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Boardman baseball team bows out of tournament after loss to Massillon

May 22, 2019
Nik Zirounis , The Town Crier

Boardman's baseball team was certainly going to need a monumental effort to eliminate number one seed Massillon Jackson in the Division I Canton District sectional final played May 16 in Massillon.

The effort was there for Boardman, but the result went the way most people predicted. Jackson improved its season record to 23-2 and advanced to the district round of the playoffs with a 9-2 beat down of Boardman. The Spartans exit the season with a 15-14 overall record.

"It was a tough task, but not impossible," said Boardman head coach Joe Gabriel about ousting the Polar Bears. "Our guys played hard all seven innings and I was proud of them for not giving up late when we could have easily packed it in."

Gabriel's boys also played hard in their sectional semifinal win over another Massillon school, Washington. The Spartans slid past the Tigers 2-1 in nine innings on May 14 at Washington. Once again, the Boardman kids showed their grit. Down 1-0 in the top of the sixth, senior Cam Kreps hit a sacrifice fly to even the score. It stayed 1-1 until the top of the ninth when Kreps hit a double and scored on a Luke Stauffer single. Junior Tyler Peterson picked up the win giving up just one run on seven hits. He struck out five Tigers. That win in the sectional semis was the culmination of a hot past few weeks for the Spartans in which they won 12 out of 14 games. That sensational streak of games encapsulated Boardman's season much more than its early season woes did.

"We had an incredible run in the second half of the season," said Gabriel. "We beat three Federal League/Canton teams in (Uniontown) Lake, Green and Massillon Washington in the sectional semifinals. We got better on our Florida trip and we showed it the minute we came back up north."

A major reason why the Spartans' season didn't head completely south was the heart and determination of Gabriel's eight senior players. Kreps, Stauffer, Travis Henry, Dylan Gurski, Mike Fetsko, Shay Eicher, Nick Yallech and Mickey Morris all contributed in one way or another to keep the Spartans afloat in the first half.

"When things were not going well early the seniors really stepped up and became leaders," Gabriel said.

Although Boardman had a bunch of seniors who played integral roles in 2019, there was also a nice group of juniors who will be ready to step into their senior brothers' shoes next spring. Peterson, third baseman Connor Miller, corner infielder Charlie Davis, outfielder Carmen Quattro and Carmen Cavalier all got major at bats this year and will be expected to keep getting better during the offseason.

"I'd love to see our guys playing a lot of summer ball to improve their skills," said Gabriel.

The coach would also love to see his guys back battling for a sectional title in 2020. If those soon to be seniors get a little help from some younger Spartans, that wish may become a reality.



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