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Howland stopped by AAC foe Boardman

Staff photo / Brian Yauger Howland pitcher Alyssa Spangler fires a pitch on Monday against Boardman. Spangler recorded three strikeouts.

HOWLAND — After falling behind 10-0 in the top of the fifth inning on Monday in an All-American Conference game against Boardman, the Howland Tigers scored two runs to avoid a five-inning shutout.

Boardman scored two runs in the top of the sixth to extend the lead back to 10 and took down three straight Tiger batters to beat Howland, 12-2 in six innings.

“It just wasn’t our day today,” Tigers coach Nicole Wayt said. “We’ve just got to go back to the drawing board and come back tomorrow. It’s a new game and it’s a winnable game for us.

“We’ve just got to execute, we have to hit, we have to field, we have to throw, we have to regroup, and our girls are capable. I’m confident that they’ll come back tomorrow (Tuesday) and play a good game.”

The underclassmen for Howland (6-6) set the tone at the plate with freshman Alyssa Massucci and sophomore Kayla Campbell each having two of the team’s four hits.

Staff photo / Brian Yauger Boardman junior Dana Haus awaits the pitch during Monday’s game against the Tigers. Haus had a hit and a run for the Spartans.

The teams meet again tonight at Boardman High School. First pitch is set for 5 p.m.

For the Tigers, a fresh mindset is all Wayt thinks the team needs.

“We just need to regroup,” she said. “Go back to our mechanics, go backto our hitting. We can’t leave runners out on the bases. We have to execute. Clear our heads, come back, and tomorrow’s a new day.”

After back-to-back losses to Champion and Green, it was the defense and pitching that made the difference for Boardman on Monday.

“I thought we played really, really good defense,” Boardman coach Fred Mootz said. “Madison Lester pitched a great game today. We got the bats going and we had a couple of quick innings, which is great. We’ve struggled a little bit lately to put consistency with the bats, but overall I thought we played a pretty good game. … It basically comes down to defensive pitching and we did that today for sure.”

Staff photo / Brian Yauger Boardman pitcher Madison Lester fires a pitch early in Monday’s contest against Howland. Lester had eight strikeouts and two hits.

Lester, one of the nine juniors on the roster, pitched a complete game for the Spartans, striking out eight.

She was able to keep the Tigers off balance, limiting Howland to four hits.

“I mean you know Howland has hit the ball all year, so I knew coming in it’s not a team you’re going to take lightly,” Mootz said. “They’re gonna swing the bats and Madison kept them off balance the entire game.”

Lester also helped set the pace for Boardman at the plate, leading the team with two hits. Nadia Rawhneh and Cassidy Bryan each knocked in two runs.

The Spartans move to 8-4 on the year, but Mootz isn’t too worried about the team’s record. Provided Boardman can continue to play well against tough teams, the third-year coach is confident in what the team can achieve. The focus is all on preparing for the postseason.

“We got a tough schedule,” Mootz said. “We’ve played some tough teams like Walsh Jesuit, Louisville, Aurora, really good, solid teams, upper-echelon type teams. That’s what we wanted to do with this group, push them. Records don’t mean a lot. You want to play good against these types of teams so we’re ready for the tournament later at the end of the year.”

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