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Canfield's season cut short by other Cardinals

May 29, 2014
By Nik Zirounis - Town Crier Correspondent , The Town Crier

One of the oldest axioms in baseball is ''good pitching will always stop good hitting.''

That saying could certainly be applied to the Division II district semifinal game between Canfield and Cardinal Mooney on May 20 at Cene Park.

The fourth seeded Canfield club was completely shut down by Mooney starting pitcher Gino DiVincenzo. Mooney's masterful hurler walked a batter in the first inning, and then did not allow another base runner for another four innings. He allowed just one hit and struck out eight as mighty Mooney cut down Canfield's season 2-0.

After the loss, Canfield head coach Matt Koenig agreed that the ''good pitching over good hitting'' theory does indeed exist.

''Even in high school baseball,'' Koenig said. ''It was a great baseball game. If you would have told me Mooney would have only two runs and three hits, I would have been really happy.''

Coach Koenig was very happy with the pitching performance of starter Jimmy Leone, who would only be touched up in the third inning when Mooney scored both of its runs. Besides that hiccup, Leone was his usual sharp self.

''Leone pitched great,'' Koenig bragged. ''I know DiVincenzo pitched a great game, but in my opinion, (Leone) was just as good. We pitched well, we played well defensively, we did everything we could.''

The one thing the Cardinals could not do was extend the high school careers of their eleven seniors. Almost every starter off of Canfield's 13-8 2014 team will graduate soon, leaving a hole in Koenig's lineup and in his heart.

Following the loss to Mooney, the coach made it a priority to explain to his seniors how much they all will be missed.

''I'm proud of these seniors,'' said Koenig. ''They are such great kids. We built some great relationships, so we'll keep in touch.''

Losing Leone will be one of the biggest hits Canfield will sustain, but two of the top returnees for 2015 should be set to step in.

Junior Joe Billec and sophomore Joey Machuga spent plenty of time this season slinging strikes from the pitching mound, so that duo will be counted on to continue to improve before next season.

Their coach wants all of the aspiring future Cardinals to remember how much it hurt to walk off that Cene Park diamond last Tuesday short of a semifinal victory.

''Hopefully the younger kids saw how hard it is to get out of our district,'' Koenig said. ''This is such a difficult district. Most of these teams are in our conference, too. We lost to Mooney, then Mooney lost to Poland. It proves how tough our district and our conference is.''



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