DIVISION II BASEBALL Poland's Nastase beats Chaney
The Bulldogs pitcher allowed just four hits in a 9-1 complete game victory.
By BRIAN RICHESSON
VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF
POLAND -- His teammates call him Nasty. That's exactly what he is to opposing teams.
If Jeff Nastase continues to pitch and play the way he did Thursday in Poland's 9-1 victory over Chaney, the Bulldogs will like what their future holds.
The left-handed Nastase pitched a complete game four-hitter, while adding a single and double to lead Poland to a Division II sectional baseball title.
Canfield next: The top-seeded Bulldogs (14-7) will play Metro Athletic Conference rival Canfield in a district semifinal next Thursday at Cene Park. The Cardinals defeated Salem 9-7 Thursday.
"Last year we got beat by Canfield in the district final," Poland coach Steve Rohan said. "I'm just hoping we get a chance to play in that [title] game again."
Nastase (6-1) used a manipulative curveball while mixing an effective fastball to keep the Cowboys guessing.
"He's their No. 1 for that reason," said Chaney coach Mike Popio, whose team (10-11) finishes the season Saturday against Canton Timken.
"He has good command of his pitches; he's able to locate them well; he doesn't seem to get rattled."
Rohan said, "The whole thing in high school baseball is keeping the batter off-balance. What the batter thinks is coming, you throw something different and nine times out of 10 you're going to get them out."
What benefits Nastase, Rohan said, is his on-field relationship with catcher Shane Davis.
"He puts the ball right where the catcher asks him to put the ball," said Rohan, who concedes the pitch-calling to Davis.
Nastase said, "Me and Shane seemed like we were on the same page calling pitches. That's very important, because then he doesn't have to move the glove and the ump is going to call it."
Scored early: Poland's offense attacked early and gave Nastase room to work. Senior right fielder Jeff Moore's two-run double opened the scoring in the first inning and sent Poland on its way.
"Our seniors came out swinging the bat early," Rohan said. "That's important.
"We're good one through nine [in the batting order]," he said, "and the nice thing is each game it's a different kid getting the hit we need."
The Bulldogs put the game out of reach with a five-run fourth inning, which included a two-run double by junior center fielder Jim Mitolo and a two-run single by junior designated hitter Tom Peters.