CANFIELD -- Canfield "The Next Generation" is playing its best baseball of the season heading into May.
Despite losing nearly every starter to graduation from last year's state semifinal team, the Cardinals (12-5, 7-0) are atop the Metro Athletic Conference baseball standings by two games after easily defeating visiting Howland 10-0 in five innings on Tuesday.
Junior Joe Rosko (5-0) pitched an impressive one-hitter and struck out 10 batters for the Cardinals. Rosko also helped himself with his bat as he blasted a two-run homer and a double for three RBIs.
Josh McKenney also had three hits while Sean Baker added two hits and three RBIs. Andrew Turocy chipped in with two hits including a double.
Jared Bartholomew had the only hit for the Tigers.
Canfield used a familiar formula in posting the win over the Tigers.
The Cardinals have been getting the job done with great pitching and defense along with timely hitting despite playing with an entirely new team at the varsity level.
"We are a young team," Canfield coach Tony Ross said. "But we knew we had a lot of talent in the lower levels just waiting to get up here and show us that they can play."
Canfield's freshman and junior varsity teams posted just one loss in 40 games last year against top-notch competition.
Against Howland (9-4, 5-3), the Cardinals started quickly by posting three runs in the second inning.
Kyle Banna singled and Turocy walked. Both scored on passed balls.
Baker blasted a double to score McKenney, who reached base on a single.
In the third inning, Matt Guerrieri reached first base on an error and scored on Rosko's blast to right field. Turocy later doubled in the inning and came home on a single by McKenney.
The Cardinals ended the game in the fifth by plating four runs just before the skies opened up and began to unleash rain on Canfield's diamond.
Brett Grabman singled to open the inning and scored on an RBI double by Rosko. Turocy and McKenney singled and moved to second and third on a poor throw from the outfield before Baker ended the game with a hit to left field.
"We've been hitting the baseball very well lately," Ross said. "And our pitching has been outstanding all year."
In the last five games, Canfield has committed just one error in the field and has had at least 10 hits in those contests.
The Cardinals are looking to finish strong to grab the MAC regular season championship and to snare a No. 1 seed for the upcoming Division II district tournament.