. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/MBeavenABJ and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/abj.sports.