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Falcons find sticks

Fitch comes out swinging against South Range

Staff photo / Brian Yauger Austintown Fitch’s Jake Corll delivers a pitch Friday against South Range. Corll struck out five as the Falcons won, 11-4.

BEAVER TOWNSHIP — After losing two tough contests to Canfield on back-to-back days, Austintown Fitch rebounded in big fashion, taking down a strong South Range team, 11-4 on Friday evening.

“We played really well,” Falcons’ coach Joe Paris said. “South Range is ranked really high in the state and we knew we had to come here and we had to play well. We’ve been struggling pretty bad lately. We had two tough games last week.

“We weren’t fielding the ball real well and we weren’t hitting it real well, but we were pitching pretty well. We did that again tonight and we put together some hits, put some good swings and I’m very pleased with the way we played.”

Junior Jake Corll manned the mound for Fitch, throwing five strikeouts. Larry Iagulli closed the game out, punching two of the final three batters out.

The Falcons (9-3) lost all three of their games in a week-long span, with the lone win coming in a 6-3 contest against Lakeside. With how resilient Fitch has been this season however, Paris knew his team would bounce back quickly.

Staff photo / Brian Yauger Fitch junior Joe Roth runs to third base during the Falcons’ win over South Range on Friday.

“We’ve lost three out of our last four prior to today,” he said. “We lost 1-0 to Howland as well, so it’s been a tough week for us. But our guys are resilient. I knew they’d bounce back so I’m very proud.”

Fitch got on the board early with a run in the top of the first. After falling behind early in the two contests against Canfield, an early lead was a top priority for the Falcons heading into Friday’s game.

“We came out, we wanted to be aggressive and try to get a lead early,” Paris said. “I feel like the last couple games we’ve been playing from behind, early in the game. A lot of it’s because of our own fault, taken away, runs and giving away runs and so today we played solid defense and we got timely hitting and we had great pitching so when you do those three things a lot of times you’re going to come out on top.”

Most of that scoring came in the fourth and fifth innings, where Fitch scored nine runs between the two innings to take an 11-1 lead going into the bottom of the fifth.

South Range didn’t wither away however. The Raiders battled back, scoring three quick runs in the inning to stave off a five inning game, but couldn’t put a further dent into the Falcon lead.

Staff photo / Brian Yauger South Range’s Michael Markulin hit a pitch to right field.

“Fitch is a very good ballclub, so we knew we had a good test in front of us,” South Range coach Jim Hanek said. “I’m proud of my kids. We fought our way back into the game, but we didn’t play well enough to win tonight and credit to them. They executed defensively. The pitcher had a great command of his fastball, great command in his off speed pitches and was able to throw any pitch in any count. That’s always tough when you’re going up against a kid like that.”

The Raiders (9-4) look to get back on track today with a continuation of a prior game against Salem, before a second contest against the Quakers afterward.

Fitch has a jam-packed schedule over the next week, starting with a contest against Mooney today at noon. With the monkey off their collective backs, the Falcons look to carry this momentum throughout the rest of the year and into the postseason.

“We know what we can do, it’s just a matter of getting it done,” Paris said. “We work hard. We put a lot of work in and we do the right things, but sometimes you do the work and it just doesn’t come out the way you want it. We’ve got seven games in eight days. We play Saturday and we play every single day next week, so we’ve got a lot of baseball ahead of us. I’m looking forward to it, it’s gonna be fun.”

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