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Despite conference loss, Falcons ready to face tough tournament field

May 8, 2019
Nik Zirounis , The Town Crier

Fitch's baseball team entered last week with visions of sweeping Canfield and stealing away the All American Conference championship from their first place rivals.

Sadly, those dreams were dashed by the Cardinals in a pair of nail-biters. Fitch lost 3-2 and 4-3 to Canfield and had to watch as their conference cousins celebrated their Red Tier title. With the AAC crown out of the picture, the Falcons must now focus on readying themselves for the rapidly approaching Division I state tournament. Last Sunday evening, Fitch learned it will be the fifth seed in the North Canton District and host number twelve seed New Philadelphia in the sectional semifinal on May 14. A win in that matchup advances the Falcons to the sectional finals where they will meet fourth seeded Uniontown Lake who earned a first round bye.

The Falcons did bounce back from the two narrow setbacks to Canfield to sneak by Springfield 4-3 on May 2. This tilt was tied after each side scored three times in the fourth inning. The Falcons pushed home a run in the home half of the seventh to come away winners. Senior Bobby Cavalier went 2 for 2 to top the Fitch offense. Fellow seniors Kenny Misik and Christian Myers and juniors Joe Remish, Casey Bokesch and Gabe Faunda also collected safeties for the Falcons. Junior reliever Trey Giannini worked two shutout innings out of the bullpen to pick up the pitching win. Fitch's starting pitcher was senior Brett Porter who tossed five innings without allowing an earned run. He struck out four Tiger batters.

In the Falcons' first loss to Canfield, senior starter Devin Higginbotham gave up three runs on five hits in 3 2/3 innings of work. Cavalier, Myers and junior T.J. Piroch each had multiple hit days, but unfortunately it was the Cardinal players who had the most fun as they hoisted the Red Tier trophy after the game.

It took eight innings the next time these two longtime foes faced off, but the Falcons once again fell to the Cards. Junior pitcher Patrick Coleman started the game for Fitch and was steady for four innings. Sophomore reliever Jake Lawrence entered the game late and was tagged with the loss when he gave up the game-winning run to the conference champs. Cavalier collected two RBI's for Fitch. Giannini had a double and a single.

Last week concluded with the Falcons falling to Green last Saturday 6-1. Myers had the lone RBI for the Falcons on a double. Sophomore Alarik Sierra and Faunda also had hits in the losing effort.

A nice tune up for the tournament was scheduled to take place this week when the Falcons were to meet up with Cardinal Mooney. Although the Cardinals are only the eighth seed in the Division II Struthers District, they are always a well-run outfit and pose a stern test for any opponent. New Philadelphia, on the other hand, only had two wins all season and haven't had any adversary shaking in their cleats this spring. Should Fitch fold up New Philly's season as expected next week, the sectional championship tussle with Lake should be quite interesting. The Blue Streaks are seeded a tick higher than the Falcons, but Fitch may be better overall than its former Federal League foe. The top ranked team in Fitch's tournament bracket is mighty Massillon Jackson who sits with a sparkling 17-2 record. While the Falcons will surely never look past either of their first two postseason games, one would think the prospect of polishing off the Polar Bears has to be enticing to the Fitch players.



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