BOARDMAN – The 2021 season was full of its ups and downs for Boardman baseball.
Playing with just a handful of seniors, the Spartans finished 13-8 against a competitive schedule, and came within an eyelash of a few more victories.
Now, coach Joe Gabriel says the Spartans will look to the 11 seniors they bring into 2022 as the staple of this year’s squad.
“We have a lot of young guys that are now seniors (this year), so we’re very senior-heavy this year,” Gabriel said. “We have 11 of them, and they all play a pretty big role in what we’re trying to accomplish for the year.”
That group – Griffin Widrig, Seth Cervello, Jack Dascenzo, Anthony Butto, Guy Young, Stephen Conti, Jason Triveri, Colin Thomas, Patrick Dorazio, Aiden Miller and Jac Cordon – has a combined 16 varsity letters, providing ample experience for the Spartans. Behind them, juniors Gavin Hyde and Caleb Satterfield also lettered, and expect Lanny Burton, Isaiah Torres, Charlie Young and Kevin Pekkanen to figure into the mix, too.
“I thought they developed well (in the offseason),” Gabriel said. “They’re going to bring some experience, and they played in a lot of big games. They improved throughout the year; they made steps. They made big steps in hitting, and we added a lot of depth this year on the mound. ”
Indeed, Gabriel estimates the Spartans will have about 10 different pitchers they can stick on the mound at any given point.
Hyde will feature as the fate ace after posting a 3-1 record and a 1.66 ERA a season ago as a sophomore. He made seven appearances. Widrig and Young will work into the rotation behind Hyde after combining for 10 appearances in 2021. Widrig recorded a 1.68 ERA, while Young had a 3.65. Cervello will work as the No. 4, Gabriel said, after missing much of 2021 with an injury.
Of boasting such depth, Gabriel joked, “It’s a good problem to have.”
Offensively, Gabriel says the Spartans will have a little more pop this year, highlighting Triveri, a YSU commit, as well as Butto, Widrig, Thoma and Conti. He also anticipates Satterfield to contribute offensively this season.
Triveri had the third-most at-bats of any Spartan a season ago, and posted a .308 average and 10 RBIs. Widrig made 71 plate appearances and batted .304 with nine RBIs.
Boardman opened its season Thursday with a 4-2 win at Toronto (OH). Conti went 3-for-3 in the victory, while Hyde scattered a hit and two walks across four innings of work in which he recorded seven strikeouts.
Gabriel said the Spartans batted well in spots, but looked a little tight early on. He was pleased with the pitching and defense, however, but also felt the baserunning was “All over the place” and will need to be addressed.
The Spartans continue their campaign at 1 pm today against Chardon.
After that, Boardman will face its usual All-American Conference schedule of Canfield, Austintown Fitch, Warren G. Harding and Howland. The Spartans also have nonconference matchups with Poland, South Range, Archbishop Hoban, Louisville, Berea, Struthers and Brunswick.
“I think every year we shoot for winning the conference, and I think our biggest goal is we want to win a district,” Gabriel said. “Boardman has not won a district championship in like 15 years, so getting to the regional would be the ultimate goal for us. Then obviously on to state, that’s always our goal. It’s always a little tougher in Division I, but that’s okay. It’s a grind. “