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Conference championship still in play for Lady Spartans

April 17, 2019
Nik Zirounis , The Town Crier

Only a loss to Cardinal Mooney kept the Boardman softball team from having a perfect stretch last week.

That hiccup against the Lady Cardinals came in the second part of a split double header at home on April 6. In the opener of that double dip, Boardman's girls got the better of perennial state title contender Magnificat 5-3. A couple of wins over division rival Howland had the Lady Spartans at 4-2 in the All American Conference and 5-4 overall. It was exactly the type of play that head coach Fred Mootz was pining for as his club got ready to head to Myrtle Beach to play in the prestigious Grand Strand Classic.

"We go down south with much needed momentum," Mootz stated on the eve of his team's trip. "I have set the bar high all year for my girls so I'm hoping to come back home with five wins."

The first of the Spartans' four wins last week was made possible because they scored in each of the first three innings against the Lady Blue Streaks. Freshman Dana Haus had a 3 for 3 day at the plate to pace the Boardman offense. Fellow freshman Jenna Olexa joined forces with junior Lauren Maughan to both go 2 for 4 and drive in two runs apiece. Starting pitcher Jenny Taraszewski pitched a complete game giving up six hits with two strikeouts.

The super senior slinger came back on April 9 to handcuff the hitters from Howland. Of course, Taraszewski didn't exactly need to be perfect because her offensive mates mashed the Lady Tigers' pitching. Boardman scored 6 times in the first inning, three in the fourth and three more in the fifth to plaster the Tigers 13-7. The 14-hit barrage was led by Maughan who managed a double, two singles and three RBI's. Olexa had a double and a single and an RBI. Senior Vanessa Roush went 2 for 4 with a double and two ribbies. Sophomore Nina Scavelli knocked in two runs.

If Taraszewski's pitching performance against Howland wasn't pleasant enough to see, what ace freshman arm Madison Lester did the day before was beautiful. Lester fanned seven in a magnificent no-hit, no run outing that befuddled her opponent.

"(Lester) had the Lady Tigers off balance all game," said Mootz.

All the Spartans needed to score to back Lester's gem was one run, but they crossed the plate in each inning except the second to win 11-0. Olexa went 3 for 4 with a double. Haus, Maughan and senior Alicia Saxton all went 2 for 3 with the latter pair picking up two RBIs. Sophomore Kat O'Horo clubbed a double and had two RBIs. Another sophomore, Morgan Cherne, also brought home two. The outstanding efforts of Lester and Taraszewski were not lost on the Boardman coaching staff.

"We got great pitching out of my freshman Madison Lester and my senior Jenny Taraszewski in both contests," said Mootz.

The rookie coach also gave props to the people playing behind the pitching circle.

"Defensively, we played unbelievable in the first match up (with Howland), which was a big part in notching the no-hitter," said Mootz.

Certainly, terrific pitching and sparkling defense will carry a team throughout a season. The 24 runs and 27 hits Boardman blasted Howland with may have been overshadowed by the other two traits, but the coach couldn't help but gush over his team's offense too.

"We've definitely swung the bats extremely well," Mootz said. "My girls' approaches at the plate were much better than in the Mooney game when we left twelve runners stranded."

The Lady Cardinals corralled two runs in the top of the fourth in that contest. Boardman tied the game an inning later, but the visitors pushed home two more in the sixth to squeak out a 4-2 victory. Lester tossed another complete game striking out four. She also had an RBI. O'Horo went 2 for 4. Ashley Saxton, Maughan and Scavelli also had hits.

When the Spartans return from South Carolina they will pick up with Red Tier action with a couple of games against Ashtabula Lakeside. A sweep of that home-in-home series will allow the Boardman kids to stay near the top of the standings. Last week's taming of the Tigers kept them in the hunt for a title.

"Anytime you get two conference wins it's huge," said Mootz. "It keeps our opportunity of winning a conference championship in sight."

 
 

 

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