By Dan Hiner
After fighting through the District 2 tournament at Fields of Dreams, four local Little League baseball and softball teams will appear in the state tournaments.
The tournaments begin on Saturday at multiple ballparks across the state.
The 10-U softball bracket in Tallmadge will feature Canfield and Austintown, the district champions and runner-up.
Meanwhile the Boardman 10-U and Canfield 11-U baseball teams are entering their tournaments with productive offenses.
Canfield 10-U softball
The Canfield 10-U softball team won the district title with a 3-2 win against Austintown in the seventh inning on July 2. Canfield’s Sam Economous won the game with a two-out RBI single.
Canfield will play Elyria at 10 a.m to start the tournament.
“This team got together about a year ago [Monday] and this team has prepared for a year for this title,” Canfield 10-U softball coach John Millich said. “We’ve not just prepared this week, we’ve prepared for 52 weeks.”
Canfield will rely on its pitching staff, much like it has the whole season. Canfield allowed 10 runs in five games during the District 2 tournament.
Players: Leah Figueroa, Alexa Ignazio, Sam Economous, Marina Koenig, Paris Lindgren, Alexis Johnson, Sydney Lutz, Caley Holland, Ava Milligan, Sofia Castronova, Brooke Opalick, Kayleigh Golden and Riley Billak. Coaches: head coach John Millich, Jeff Lutz, Michelle Opalick and Matt Koenig.
Austintown 10-u softball
The Austintown 10-U softball will also qualify for the tournament after finishing as the runner-up. Austintown will play Pymatuning Area Youth Organization at 3 p.m.
Austintown 10-U softball coach Rich Oswald said the team is ready and Kaliana Ray will pitch. Ray has pitched throughout the team’s tournaments during the season.
Oswald said the team will also try to use its speed to its advantage offensively.
“We’ve played Canfield multiple times this year, and they’re probably one of the best teams out there,” Austintown 10-U softball coach Rich Oswald said. “We played them so many times, it definitely got us ready.”
Players: Alyssa Rodgers, Gionna Rucci, Samantha Severn, Rachel Spalding, Liz Spalding, Jeweliana Farmer, Kylie Folkwein, Madison Haynie, Alyson Oswald, Kaliana Ray, Morgan Roby and Lily Stevens. Coaches: head coach Rich Oswald, Rachelle Severn and Bill Farmer.
Boardman 10-U baseball
The Boardman 10-U baseball team will play in Cambridge after holding on for a 13-10 win over Poland in the district championship.
Boardman received a first-round bye and will play the winner of Avon and Loveland on Sunday at 3 p.m.
In five games during the district tournament, Boardman drove in 44 runs.
“Hitting is contagious,” Boardman 10-U coach Mike Smith said. “If the top of the order is able to get on, it will trickle down to the rest of the lineup.”
Boardman played in an eight-team 10-U tournament at Fields of Dreams over the weekend. Smith said the tournament gave his players an opportunity to stay active prior to the fist game at state.
Smith will start Collin Resetar in the first tournament game. He led the team to an 11-1 win in a must-win game against Poland in the district title.
Players: Vincent Butto, Gabe Hammerton, Ryan Smith, Anthony Groner, Collin Resetar, Cameron Ganser, Ryan Mitchell, Dom Gordon, Connor Boots, Nate Adams, Patrick Young, Frankie Butto and Ben Kelso. Coaches: head coach Mike Smith, Jeff Hammerton and Jim Boots.
Canfield 11-U baseball
The Canfield 11-U baseball team will play Tuscarawas County in Ironton following a 19-8 win over Boardman on July 11.
Canfield scored 29 runs in their last three games, including an 11-3 loss to Boardman during the district tournament. Canfield 11-U coach Dan Anzevino said the loss was due to Boardman’s pitching and believes playing in a tough district will help entering state.
“The boys can definitely hit and we picked up [Jake Bednar and Aiden Radinsky] which sured up our defense pretty nicely,” Anzevino said. “They’re a big momentum team.
“They’ve worked incredibly hard this year and it’s been relatively rare that they haven’t scored a lot of runs.”
The team has depth at pitcher and Anzevino said his starter will be decided based on who feels good that day.
Players: Trey McNutt, Dylan Mancini, Noah Anzevino, Angelo DeLucia, David Murphy, Zain Jadallah, Jake Bednar, Nicholas Berardino, Drew Snyder, Quinn Gaca, Aiden Radinsky, Nicholas Lavanty and AJ Hewko. Coaches: head coach Dan Anzevino, David Mancini and Nick Berardino.