Warren JFK’s win streak hits 10 with 6-2 win over Ursuline

Ursuline’s Anthony Triveri throws a pitch against Warren JFK on Friday at Bob Cene Park in Struthers.

STRUTHERS — The Warren JFK baseball team extended its winning streak to 10 with a 6-2 victory over Ursuline at Bob Cene Park in Struthers on Friday. Kennedy pitcher Taggart Carfangia earned the win, allowing just five hits and striking out six.

Carfangia, who endured a less-than-ideal start to Friday’s game amid drizzling rain, pushed through the early struggles before ultimately being relieved by Jaden Rishel in the bottom of the seventh inning. Rishel wasted little time, as he saw just one batter, who grounded into a game-ending double play.

Kennedy head coach Jim Ciambotti said pitching has been a major key to the Eagles’ win streak, just like it was Friday with Carfangia on the mound.

“He kept his composure,” Kennedy head coach Jim Ciambotti said of Carfangia. “When he needed to regain himself, he did and put himself in a good position. We helped him defensively with some plays. Just a good team win.”

As light rain moved through the area, Carfangia was forced to get out of a jam immediately on Friday after allowing a leadoff single and then hitting the second batter with a pitch. He did just that, though, as the Irish lined out, popped out and grounded out to leave two runners stranded.

Kennedy took advantage of Ursuline’s missed opportunity, with Dom Ryan and Michael Bartoe singling and doubling, respectively, to lead off the second inning. Andrew Lapolla recorded a sacrifice fly to drive in Ryan for the first run of the game, while Bartoe scored on an infield error to give the Eagles an early 2-0.

In the bottom of the third, Ursuline had another opportunity to get on the board, but back-to-back strikeouts ended the inning with two more Irish runners left on base. And just like they had in the second, the Eagles seized the opportunity.

After Rishel reached second on a misplayed drive to the outfield, Santino Ciambotti, ignoring the sign to stop at second from Kennedy’s third base coach, slid into third for an RBI triple. Michael Condoleon rewarded Ciambotti’s effort with a hard single through the middle of the infield, scoring JFK’s third baseman to make it a 4-0 ballgame.

In the top of the fifth, after a Caleb Hadley single, Bartoe drove in Hadley with a sacrifice fly to right field, putting the Eagles up 5-0.

Unlike the first and third, Carfangia could not escape the bottom of the fifth without surrendering a run. Ursuline’s AJ Snyder singled to lead off the half-inning before Jake Bednar reached base on an infield error by Kennedy, setting the stage for Luke Kollar to ground out and score the Irish’s first run. Rowan Urbach immediately put another run on the board with a sacrifice fly that scored Bednar, drawing within three.

Coming back out for the sixth inning, Carfangia responded emphatically, flying out the leadoff hitter before retiring the second and third batters with back-to-back strikeouts. To give their pitcher some more breathing room, the Eagles scored another run in the top of the seventh on a Bartoe triple that drove in Carfangia himself.

Despite being just three outs away from a complete game, Carfangia showed more signs of trouble in the seventh, and after walking two of the first three batters he saw in the half-inning, he was relieved by Rishel, who moved from first base. On the third pitch of the at-bat against Rishel, Kollar grounded into a double play to end the game.

The win, in addition to being Kennedy’s 10th in a row, is also a major sign of JFK’s improvement since the beginning of the season. The Eagles lost to Ursuline 3-2 in the teams’ season opener on March 25.

“That first game seems like it was six months ago even though it was six weeks ago,” Ciambotti said. “Obviously, it was our first game, getting the unit together, being outside on a baseball field for the second or third time that day. Today was one of our most complete games of the year, pitching-wise, situational hitting, offensively and on defense. This is when you want to try to start playing your best baseball.”

Carfangia said after the game that the team has grown closer and improved greatly over the win streak and that they have high hopes for the postseason.

“I mean, go big or go home,” he said. “Obviously, we’re pushing for state. Got a few things to tweak out, but in the end, I feel like we’re gonna do really, really good this year.”

Ursuline, on the other hand, has been on the losing end of games on consecutive days following a 4-1 road loss to Howland on Thursday. After the loss to Kennedy, Irish head coach Paul Kempe and his staff spoke at length with their team.

“We had an extremely frustrating day yesterday. We weren’t ready to go. We lost to Howland and we didn’t play deservingly to win. We had to come back and battle today, and we had a good team. Just too many mistakes against a team like JFK, (which) you cannot do. So we got to fix those things over the next week.

“We just were not ourselves yesterday. And we came ready to go today and we fought hard. It’s just, you make three critical errors, you put more pressure on yourself, they take advantage and that’s what good teams do.”

Ursuline (10-9) will have the weekend to reset before tussling with Austintown Fitch on Monday at Cene Park. Kennedy (13-4) is set to play Heartland Christian today at 11 a.m. at Eastwood Field in Niles.

Have an interesting story? Contact Preston Byers by email at pbyers@tribtoday.com. Follow him on X, formerly Twitter, @PresByers.


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