Archbishop Hoban baseball players Drew Lakos, Aaron Cain and Sean Trexler experienced a run to the Division II state championship game as sophomore reserves in 2011. They want to share the feeling with their teammates as senior starters in 2013.
The trio got one step closer with host Hoban’s 11-1 win over Streetsboro on Tuesday in an Akron Division II sectional final. The game took one hour and 25 minutes to complete, and was shortened to 4½ innings by the 10-run rule.
“We are trying to repeat what the 2011 team did and win one more game,” Lakos said.
Hoban was the 2011 Division II state runner-up with a team led by 11 seniors.
This year’s Knights team has 10 seniors and finds itself six victories from a state title.
“We came ready to play,” Hoban coach Jim Diestel said. “These are the games you always get nervous about because our guys can be uptight against a team that is a little bit below .500. You have to make them make plays. We hit the ball well.”
Hoban will face Buckeye in a district semifinal Monday at Summit Lake Park’s George Sisler Field. Buckeye beat St. Vincent-St. Mary 8-7 on Tuesday.
The No. 1 seeded Knights (15-10) scored three runs apiece in the first, second and third innings, and added two runs in the fourth to finish off the eighth-seeded Rockets (9-14).
Cain hit a triple and single from the leadoff spot, batted in two runs and scored two runs.
“As a leadoff hitter, it is my job to get on base,” Cain said. “I just go up to bat with a clear head. I plan on getting on, getting over and getting in. That is our motto.”
Trexler singled twice, hit a double, scored three runs and batted in another.
“It feels good to come out here and get a victory,” Trexler said. “We were on top of our game today. We came out focused and ready to play.
“I think we can do a lot better. We need to come out focused like we did today, but have a little more intensity.”
Other key hits for Hoban came from sophomore Jordan Burns (a two-run single in the first), senior Adam Gray (an RBI single in the third) and junior Brennen Bell (a two-run double in the fourth).
“We had smart at-bats all the way around,” Diestel said. “Whether the ball was hit hard or we made them throw extra pitches and walk us or hit us, those all added to the rallies.”
Hoban seniors Cody Hargett, Austin Farber, Tony Guerriero, Mike Riegger and Nick Kunce also scored a run along with freshman Tyler Canova.
Lakos (5-1) limited Streetsboro to two hits and one unearned run in four innings. Freshman Drew Kline tossed a scoreless fifth inning.
“I just pounded the zone with my fastball,” Lakos said. “I didn’t have to use too many off-speed pitches. When I would, I would just rely on the curveball. Mainly, it was just the fastball.”
Sophomore Chase Galinsky scored Streetsboro’s run in the fourth following a sacrifice fly by junior Austin Ritts. Sophomore Nick Morris and Ritts accounted for the Rockets’ hits.
“We knew coming into this game that we had our hands full,” Streetsboro coach Chris Scisciani said. “We played a lot of freshmen and sophomores today, and a few juniors. We are graduating one senior, but he wasn’t in the lineup. We are a young team and we are happy with the way our kids have been performing. We struggled sometimes. At times, we look great and at other times we do not.”
Michael Beaven can be reached at 330-996-3829 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the high school blog at http://www.ohio.com/preps. Follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/MBeavenABJ and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sports.abj.