Widrig shines again as Boardman obliterates Fitch | News, Sports, Jobs

AUSTINTOWN — The Austintown Fitch Falcons would probably prefer never to see Boardman’s Griffin Widrig on the mound again.

Luckily for them, he’s a senior, but he turned off the lights again by knocking out Fitch in a Division I Sectional Final on Thursday night to lead the Spartans to a 5-0 victory.

“To be honest, going into the game I felt really good,” Widrig said. “I was excited all day at school. I was ready to hit the mound. Once I got here I just started to focus. I know how to throw shots because I don’t don’t want to increase the pitch count. I just think tackling the batters is the best way to do it.

He definitely did it by getting ahead in the count for most of the night.

A week ago, he shut out the Falcons and held them scoreless in 13 innings, his 12 strikeouts being the difference as some mistakes by Fitch outfielders did them no favors.

Constant bright sunshine seemed to present problems in the second inning when the Spartans scored three runs on RBI singles from Seth Cervello and Widrig.

Fitch’s coach, Joe Paris, didn’t want to use that as an excuse.

“We didn’t deserve to win” he added. “It’s so simple. Those balls weren’t lost in the sun; just a lack of leadership in the outfield. No one charged. We dropped two balls and that’s how they got the runs. I think of the five runs, only one was earned, but in the end, their pitcher ruled us out again.

“It’s two games in a row where he has excluded us. He’s a hell of a pitcher. He pumped strikes in there and he outplayed all of our guys. We just struggled. When you’re up against a pitcher like that, you have to play perfect defensively and we didn’t do that tonight.

Still, Fitch pitcher Joe Roth held on as he struck out eight during the game and managed to get out of a few traffic jams.

Late in the third, the Falcons seemed to understand Widrig after pulling out Jack Knight to start the inning.

Three consecutive singles from Dom Perry, Drew Kaschak and Carter Owens charged the bases.

Gabriel went to the mound to talk strategy and it paid off with the pitcher switching from his fastball to a curveball.

“I think it was a time to get back into the game,” Boardman’s trainer Joe Gabriel said. “Griffin made that adjustment on the mound by going a bit more to his curveball and it definitely paid off. He did a great job of getting out of the inning and I think that kind of turned him around.

Widrig brought up Mikey Sciortino first and from there Brandon Popio started swinging.

“One to five, they’re pretty solid,” Widrig added. “I think it was the three hitters and I had a few curveballs and luckily he came out first, but I mean the props for them is a good hitting team. I just had to lock myself. I just think I started throwing more curveballs and locating them better. I think that’s what worked for me.

For Paris, he’s seen this act before as it’s been a consistent theme all year.

“We struggled to put together a bunch of successes” said Paris. “We stole bases. We drizzled and moved guys. Today with their pitcher on the mound and their catcher, they called off the run game. He is fast first. He is quick on the plate. Their receiver has a great arm there so we couldn’t do anything.

The Spartans added two more runs in the first half of the fourth when Cervello’s hit at third base went over first baseman’s head to score Stephen Conti.

Widrig put the exclamation point on the game with his Cervello double to make it the final margin as the Falcons had just three hits in the final four innings.

“These guys got hot at the right time,” said Gabriel. “Seth, in particular, got hot. Griffin has been pretty consistent throughout the year. Seth getting hot helps us a lot. Colin Thomas is one of those guys who always seems to find a way to get to base, whether it’s a hit, a bunt, or just a scrappy play. They did a great job.

Thomas went 3 for 4 with two singles and a double.

“We struggled a bit at the start of the season, but towards the end we start to pick up a bit,” Brain said. “Anybody in order can hit and get on base for us. It’s the perfect time and we’re just doing our job when it comes to the plate.

After eliminating the fourth-seeded Falcons, the Spartans will be looking to continue their game of late when they meet the sixth-seeded Lake Blue Streaks on Tuesday.

“I think it was just us playing with confidence” said Gabriel. “We just felt like we weren’t playing as well as we could. Congratulations to our guys, they’ve just started to play better lately and it’s starting to pay off.

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