Sophomore Falcon earns his third victory on mound
BY Greg Gulas
Austintown Fitch pitcher Kenny Misik has been bothered by a bad back and head coach Joe Paris almost scratched his sophomore ace from Monday’s start against Poland.
After Misik’s four-hit, 10 strikeout performance in a 3-1 victory, Paris is glad that he caved in to Misik’s request to stick with him.
“Kenny’s a bulldog, that’s the best way that I can explain it,” Paris said. “His back was a little sore before the game and I really thought hard about waiting another day in order to start him [today] at their place.
“When one of my boys tells me that they want the ball, then I’m going to give it to him,” Paris said.
Misik (3-1) pitched for six innings and threw 110 pitches before exiting after being struck on, of all places, his back after a sharp comeback liner off the bat of Braeden O’Shaughnessy.
“The ball hit me in my back and right in the spot where I have been feeling pain,” Misik said. “Coach [Paris] was smart enough to get me out of there but until then, I felt pretty good.”
Misik held the first six hitters in Poland’s lineup in check as they went a combined 3-for-16, failed to score or drive in a run but drew three of his four free passes.
The Falcons (6-5, 3-2 All-American Conference Red Tier) took a 2-0 lead in second inning after Malik Caige and catcher Chris Gerberry led off with back-to-back singles.
Caige scored on an infield error and Gerberry came home on Robby Russo’s groundout.
Gerberry said that Misik was in control the entire game.
“Kenny has been excellent in three league games,” said Gerberry referring to contests against Boardman and Canfield. “He pitches lights out with his three pitches, but today we relied basically on his fastball and curve.
Fitch extended the lead to 3-0 in the sixth when Caige, Gerberry and Nick Bianco opened the inning with three consecutive doubles. Caige was picked off by Bulldogs pitcher Dan Klase (4-1),
Gerberry scored on Bianco’s hit.
Caige picked up the save by getting the finals two outs.
Caige and Gerberry each had two hits, including a double. Gerberry scored twice and Caige the other run.
“The only thing I was thinking about was I just wanted to get outs,” Caige said.
Poland coach Rich Murray expected a well-pitched game.
“Their starter pitched great and our pitcher pitched well,” he said. “We made some errors, some running errors and they hit the ball better than us.
For the Bulldogs (8-3, 3-2), O’Shaughnessy had two of their four hits and scored their run.