Not only was the contest bittersweet for the Spartan head coach Bob Beam, who has guided the Spartans for the last four months since taking over the position in January, but also served as bragging rights for the two schools. Prior to this season, Beam had coached the Tigers for the last 13 years taking them to state in 2000. The players on the field were showcasing many of the skills their old coaches had taught them. And as expected, the players of Springfield refused to go down easy.
Boardman took a fast 2-0 lead in the second inning when a pair of walks on Joey Markovitch and Derek Pasquale put them on letting Nico DiIanni triple them home. The Spartans then tacked on four more runs in the third inning this time being lead off by a single from Danny Popio. Two walks later, and with bases loaded, Mark Caluatti doubled home three runs with a deep shot to left field. Calautti eventually came home on a catcher's error giving Boardman a 6-0 lead.
Springfield fought back and rallied in five runs in the bottom half of the inning.
The Spartans came out in the fourth inning strong when Popio led off with a double and David DiBernardi singled him home. DiBernardi stole second and came home on Markovitch's double. The Spartans' efforts were cut short in the inning leaving the bases loaded yet again.
Springfield Local tied things up 8-8 in the bottom of the fourth inning forcing Boardman to make their third pitching change of the contest. Four singles and a walk made things even.
Both teams traded runs in the fifth inning Boardman on a walk by Neapolitan who came home on DiBernardi's single. Springfield scored on a walk who scored on a wild pitch.
The Spartans went up in the sixth inning when freshman Phil DiIanni made his first appearance of the season as a varsity player and singled to get on before coming home on another double by Calautti. Boardman took a two-run lead in the top of the seventh inning when Carmen Tarantino singled on and came home on DiIanni's second at bat, another single.
Up two runs in the bottom of the seventh inning, the Boardman staff quickly decided to give their opponents a different look and changed pitchers putting in Neapolitan to finish the game. A tag to left field scored one, putting runners at first and third. A shallow shot to right field was caught by Markovitch who sailed the ball home to stop the tying run in a double play.
The teams went scoreless for two more innings. In the tenth inning, Zack Williams was sent in to pinch hit for Pasquale and lead off with a deep double to left center and Nico DiIanni followed with another double sending him home as the winning run. Neapolitan took the mound in the bottom of the tenth forcing a ground out by the first batter and taking the next two himself with a K and a grounder to the mound for a force out.
The contest lasted a little under four hours and saw the Boardman pitching staff of Stauffer, Brian Smith, Johnny Fithian and Neapolitan held Springfield to only 10 hits with only one for extra bases. Boardman pounded out 18 hits with seven being for extra bases. Popio led all hitters going four-of-five with a double, two runs and three stolen bases. Newcomer Phil DiIanni was two-of-thre with a run and RBI while Calautti hit two doubles with a run and three RBI’s, Markovitch doubled with a RBI and Nico DiIanni tripled and doubled going three-of-six with an RBI.
Boardman stands at 5-2 (2-1 Federal League).
Photos special to the Town Crier
David DiBernardi slides safely into third base in the fourth inning against North Canton Hoover. DiBernardi singled to get on sending in a Boardman run. On third base for Hoover is Ryan Botchner.