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Mooney rolls past Struthers in D-II final

Published: Wed, May 22, 2013 @ 12:15 a.m.


Cardinal Mooney’s Drew Beck (10) is congratulated by Ryan Megyesi (20) after scoring a run in the top of the second inning against Struthers on Tuesday.

By Joe Scalzo



The last time Cardinal Mooney’s baseball team won a district title, a quarterback/pitcher named Kyle McCarthy was a few weeks away from his Notre Dame football career and a future manager named Al Franceschelli was a year away from his groomsman career.

Over the ensuing six years, Franceschelli led the Cardinals to the district final four times.

He lost four times.

“This was our fifth trip,” Franceschelli said Tuesday night, “and it was a lucky one for us.”

Well, “lucky” is a stretch. Like that 2005 game (which Mooney won 13-0), Tuesday’s contest was no contest, with the Cardinals rolling to a 12-0 victory in five innings in the Division II finale at Cene Park.

“Finally, we made it,” Franceschelli said. “This really felt good.”

While the Cardinals (20-7) got contributions from just about everyone, two players — both juniors — stood out: Ryan Megyesi and Gino DiVincenzo.

Megyesi, the No. 9 hitter, doubled and tripled — both times with the bases loaded — and drove in five runs to break the game open after three close innings.

“I was just trying to put the ball in play and help the team,” Megyesi said. “It just happens that I got hold of it and put it in the outfield.”

The Cardinals jumped out to a 2-0 lead after three innings thanks to just one hit and five walks. They finally chased Wildcats starter Dan Diloreto with one out in the fourth, scoring four runs in that inning thanks to Megyesi’s triple.

“I think he ran out of gas,” Franceschelli said of Diloreto. “We always try to outlast the other pitcher and when we saw he had trouble [throwing strikes] in the second and third inning, we were taking until the first strike.

“We had a couple breakdowns on that but overall the kids were very patient. They were hitting quality pitches and it paid off.”

DiVincenzo, meanwhile, tossed a three-hitter with six strikeouts — none bigger than the one against Struthers DH Vinny Fandozzi, who fanned on three pitches with two outs and the bases loaded in the bottom of the second.

“Drew gave me my sign and I hit my spot,” DiVincenzo said of catcher Drew Delsignore. “I left it in his hands and my coaches’ hands. I did my job and he did his.

“I just tried to throw strikes and let the defense make plays behind me.”

Delsignore added two hits and two RBIs for Mooney, which advances to play Canton South at 2 p.m. Thursday at The Ball Park at Hudson. The Cardinals have never won a regional championship.

“We’re still hoping to continue,” Megyesi said. “We’re not done yet. We have the capability to play with the best. I think we’ll be able to do that.”

Mooney lost to Canfield 8-0 in last year’s district final and entered this season with the bulk of its talent in the junior class. The Cardinals actually had the same number of sophomores in the lineup as seniors on Tuesday (two).

That wasn’t necessarily a bad thing, Megyesi said.

“We had a lot of young guys coming up we knew could play,” he said. “This [title] has been our goal since the winter. It feels great to accomplish that goal, especially after losing to Canfield like that last year.”

No. 8 hitter Joe Wilaj singled and doubled to lead sixth-seeded Struthers (14-9), which beat fourth-seeded Ravenna and top-seeded Niles to advance to its first district championship game since winning that game in 2001.

“We knew these guys would be really tough because they went through the toughest part of the bracket,” said Franceschelli, whose team was seeded second. “They beat the No. 1 team ... so I knew they were going to be formidable.

“And they don’t quit. Struthers kids never do.”


1Truth7(1 comment)posted 3 years, 2 months ago

Canfcard, not really sure why you call him Mr. Baseball, but I'd guess it has to do with one of three things: you just don't like him, you don't like Mooney, or you don't like Catholic schools. Whatever your reasons are, that's your opinion and no one can take it away from you. And since your school won't play Mooney anymore, why bother even reading the article?

Listen, I don't know the coach and I haven't seen a high school baseball game in close to 20 years. But as the son of a great coach and the product of many other great coaches, here's my opinion on whether to "run the bases" with a large lead.

This is a single elimination tournament game that culminates in a state title. The rules provide for a mercy rule. The object for the coach is to get to the magic number of the mercy rule as quickly as possible. It saves your pitching and reduces the innings played and the chance that your players will be injured during those innings. If the mercy rule number was 12, I hope he was running. If it was 10, I'd expect that he'd stop stealing at 10 but still advance on pass balls. After a certain point, stealing is counter-productive because you risk being tossed out. The smarter play is to advance on pass balls and let your hitters get as many at-bats and see as many pitches from a quality pitcher as possible because they're practicing for the next game.

I would still use the same theory if there wasn't a mercy rule because 10 is usually enough in baseball. But I sure won't be the coach explaining a loss to my players by saying, "Geez, I thought 10 would be enough."

I coach in a much younger league that has run limits for each inning including the last. I won't advance even on pass balls if the game is at a point where the other team can't win. That would be bad sportsmanship. But last year I coached in a softball all-star tourney where every inning had a run cap except the final inning. Anything can happen in softball at that age. We were up 18-9 in the top of the 7th and an opposing parent gave me grief for sending a runner home on an aggressive baserunning decision. I politely told her that I will continue to try and score runs unless she agrees that her team will forfeit if it scores more than 8 in the bottom half of the 7th. Naturally, she wouldn't make the deal.

Spend more time supporting your school. Canfield has many, many things to be proud of. Spend less time worrying about people who coach or play at a school that Canfield has chosen never to schedule in anything.

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