By BOB ROTH
BOARDMAN -- The Ohio Little League District 2 baseball tournament will be settled today at the Fields of Dreams.
In Saturday's game, the Boardman West 11-12-year-old baseball team made sure early that it would play again. Facing elimination, Boardman West (4-1) sent 10 batters to the plate in the first inning, scoring five runs.
In the second inning, West sent 15 more to the plate, scoring 11, on its way to an 18-2 victory over Boardman East that was shortened due to the mercy rule.
Had to win: "We definitely had to respond because we had our backs against the wall," Boardman West coach Mark Carrocce said. "Our kids have a lot of heart. We'll be ready to go [today]."
The winner of today's district championship at 6 p.m. will advance to Eaton for the state tournament Wednesday. In their first game last Tuesday, East defeated West, 3-2.
"We're all even now, and the one thing to remember is that tomorrow is a brand new ball game," said Boardman East coach David Nash, who named Corey Susany as today's starting pitcher.
Keying Boardman West's five-run first was clean-up hitter and catcher Edward Rohan, who had a two-run single. Anthony Wills also had an RBI double. Rohan went 3-for-4 with five RBIs and three runs scored.
"I felt good hitting and I saw the ball well," Rohan said.
In the second inning, Rohan, player Mark Carrocce and Jeff Marple each had two hits. Carrocce was 3-for-3, with three runs scored and an RBI.
The winning pitcher was Anthony Caraballo, a right-hander who allowed both runs on two hits while striking out four. It was his second victory of the tournament.
"Some pitches got away from me, but other than that I was throwing well," Caraballo said.
Marple, the first baseman, went 3-for-3, including a double, with three runs scored and two RBIs.
"I felt good at the plate, and it felt good to win," he said.
Leadoff hitter Daniel McCarthy, who made the defensive play of the game, went 2-for-3, with three runs scored and three RBIs.
"I wasn't too satisfied with my hitting, but I guess it was all right," McCarthy said.
His outstanding defensive play came in the first inning on a ball in which he made a long run, dive and catch in foul territory.
"I saw the ball in the air, and Jeff kept coming for it," McCarthy said.
Mike Popio came off the bench to go 2-for-2, with a double and single, a run scored and an RBI.
Long ball: Boardman East's only runs came in the third inning. After T.J. Hosa was hit by a pitch, player David Nash hit a two-run home run.
The winner of the state tournament will advance to Little League's regional tournament in Indianapolis.
In three of the past four years, the District 2 winner has won state and represented Ohio in the regional.