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Falcons collect pair of Red Tier triumphs
April 13, 2017

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Nobody told first-time Austintown Fitch High School head coach Joe Paris that his new job would be easy.

The rookie coach learned that as he led the Falcons baseball team through its first five games of 2017.

All five of Fitch's contests were competitive, as the Falcons fought to 3-4 record.

The biggest wins for the Falcons came over rivals Boardman and Canfield as the Fitch boys played to a 2-2 All-American Conference Red Tier mark. If the early April weather would have cooperated a little bit more, then perhaps the Falcons would have a more remarkable record at this time.

"The season has been exciting so far," Paris said. "It's been tough trying to string things together and getting some momentum going with the weather."

In most seasons, a baseball team's pitching staff usually does better in the early season than its offense. When cold, wet weather comes into play, it makes the pitching much more effective.

According to the coach, that statement rings true in Austintown.

"We've had great pitching, but our hitting has been a struggle," Paris said.

One of the best pitching performances this year came in the Falcons' first game of the year. Sophomore starting pitcher Kenny Misik helped topple Boardman, 4-0, March 29 at home.

The southpaw slinger worked a complete game, fanning 10 Spartans along the way. He earned another pitching victory later in the week over Canfield, giving him two Red Tier wins.

Backing Misik on offense against Boardman was junior slugger Nick Bianco, who hit a solo home run.

The Falcons scored a run in the first inning and then put the game on ice with three more runs in the sixth.

It took the local boys nine innings to put away Canfield April 3, but the Falcons won, 5-4.

Transfer Malik Cage knocked in the winning run in the bottom of the ninth scoring Zack Fuller. Cage has been a great addition to the Fitch baseball family as he leads the team with a .450 batting average.

This game never would have reached extra frames if it weren't for Kole Klassic's RBI hit late in the game. Junior Nick DeSalvo collected two hits and three ribbies for the winners.

The pair of triumphs inside the Red Tier was a great way for Fitch to flex its muscle against its biggest contenders for a league crown. Unfortunately, both teams also defeated the Falcons in the first week.

Boardman got the better of Fitch, 3-0, March 30 in a game that saw the Falcons garner just four base hits. The Cardinals captured a 3-2 win over Fitch April 4 to split that series.

Paris' club is taking a week away from Austintown to play in the Mingo Bay Classic in Myrtle Beach. The boys fell in the opener to Forest Park High School of Virginia, 7-1, and then to Conway High School of South Caronilia, 7-10.

But one of the biggest games on the docket in Myrtle Beach was Wednesday against Greenbriar Christian Academy of Virginia. That school already played 16 games this year and is a healthy 13-3. Perhaps that stern competition will ignite the Fitch hitters.

When the Falcons fly back up north they will have a home-in-home showdown with mighty Poland on the slate Monday at home and Tuesday on the road.

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