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Canton Cardinals Post Successful Season in Ohio MSBL 25+ Division

Ohio MSBL, 25+ Division

Front Row L-R: Mike Schnell, Andy Brown, Ethan Johnayak, Ben Bjerke, Alan Krontz, Mike Clausing and David Gray. Back Row L-R: Mark Baker, Wayne Neiman, Mike Frustaci (mgr.), John Leonard, Jared Lease, Alex Botsch and Louie Gigliotti. Not Pictured: Chuck Fornicola, Matt Frey, John Bakalar 

‘Canton Cardinals Post Successful Season, Reach finals of Playoffs’

Submitted by Mike Frustaci, Cardinals manager

After losing in the semi-final game the past two seasons, the Canton Cardinals of the Ohio MSBL (Canton, Ohio) finally made it to the 25+ division championship game.  After another good season that saw the Cardinals finish the regular season at 10–5, we won our quarterfinal game breaking open a close 2-1 game by scoring nine runs in the eighth to cap an 11-1 win behind our ace Jared Lease, who pitched a complete game 5-hitter to notch his 11th win of the season. 

Our semifinal game brought more drama as we fell behind 5-3 after giving up five runs in the sixth inning. Jared buckled down after that and our offense scored four runs in the seventh and the eighth to complete the 11–5 win, giving Jared his 12thwin of the season and sending us to the finals for the first time.  The final was a hard fought game which found us on the short end of a 5–1 score. Jared pitched brilliantly giving up only one earned run while striking out 14 in a complete game loss. 

Finishing the season at 12–6 we had a fun and memorable season.  We played well most of the season behind great pitching, solid defense and timely hitting.  Our staff ace Jared Lease finished the season at 12–4 with a 2.36 ERA.   Jared had seven complete games and pitched a total of 118 innings, striking out 135. Jared led the league in wins, complete games, strike outs and innings pitched.  Our staff of Jared, Matt Frey, Alan Krontz, Wayne Neiman and John Bakalar finished the season with a 3.04 ERA and 180 strike outs in 154 innings pitched. We also had nine complete games and three saves. 

Our offense was led by rookie David Gray, who led the team in most offensive categories with a line of 0.533/0.696/0.667 for an OPS of 1.362.  He also led our team in runs scored, RBI’s, walks, stolen bases and HBP. David also played a solid third base for us and filled in at short and catcher when needed.  Other star hitters included Matt Frey who hit 0.350/0.552/0.500 for a 1.052 OPS, our catcher Mike Schnell lead the team in AB’s, plate appearances and games played while hitting .306 and anchoring our defense behind the plate, Ben Bjerke our slick fielding second baseman scored 12 runs, knocked in seven and was second on the team with 11 stolen bases.  Our first baseman Mark Baker chipped in 10 runs scored and 14 RBI’s as well. 

Our Infield of Mark, Ben, Alan Krontz at shortstop (15 runs and 6 RBI’s) and David Gray completed the season with 28 DP’s and a .969 fielding percentage.  Newcomer Louie Gigliotti chipped in some memorable performances filling in at second and short as did Matt Frey.  Our outfield was led by our center fielders Alex Botsch and Chuck Fornicola (.275 with 8 runs scored) and anchored in the corners by Andy Brown in left (hit .454 during the playoffs) and Mike Clausing (.302 with 9 RBI’s) in right. Another rookie Ethan Johnayak also contributed in the corner outfield and drove in 12 Runs.

Long time veteran John Leonard helped out coaching first base most of the year and chipped in batting .333 off the bench.  I (Mike Frustaci) managed the team and coached third base while playing a game at first base and batting when needed.

We had a great season, had lots of fun and look forward to winning the "SHIP” next season.
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