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PREP BASEBALL What a relief: Solid pitching lifts Canfield past Spartans



Published: Sat, May 1, 2004 @ 12:00 a.m.



Every starter got a hit in the Cardinals' 7-3 win.

By BILL SULLIVAN

VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF

CANFIELD -- One of the most difficult positions for any baseball team to develop is that of relief pitcher.

The Canfield High School baseball team received terrific relief pitching from two seniors Friday to defeat Boardman, 7-3 .

After Boardman (8-9) sent 14 hitters to the plate in the first two inning and scored its three runs, Canfield coach Tony Ross called on Chris Sherman to bail out the Cardinals (17-3).

Sherman (4-0) threw a one-hitter for three innings, then gave way to Ricky Banna who finished up with two effective innings of hitless ball.

"I like to come in in relief," Sherman said. "It was one of the better performances I've had."

Sherman used an effective curve to keep the game tied at three and then the Cardinals struck for three runs in the fifth.

"They put the runs on the board for me and then we just came out and took care of business in the field," Sherman said.

Ross said, "Chris Sherman was outstanding. He came in and threw strikes. He worked ahead in the count. He's done that all year for us.

"It was a great performance for him. And, of course Ricky Banna has always been consistent."

Missed opportunities

The Spartans, who had won six of eight outings coming in, had their chances early -- Boardman stranded six runners on base in the first three innings.

"We had our chances and somebody has got to step to the plate and deliver. Its been that kind of year all year," Boardman coach Scott Knox said.

"That's basically why we're a .500 team because right now we haven't had anybody in 17 games be able to go to the plate and get it done when we need to get it done."

In the fifth inning, Canfield catcher Mike Pulakos put the decision away when he hit a three-run homer over the 350-foot fence in left-center.

Pulakos said he was in a mini-slump before the at-bat but knew right away that the pitch was headed toward souvenir-land.

"He just hung a curve ball," said Pulakos of his second homer of the year. "I saw it real nice so I just swung. That's all."

Ross said Pulakos will remain a mainstay in the lineup as the clean-up hitter, despite his recent offensive woes.

"It felt real nice because lately I haven't been hitting too great, so it felt nice to break out like that," said Pulakos.

Ross was informed that the balanced Cardinals collected nine hits, one by every starter.

"I think it speaks volumes for our depth," Ross said. "Our depth is outstanding; it's not just the nine kids that are out there.

"We've got 16 seniors on the team and we try to utilize as many as we can and make them part of something special."

sullivan@vindy.com




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