As the Austintown temperatures finally resembled those usually felt in spring, the Fitch baseball team headed to Myrtle Beach to play in the annual Mingo Bay Classic.
That cruel piece of irony is about the only thing upsetting the Fitch boys these days.
The Falcons, who are a heavy favorite to win the All American Conference, have won three of their first four local games. Only an 8-4 setback to Springfield on April 6 has blemished an otherwise perfect start to this season.
In their final game before heading south, the Falcons battered the Bulldogs of Lakeview 12-2 on the road. Fitch scored a pair of runs in the opening inning on a Lakeview error and a sacrifice fly from senior Zack Miller. Lakeview aided the Fitch offense again two innings later when its pitcher walked the bases loaded and the catcher allowed a run to score on a passed ball. Fitch would then bury the Bulldogs in the fourth inning when senior Scott Pierce hit a grand slam. That slam by Scott made it 7-1 in favor of Fitch. Junior Kyle Benyo also flexed his muscles in the sixth inning when he hit his first homerun of the campaign. Benyo also had two other hits besides his homer.
The Falcons would score less runs combined in their other two wins than they did against Lakeview, but that exemplified how strong their starting pitching can be. In a 5-2 Opening Day win over rival Boardman at Cene Park, senior Trent Collins showed he had the stuff to be the ace of the staff. Collins corralled the Spartans for four innings allowing just one run on three hits. Fitch's offense would back Collins with 3three runs in the top of the third. Senior Phil Socha socked three hits and scored two runs. Jarod Kapturasky knocked in another run for the Falcons.
On April 9, Patrick Gerberry was the pitching star for Fitch. Gerberry grabbed the baseball in the first inning then proceeded to upset almost every Ursuline hitter in a 5-0 Fitch victory. The Irish were held to just five harmless hits thanks to Gerberry's superior slinging. Once again Socha got things sizzling at the plate for the Falcons as he hit three doubles, scored two runs and had an RBI. Senior Luke Peterson went 3-4 and drove in a run as well.
Undoubtedly, the Falcons will need all of the great pitching it can garner at the Mingo Bay Classic. This tournament is historically made up mostly of southern teams who have played a lot more games than our local teams at this point of the season. It will act as a great test for Fitch and head coach Wally Ford should get an excellent read on his team against quality competition. When the Falcons return home from Myrtle Beach they will have a huge home-in-home series with conference co-favorite Canfield on April 21 and 22. A match with Cardinal Mooney follows those two tough tussles.