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Bad trip to Bradenton beats up Boardman baseball team

April 24, 2019
Nik Zirounis , The Town Crier

A rough 1-5 road trip to Bradenton, Florida over Spring Break has added extra burden to a so far mediocre campaign for the Boardman baseball team.

The Spartans went down south looking to pick up some momentum for the stretch run of the regular season, but instead, picked up five losses in six outings. Their only victory came on April 15 when they trounced Bishop Timon St. Jude of Buffalo 19-2. Regardless of their lousy ledger, Spartan head coach Joe Gabriel couldn't have been more upbeat in an email sent a day after returning from Florida.

"I feel great about the Florida trip," said Gabriel. "Our schedule was very challenging. The win/loss record is not what we wanted, however we definitely got better being able to play consistently. We also got a lot closer as always when we go on our trip."

There was nothing close in the clash with the bunch from Buffalo. Boardman blasted Bishop Timon St. Jude for twenty hits. The Spartans scored eight runs in the second inning to take total control of this contest. Seven more runs in the third inning made this match a complete blowout. Seniors Mike Fetsko and Cam Kreps were the most outstanding Spartans at the plate collecting four hits and four runs batted in apiece. Fellow seniors Luke Stauffer and Dylan Gurski garnered multiple RBIs in the win.

"Offensively, we took huge strides as we swung it very well down south against some very good arms," said Gabriel. "Guys got hot throughout the lineup and we are looking to bring it up north."

Boardman's batters were not as hot as they scored less runs in their five losses combined than they did in that one win. The trip tipped off with a 7-3 loss to mighty Inspiration Academy of Bradenton who is 19-6 this year. After beating the Buffalo brood, the Spartans lost four in a row to IMG Silver, IMG Black, Lakewood Ranch and IMG Blue. The Lakewood Ranch outfit was indicative of just how grueling this slate down south was, as it is ranked 3rd in all of Manatee County, Florida.

Notable performances in some of those otherwise disappointing defeats came from Kreps who had three hits in the loss to IMG Silver and from Fetsko and junior Connor Miller who both mashed homeruns in the opening game. While the offense was seemingly on point, the one common thread for the Spartans in all of those setbacks was shoddy defense.

"We still need to clean up defensively," said Gabriel. "That was our downfall in our losses (in Florida). Once we clean up the defensive end of things, we will be a very difficult team to beat."

The Spartans hope to prove to be a difficult challenge for division rival Ashtabula Lakeside this week. A home-in-home series with the Dragons was set for this past Monday at home and Tuesday in Ashtabula. After clashing with Crestview at Eastwood Field and Canton High School of Michigan at Cene Park, the Spartans will play two more AAC games against Warren Harding. Although a shot at catching unbeaten Canfield in the conference may be out the window, Gabriel is hoping to use the remainder of the schedule as a way to ready his boys for a bigger prize.

"We are looking forward to the second half of our season and making a run in the tournament," he said.

 
 

 

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