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Triple games will pit rivals
May 3, 2018

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It is said that familiarity breeds contempt and that statement has a great opportunity to ring true in Boardman.

Boardman's baseball team was scheduled to battle archrival Austintown Fitch this past Monday and Tuesday to determine the winner of the All American Conference's Red Tier. The Spartans entered that home-in-home series with just one loss in the conference. The Falcons did the same. What makes things crazy, however, is that this may not be the last time these two schools square off on the diamond this season. Boardman is the number six seed in its district of the Division I tournament that begins next week. If the Spartans subdue their first round opponent New Philadelphia, they will visit Fitch in round two. That means these crosstown combatants may meet thrice in less than ten days.

"The first two will be for the conference," explained Boardman head coach Joe Gabriel on Sunday night, "but the next one will be very important too."

The Spartans entered this week of play on fire as they have won four in a row to up their season mark to 11-8. On April 23, Boardman blew out Poland 10-0 to begin its very successful stretch. Matching five run innings in the fourth and fifth propelled the Spartans to their easy triumph. Alex Cardona spun a shutout by striking out seven and walking just one. Mike Melewski gave him help at the plate going three for three with a double, three RBIs and two runs scored.

Boardman's next win wouldn't come as easily the following day at Howland. Seven runs over the first two innings got the Spartans off to a sizzling start, but they had to hold on to escape with an 8-7 win. Travis Harvey came out of Boardman's bullpen to work three innings and earn the win. He didn't allow a run and struck out three. Dylan Gurski had a triple and knocked home four runs for Boardman's offense. Luke Cardillo clubbed a homerun and two doubles and had two ribbies.

While the power was on display in Howland, the Spartans' speed was showcased in their next game versus Lowellville at Cene Park. The Spartans swiped six bases, two by Mike Fetsko, as they ran the Rockets off the field 9-1. Boardman bashed 12 hits in the win paced by Dom Stilliana, Evan Knaus, Harvey and Cardillo. Defense was also on the menu as the Spartans played error free baseball.

Gabriel's club picked up twelve more hits last Saturday afternoon at Cene in a 12-0 whitewash of Ursuline. Knaus had a double, a single and two RBIs. Harvey also doubled and singled and scored two times. Connor Miller had a pair of ribs. Winning pitcher Cam Kreps kept the Irish hitters off balance all day giving up just two hits and fanning four. That effort helped the Boardman boys culminate an impressive few days with another "W".

"We did get some nice wins this week," Gabriel said. "I'd say it's been a total team effort offensively, defensively and pitching. We are getting great senior leadership right now, which I really think makes a huge difference."

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