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Spartans end season with 16-14 record
May 25, 2017

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A pitcher's duel was staged for the first four innings of the Division I Struthers district final May 19 at Cene Park.

Boardman's Nick Augustine and Walsh Jesuit's Yassir Kahook were spinning gems, befitting a game that had a trip to the regional round of the tournament as the top prize.

Augustine didn't allow a hit over the first three frames, but once the Warriors struck, the Spartans shrunk.

The powerhouse from Cuyahoga Falls stopped the Spartans' season with a 6-1 victory. Boardman ended 2017 with an overall record of 16-14.

With the win, Walsh Jesuit (18-8) will face Massillon Jackson (26-1) tonight at a regional semifinal at Canton.

"We made a nice little run at the end (of the season)," Boardman head coach Joe Gabriel said. "But we just kind of fell short in the district finals."

Boardman's baseball squad was trying to win its first district crown in 15 seasons. Thanks to the pitching of the Spartans' senior starting slinger, that goal looked very attainable.

Augustine spun three perfect innings to begin the contest and was looking as sharp as he has been at any point this spring.

In the top of the fourth, however, everything unraveled for Augustine and his mates. The Warriors pushed across the first run of the game to take a 1-0 lead.

Nobody in the crowd believed that one run would be the last scored the rest of the game. Unfortunately for the partisan Boardman backers, that proved to be true.

Boardman allowed six runs in the top of the fifth inning, which ultimately put the game out of reach for the Spartans. Augustine was perfect through three innings but go into a jam in the fifth.

Walsh went crazy in the top of the fifth. Augustine, meanwhile, was pulled after 4 1/3 innings.

What once was a dream scenario for the Spartans turned quickly into a nightmare. Down 6-0 in the home half of the sixth, the Spartans scratched out their only run of the title tilt.

Dom Stilliana knocked in Bobby Mackovick with a single. Both Boardman batters finished the finale 1-for-3, with Stilliana earning an RBI and Mackovick that run scored.

This was all the Spartans could muster off of Kahook, but they could've had more shots prior to the sixth inning, the coach said.

"We didn't cash in early when we had a couple of chances," Gabriel said.

Kahook ended up throwing six innings and allowing one run on five hits. He also struck out five Spartans, while allowing just a single walk.

Both Augustine and Mackovick will graduate in a couple of weeks, along with Coleman Stauffer, Gavin Strines, Nick Stamp, Noah Land and Sean Sullivan. It was this sensational senior group that dug the Spartans out of a midseason hole and propelled them to the brink of a district title.

"The seniors did a great job all year and they were a huge part of why our season went so well," Gabriel said. "Many times this group could have gone in the tank, but the seniors did not allow that to happen. They did a good job coming together at the end."

Players such as Stilliana, Alex Cardona, Mike Fetsko, Mike Melewski, Travis Harvey, Dylan Gurski, Luke Cardillo and Evan Knaus had numerous impactful games this year and all should be set to return next spring.

Add to the mix a handful of talented junior varsity players ready to ascend in their high school careers, and it's easy to recognize that Boardman's baseball bunch is primed for another run at a district title.

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