Multiple Teams · HOOVER BASEBALL NEWSLETTER – MAY 2021 (46th Edition)

Welcome back Hoover baseball fans! The Vikings finished the month of April with a 14-4 record, 5-3 in the Federal League. The winning streak stands at four games. Key Federal League series with Lake and GlenOak remain. Sectional/District tournament drawings are scheduled for Sunday, May 9th. Tournament games are scheduled to begin the week of May 16th. Statistical leaders for the Vikings are: batting average – Connor Ashby (.373), home runs – Connor Ashby (2), runs batted in – Owen Blackledge (15), runs – Connor Ashby (18), walks – Nick Vardavas (13), stolen bases – Connor Ashby (15), innings pitched – Owen Blackledge (28.2), wins – Owen Blackledge (4), saves – Tanner Ware (5, ties school record), strikeouts – Ricky Freeman (36) and earned run average – Owen Blackledge (1.22).
Perfection – Congratulations to Mike Ferritto for pitching a perfect game at home against Cuyahoga Falls on April 10th. Ferritto recorded 13 strikeouts over the six innings he pitched in leading the Vikings to a 10-0 victory. He joins the select company of Eric Sarbaugh (at Akron Ellet in 2016) and Rocco Palomba (@ Marlington in 2006) who also pitched perfect games this decade. Not to be outdone, Freshman Mason Ashby tossed a perfect game for Hoover’s Junior Varsity team on March 31st at McKinley. Ashby struck out nine batters over seven innings during the Vikings 5-0 victory.
Fantastic Finishes – The Vikings have had a couple of special last at bats at Dick Miller Field this season thus far. On April 7th, Hoover and Jackson were tied 3-3 headed to the bottom of the 7th inning. Facing Jackson’s Johnny Kulich with one out, Nick Vardavas reached base on a dropped pop fly by Jackson shortstop Michael Duncan. Vardavas stole second base and Owen Blackledge was intentionally walked. Allen Diaz was then hit by a pitch to load the bases. Then with two outs and a 3-1 count, Ty Sowers homered to left-center field to deliver a game-winning, grand-slam home run. Against Mentor on April 17th, the Vikings were trailing 5-3 headed to the bottom of the 7th inning. Connor Ashby led off with a walk and stole second base. With one out, Nick Vardavas hit an infield single to short advancing Ashby to third. Jack McKelley’s line drive single to left drove in Ashby. Owen’s Blackledge reached on a fielding error by Mentor second baseman Brandon Panhorst which allowed Vardavas to score all the way from second base and advance McKelley to third. Andrew Roach would proceed to line out to shortstop Cael Gray. In the attempt to double off McKelley at third base, Gray proceeded to throw the ball out of play behind third base and McKelley came home to score the winning run.
Alumni Day – A word of thanks for those former players and coaches who participated in a pre-game ceremony on April 17th prior to Hoover’s game with Mentor at Dick Miller Field. In attendance were Gordie Knisely, Jeff Hite, Will Haueter, Dom Iero, Jeff Dyrlund, Trish Long (representing Mel Long), Bryan Ashby, Josh Runner, Tim Giammarco, Kyle Young, Mike Ashby, Mike Pedone, Todd Blackledge, Dan Greenho, Mark Snyder, Bob Berrodin and Todd LePage. The highlight of the festivities was 93-year-old Knisely throwing out the first pitch. Plans are to continue Alumni Day on an annual basis with expanded activities.
Quite A Debut – On May 6th during the 2000 season, Aaron Slabaugh as a sophomore made his first varsity start on the mound against Marlington in game two of a doubleheader. Hoover won the game 6-3 and Slabaugh pitched a complete game surrendering just one earned run, striking out seven and walking only one.
College Commitments – Seniors Allen Diaz and Harrison Repp will continue their baseball careers in college. Diaz will be attending Malone University and Repp will attend Otterbein University in Westerville, Ohio.
Coaching Career Start – Current Hoover head coach Bryan Ashby started his HS baseball coaching career during the 1997 season when he served as pitching coach for St. Thomas Aquinas who was then coached by Mike Brenner.
As always, Go Vikings!
Craig Haueter (, (330) 936-1695