Boardman routs Akron Ellet to reach district final
Spartans seeking first
regional since 2002
By MIKE Mclain
No one can doubt the focus of the Boardman Spartans in their quest for the school’s first district baseball championship since 2002.
There were no indications of looking beyond Akron Ellet in the semifinals of the Division I district Thursday at Bob Cene Park. Instead, the entire focus was on smacking the baseball all over the field as the Spartans scored 10 combined runs in the fifth and sixth innings to advance with a 12-2 win in a game shortened to six innings.
The third-seeded Spartans (16-13) will play fourth-seeded Walsh Jesuit today at 5 p.m. Walsh advanced with a five-inning, 15-4 win over top-seeded Kent Roosevelt.
“With these guys the bigger goal is the district championship,” Spartans coach Joe Gabriel said. “It’s been a while since Boardman has been to a regional. They’re pretty excited about playing for that.”
The final score is a bit deceptive. The Spartans took a 2-0 lead with single runs in the second and fourth innings, but the Orangemen (15-8) tied the score on a two-run homer by Jacob Kline in the top of the fifth inning.
Boardman wasted little time regrouping, sending eight players to the plate in the bottom of the fifth. The Spartans sent nine batters to the plate in the sixth, with the game ending on a single by Travis Harvey that scored Gaven Strines.
Among the key hits in a 12-hit attack was a two-run double by Mike Fetsko that gave the Spartans a 6-2 lead in the fifth. Bobby Mackovick ignited the uprising with a run-producing triple, and Coleman Stauffer followed with a one-run single.
“I think it’s was pretty clutch of us in the moment there to bounce back from the home run,” Fetsko said.
Most of the damage by the Spartans came off relievers Joel Williams and Andy McClelland. Williams replaced starter Matt Cody, who allowed two runs in four innings, and yielded the four runs in the fifth. McClelland worked the sixth inning.
“We have a good amount of seniors,” Gabriel said. “The only thing I said to them is we have to respond. That’s part of tournament play. Someone is going to hit you. You have to hit back.”
Noah Land started and pitched 41/3 innings for the Spartans. Land was pulled in favor of closer Jarod Wilson with one out and Ryan Jarvis on first in the fifth. Kline greeted Wilson with a homer down the line in left field.
Wilson settled down to retire five of the next six batters to earn the win.
“Noah probably didn’t have his best stuff, but he’s been one of our guys all year,” Gabriel said. “He battled through it and didn’t give up a run. Jarod has been first in relief out of the bullpen all year. He’s done a great job. He got one up and the kid did a good job of hitting it, but he did what he normally does and kind of shuts things down for us.”
Luke Cardillo began the six-run sixth with a one-out single. Evan Knaus, Dom Stilliana, Strines and Fetsko each had hits in the inning before Harvey ended the game.
Fetsko walked and scored on a fielding error to give the Spartans a 1-0 lead in the second. Strines doubled and scored on a passed ball in the fourth.
Fetsko had two hits and three RBIs. Stilliana drove in a pair of runs.
There wasn’t a big celebration in the Boardman dugout. The players know there’s plenty of work ahead.
“I think we have a great opportunity to win it,” Fetsko said. “I think with the team we’ve got we can win it.”