Canfield heads to Virginia Beach before attempting to wrap up division
April 24, 2019


A sensational start in the All American conference has the Canfield baseball team sitting on the perch of a conference championship.

The Cardinals clobbered Ashtabula Lakeside and Warren Harding over the past four league games by a total combined score of 31-4. Those four wins pushed Canfield's league ledger to 8-0. All the Cardinals need to do to secure the league crown is win back-to-back games over rival Austintown Fitch on April 29 and 30.

"We lead Fitch by two games with two games left so If we sweep, we win the league outright," said Canfield head coach Gary Knittle. "We have put ourselves where we hoped to be."

Knittle also hoped to ride a strong pitching staff to the title and he got just that in the first win over the Raiders in Warren on April 16. Junior starting pitcher Brent Herrmann hurled a complete game four-hitter as the Cardinals prevailed 6-1. Herrmann held Harding to that lone run and struck out four Raider batters. He also helped himself at the plate with two hits. Senior Jad Jadallah joined Herrmann with two hits.

Canfield came back one day later at home and handled Harding by the same exact score. Seniors Rick Havrilla and Dante Flak both had RBI hits in the win. Brayden Beck, Dom Magliocca, Dom Pilolli and Jadallah all had hits for Canfield as well.

Those wins in the Red Tier were preceded by lopsided 8-1 and 11-1 wins over Lakeside. Canfield's only loss over the past five contests was a disappointing 5-1 defeat at the hands of Salem at home. The Canfield bats went as silent as a sleeping baby as Salem's Seth Seddon stopped them on one run and five hits. The Quakers' hitters made sure to back their star slinger when they scored three times in the top of the first. It was a historic win for the Quakers too because it marked the first time in over 20 years that they were able to get the better of the Cardinals on the diamond.

Before Canfield has its potential conference clinching encounter with Fitch, it will tune up with some superior competition at a tournament in Virginia Beach. Knittle's kids will battle another Salem, this one from Virginia, who has a 14-5 record. They'll also take on Xavier of New York City and one of the host schools Princess Anne of Virginia Beach.

"We are going to see some really good teams on this trip," said Knittle a night before embarking on the road.

The first team the Cardinals will clash with is mighty King's Christian Academy of New Jersey who, like Canfield, is unbeaten in its conference. It is also ranked in the top 10 in its state. The group from Cherry Hill, New Jersey also sports one of the finest arms in the country, senior Jake Andrey, who will take aim at Canfield's lineup in game one.

"King's Christian Academy has a pitcher committed to Rider University that has a 90 plus fastball," said Knittle. "We open against him on Tuesday night under the lights. Hopefully we can start the trip off on a positive note."

A huge positive for Knittle would be if some of his own pitchers can overcome some lingering ailments possibly caused by the inconsistent Ohio weather.

"We've had some arm problems so hopefully the warm weather can heal us up," Knittle said.

The Cards have warmed up to the idea of bonding down on the beach as much as possible. In fact, all 17 players and four coaches are going to be staying in one house when they arrive. Canfield's rookie coach hopes that will act as a way to become more unified instead of just resembling an MTV reality series.

"I think this trip is great to build some team chemistry as we get ready for the home stretch leading us into tournament play," said Knittle. "It should bring us together and make some lasting memories."


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