There are many different ways an offense can win a game for a baseball team.
Some lineups are made up of speedy players. Some are made up of line drive, gap hitters. Some are made up of powerful homerun threats. Fitch's starting nine is a melting pot of all of those types. The Falcons used that diversity to sweep a doubleheader from archrival Boardman Saturday to even their record at 9-9.
In the opener played in Austintown, the home team plated five runs over the first four innings. Each of those scoring frames was set up by leadoff man Nick Heitzer who helped set the table with singles. Luke Peterson, Scott Pierce and Zack Miller all doubled in the first to stake the Falcons to a 3-0 lead. Pierce then knocked in a run in the second inning. After Jared Kapturasky and Heitzer got on base in the fourth, Peterson brought home Fitchs fifth run. The Spartans would not submit however. A five run top of the fifth gave Boardman a 6-5 lead. In the bottom of the sixth, Fitch stuck it to the Spartans once again and took the lead for good thanks to another Heitzer single, a Pierce double and a Miller single. Heitzer would finish game one 4 for 4 with three runs scored. Peterson duplicated Heitzers four for four and had an RBI and two runs. Pierce had three huge hits and four RBI's.
While the Falcons singled and doubled their way to a win in the opener, the nightcap was a showcase of Fitch's muscle. Down 2-0 after the top half of the first, Fitch came back with a vengeance. Perhaps aided by a strong wind, both Pierce and Kyle Benyo blasted homeruns to put Fitch ahead 3-2. Although Boardman would go back on top 5-3 in its next at bat, that would be all the Spartans would score the rest of the afternoon. The Falcons followed Boardman's rally with three runs in the second thanks to a Heitzer single, a Peterson single, a walk to Pierce and a hit by Miller. In the third, Jared Latone led off with a single for Fitch. The junior would later score due to hits by Heitzer, Pierce and Miller. Senior Austin Bartley pitched brilliantly in five and two-thirds innings to earn the win.
Following a trip to the Mingo Bay Classic in Myrtle Beach that saw the Falcons capture only one victory, the local boys lost two of three to teams named Cardinals.
Austintown's home opener on April 21 was ruined by Canfield 4-3. Canfield scored four runs in the top of the first, but the Falcons attempted to rally in their half of the inning. It took an exceptional diving catch of a line drive by Canfield first baseman Alec Hammond to keep Fitch off the scoreboard. That stab came after Fitch had loaded the bases and it was turned into a double play. A second inning double by Shane Vitullo that scored Dominic DiFrancesco and Benyo and an RBI single by Heitzer made it 4-3 Canfield. Fitch had one more opportunity to allow the home crowd to celebrate in the bottom of the seventh, but it too went awry. The first two Fitch hitters reached base, but three straight fly outs ended the contest.
''We couldn't capitalize on any of our hits,'' said Fitch head coach Wally Ford following the loss.
Ford was even more disgusted when his squad lost to Mooney 12-2 on April 24. The undefeated Cardinals really don't need any help to win ballgames, but shoddy Fitch defense (four errors) and little offense enabled them to stay unbeaten. Miller hit a triple in the losing effort.
''Nothing good to say,'' said Ford. ''It was a pitiful performance.''
Sandwiched between those two setbacks was a much more joyous 8-3 win in Canfield on April 23. The Falcons pushed home a pair runs in the second, sixth and seventh innings to pick up the win. Benyo belted a two-run triple in the second and a homerun in the sixth to help him collect 4 RBI's. Pierce had a double and a single. Miller had two hits and two ribbies. Patrick Gerberry gained two hits as well. Phil Socha socked a two-run double. Alex DiFrancesco got the pitching win with his 0 earned run, five hit, and five strike out performance over six innings.
Back to back games with Warren Harding kicked off this week of games for the Falcons. A chance for revenge against Mooney will happen May 1. Ford's kids will visit Wheeling, West Virginia to play a pair of games this weekend.