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Top seeded Hudson too much for Lady Spartans to handle

June 5, 2019
Nik Zirounis , The Town Crier

The Division I district semifinal between fourth seeded Boardman and top seed Hudson was booked as a showdown between two of the most dominant young pitchers in the district.

Boardman's fabulous freshman Madi Lester locked horns with Hudson's ace sophomore Maddie Roukey on May 15 at Roxbury Field with the sectional crown at stake. Although the two young ladies didn't disappoint anyone who bought into the hype, unfortunately for Spartan Nation, it was Lester who came out on the losing end. Roukey went the distance giving up just two hits and striking out nine Spartans as 19-1 Hudson defended its top seeding with a 2-0 victory. Boardman's season ends silently with a 19-8 record.

"It was a tall task (beating the number 1 seed)," said Boardman head coach Fred Mootz a day after the loss. "I tip my cap to (Roukey) she was solid. She worked it out, up and down very well."

Lester may have been pinned with the "L", but she didn't deserve it. The rookie went toe-to-toe with her one year older counterpart and only allowed two earned runs on seven hits. She fanned six on the day.

"Madi Lester was equally amazing," said Mootz. "Unfortunately (Hudson) was able to execute a couple of times."

Those two times came in the third and sixth innings. It wasn't like the Lady Explorers were monsters with the bats in their hands, but they did just enough to push runners across the plate. In the bottom of the third, a hit was followed by a nicely executed sacrifice bunt and another single to give the Explorers a 1-0 lead. A sac fly in the home half of the sixth made it 2-0. That was it offensively.

Meanwhile, Boardman's batters couldn't do much versus Roukey. The Lady Spartans did have a pair of opportunities to break through against the sensational sophomore but failed each time. Boardman stranded a runner at third base in the top of the fourth inning and had a runner caught off of third base after a failed safety squeeze bunt attempt.

"We were not able to come up with that big hit with runners in scoring position," Mootz said. "That has plagued us at times this year and unfortunately it came back to get us. In this tournament a couple of pitches or plays can decide whether you advance or go home."

Due to those botched chances Boardman will be going home. It'll also be saying goodbye to a quintet of seniors who left lasting impressions both on and off the field. Jen Taraszewski, Brooke Hoffman, Vanessa Roush and Ashley and Alicia Saxton all played in their final games in the district semifinal. Losing them will certainly leave a void in Mootz's 2020 starting lineup.

"We're going to miss our seniors and wish we could have done more for them," said Mootz.

This senior class along with the group of juniors improved from an underwhelming 7-14 last year to this year's 19 win mark. Nothing could make a first time head coach such as Mootz any happier.

"It's a testament to how hard they worked over the summer," the coach said. "As a first year head coach I could not be prouder of their effort. They gave me everything I asked and more."

The exciting thing for Mootz as he enters his second season is the number of underclassmen that played prominent roles in 2019 and are expected to return next year. Besides the incredible Lester, the Spartans should be returning catcher Lauren Maughan, Kat O'Horo, Nina Scavelli, Jenna Olexa, Dana Haus, Samantha Aey and Nadia Rawhneh. All of those girls got into the game versus Hudson and made an impact at one point or another this year.

"We are a young club and the future is bright," beamed Mootz. "The younger girls stepped right into starting roles and delivered game after game."

With so many key contributors ready to return next spring and a few jayvee players ready to make their names known, Coach Mootz believes his sophomore season will be even better than his nearly 20 win rookie one was.

"I really feel next year if we're in this same spot the outcome will be different," Mootz said. "I will continue to set the bar high and keep the mindset of thinking championship or nothing."



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