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Timely offense, surprising pitching and great defense has Falcons soaring

April 10, 2019
Nik Zirounis , The Town Crier

A split doubleheader victory at home last Saturday made what was a pretty spring afternoon in Austintown almost perfect for the Fitch baseball team.

The Falcons scored 10 times in each end of the twin bill as they dumped Lakeview 10-3 in the morning and Niles 10-6 in the afternoon. Those two triumphs upped Fitch's season record to 6-2 as it prepares to embark on an annual trip to Myrtle Beach over Spring Break.

Before their bash at the beach, the Falcons bashed both the Bulldogs' and Red Dragons' pitching staffs. Against Lakeview, Fitch scored in every inning besides the fourth and slapped a dozen hits. A five run second inning was really all it needed to beat down the Bulldogs. Senior Bobby Cavalier and junior Lorenzo Russo retained two hits and two RBIs apiece. Junior starting pitcher Josh Corll corralled the win with a complete game effort. He gave up three runs while striking out five.

Article Photos

Photos by Mike Audi, Town Crier

Austintown's TJ Piroch get a hit at last Thursday's road win over Poland.

Later in the day, Fitch nailed Niles for runs in innings one through five. Cavalier clobbered the Dragons for a double, single and three RBIs. Russo also doubled and had three hits total. A pair of sophomores also made their presence known for the home club. Alarik Sierra smacked three hits and Jake Lawrence was the winning pitcher.

The sweep last Saturday came on the heels of a near perfect performance at Poland on April 4. Senior slinger Brett Porter pitched five shutout innings and gave up just three hits in a 5-0 Fitch victory. The middle of the Falcons' order was outstanding as it picked up seven of the team's ten hits on the day. Junior catcher Casey Bokesch went 3 for 4 with two RBI's. Fellow junior T.J. Piroch and Russo both went 2 for 4.

The sensational pitching and clutch hitting was also evident in Fitch's 7-0 whitewash of Boardman on April 2. Sensational senior starter Devin Higginbotham handled the Spartans in his complete game gem. Higginbotham gave up four hits and fanned six Spartans. Up 1-0, Fitch flattened out Boardman with five runs in the home half of the third inning. Lawrence laced two hits and had two RBI's. Cavalier and senior Kenny Misik brought in runs. Bokesch, Piroch and junior Gabe Faunda all went 2 for 3.

Misik has been missing from the pitching mound as he recovers from a torn labrum. With a promising college career in front of him, the doctors have been handling the southpaw with caution. So has Fitch head coach Joe Paris.

"He's been our (designated hitter)," Paris said. "It's a week-to-week thing with him. We're not going to push him."

Higginbotham, Porter, Lawrence and junior Patrick Coleman (who struck out 10 in an 8-7 loss to Boardman on last Wednesday) have been doing a great job picking up the slack while Fitch's ace convalesces.

"Our pitching has done well," Paris said. "We've had some pleasant surprises with some kids stepping up."

Not only has Misik been on the mend, but Paris has had to go without junior lefty Trey Giannini as well. Giannini's absence has hurt on the bump and at the plate.

"(Giannini) has tendonitis," said Paris. "We count on him as a left-hand pitcher and in the middle of our lineup. Hopefully he'll be back later this week."

With a void in power, the Falcons have been scoring runs in more traditional ways. That means getting men on base, moving them over and getting them in.

"We're playing more small ball," Paris said. "We've gotten timely hitting. Playing smarter baseball is allowing us to win."

Another facet of the game that is propelling the Falcons is their defense. Paris prophesied prior to this season that solid fielding would be something his group would showcase each day.

"We're playing good defense," said the coach. "It's been our calling card."

The Falcons will need to utilize a calling card to get in touch with loved ones when they travel to Myrtle Beach. The Mingo Bay Classic is always one where the competition is gruesome. That's exactly the way Paris wants it to be.

"We need to see how we respond against really good pitching," he said. "We haven't seen anyone yet that throws in the eighties. I want our kids to use this trip to get to know each other more. We want to get them together for a week and build on our chemistry."



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