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Spartans come up short in district final

Hoover scored lone runs in 3rd and 4th innings to earn 5-0 win

Staff photo / Neel Madhavan. Boardman’s Colin Thomas collides with Hoover catcher Drew Stangelo Thursday afternoon at Canton’s Thurman Munson Memorial Stadium.

CANTON — Boardman finally ran out of its postseason magic Thursday against North Canton Hoover.

The stout pitching, which had only given up one run in three games during the playoffs, fizzled out, the bats, which produced 13 runs in the last three games, ran out of juice and an amalgamation of errors led to Vikings runs.

It was a perfect storm that led to the end of the Spartans’ season in a 5-0 defeat againstHoover in the Division I Canton District final.

“I think there’s a lot of things — we just didn’t play a good game all around,” said Boardman head coach Joe Gabriel. “We weren’t very offensive, we didn’t score, so everything just avalanched. Then in the postseason, I think when you go down three, four or five runs, it’s just tough to overcome.”

After two straight scoreless innings to open things up, a pair of Boardman throwing errors allowed Hoover to score its first run in the third inning with two outs already on the board.

The fourth inning was where things fell apart for the Spartans.

After starter Griffin Widrig had walked two of the first three batters he faced, Hoover’s Deacon Heather stepped up and drilled a long triple to right-center field, which scored two runs.

“I walked a couple guys and I was just inconsistent with my fastball,” Widrig said. “They put up fights at the plate so props to them, but if I could’ve located my fastball, it probably would have helped a lot.”

Widrig’s day was done after that point, and he made way for Guy Young in relief, who finished out the game for the Spartans. Widrig threw 3.1 innings, while striking out five and walking three.

“In the postseason, I think you have to have a quick hook, and I think he was just done,” Gabriel said. “His pitch count was starting to run up a little bit and I think he just felt like it was time.”

Still, the Vikings weren’t done in the fourth inning — ripping off two more RBI singles against Young, before he was able to get out of the inning.

After that point, Boardman had a deep hole to claw out of and was never able to get the bats going — registering just two total hits against Vikings starter Tanner Ware. One of which was a single by Jack Dascenzo in the second inning, while the other was a base hit by Widrig in the top of the sixth.

“Props to him, he was doing really well on the outside up and away and I think a lot of us didn’t adjust to that,” Widrig said of facing Ware. “He got a couple of us with his slider, but he threw strikes all game and got ahead of hitters and I think that’s what led them to the W.”

Ware threw a complete game shutout with six strikeouts and three walks.

For the Spartans, it was a tumultuous season with plenty of “ups and downs.”

The team finished the year 17-13-1 with the low point being the 18-day span during which it lost 10 of 12 games and the high point coming during the home stretch, which included wins over rivals like Canfield, Fitch and Poland and the team’s postseason run.

“It was a great year overall,” Gabriel said. “These guys went through a lot of adversity during the middle-third of the year and they came out and ended up making a run at it here. So, all the credit in the world to the seniors and those guys that have helped keep things together. They did a great job and ended up having a great season.”

nmadhavan@tribtoday.com

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