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Quakers follow their dream to district final

Salem’s Nick Coletta takes the throw as Niles’ Chase Sudzina slides into second base at Louisville High School on Monday. (Morning Journal/Anthony Fiuza)

LOUISVILLE –Second-seeded Salem baseball continued its dream season and got timely hits late for a 10-8 win against Niles during the Div. II district semifinal at Louisville High School on Monday.

The Quakers (25-3) scored twice in the bottom of the sixth after Niles (18-9) scored a run in the top half of the inning.

Salem’s Brock Young had two hits and knocked in four runs. Teammate Nick Coletta posted three hits and added four RBIs of his own.

“The whole season we’ve been through a lot of adversity at the end of games. We just never give up. We’ve been down and we always find a way to come back,” Coletta said.

He added that it means a lot to advance to a district title game.

“Oh, it means the world. Especially, since it’s my senior year. I know it means everything to everyone on this team. So, it’s just a great feeling to come out and be right and do what you say you’re going to do.”

The Red Dragons rallied after being down 5-2 through three innings and outscored Salem during innings four through six. But the Quakers were relentless and scored runs when it mattered most against a Niles pitching staff that struggled to locate.

“We play to our strengths. We have good team speed. We like to put the ball on the ground a little bit and then run,” Niles coach Michael Guarnieri said. “We knew coming in that we weren’t going to outslug them, we were going to have to play a lot of small ball. We had a lot of success with it and put eight runs on the board, so we were real happy with that.”

With their season on the line, Salem opted to have Gavin Wilms as the starting pitcher for the semifinal contest, instead of ace Lane Rhodes.

“Lane’s a creature of habit. So, he is getting seven days of rest. He probably could have pitched, but we believe in Gavin,” Salem coach Mike DeBarr said.

The Quakers scored five runs in the bottom of the third innings, all with two outs.

Guarnieri said the Quakers have several qualities that could make them a district title team this season.

“They swing the bats real well. They have good team speed. It’s really a well-rounded team. I think they have a real good shot.”

Game notes

• Salem will face seventh-seeded Chardon in the Div. II district final at 5 p.m. Wednesday at Louisville High School.

• Chardon and Salem played common opponents such as Boardman and Canfield.

The Hilltoppers lost to Canfield, 3-0, but topped Boardman, 5-2. Salem lost to Canfield, 10-0, and Boardman, 6-5.

• Coletta added there’s a few reasons why the Quakers can come back no matter the score.

“I think the biggest mindset is stay on top, keep the pedal on their neck, and keep the energy up in the dugout. We play really good when we keep the energy up.”

• Andrew Huffman went 3 for 4 with a pair of RBIs for Niles. Teammate Anthony Fisher had two RBIs and went 2 for 4 during the game.

• Some fans were frustrated in the fifth inning. Niles catcher Jordan Streamo caught a foul ball towards the Salem dugout, but when the ball popped out of his glove the umpire changed the call from out to no catch. Some fans believed the ball was dropped on the transfer from the glove to his hand. The call helped keep the inning alive for the Salem offense, which scored three times in the inning.

• On Sunday, the Quakers practiced on the University of Mount Union’s Rafeld-Rogers Field.

N: 0-1-1-1-4-1-0– 8- 8-1

S: 0-0-5-0-3-2-x–10-11-2

S — Gavin Wilms (5IP, 7H, 7R, 5ER, 9K, 3BB), Carson Rhodes, wp (2IP, H, R, 5K) and Darius Beck.

N — Kolton Christopher (31/3, 9H, 8R, K, 3BB), Sam Perrone (11/3IP, 0H, 0R), Andrew Huffman, lp (1/3IP, H, R, 3BB), Zack Leonard (IP, H, ER, BB) and Jordan Streamo.

Chardon 7, NDCL 2

LOUISVILLE — Chardon baseball (19-9) scored three runs in the third inning en route to a 7-2 victory over Notre Dame-Cathedral Latin (13-11) in a Div. II district semifinal contest on Monday.

The Hilltoppers received two RBIs from Zach Fronk. Teammates Nolan Kirsh and Kyle Maronde each had a RBI as well.

Blake Barker hurled four no-hit innings and struck out five Lions for Chardon, but he did walk eight batters.

C: 0-0-3-1-0-2-1–7-7-1

NDCL: 0-0-0-0-0-2-0–2-4-3

C –Blake Barker, wp (4IP, 0H, 0R, 5K, 8BB), Elliott Tyminski (22/3IP, 4H, 2R, 2K, BB), Kyle Maronde (1/3IP, 0H, 0R, 0K, 0BB).

NDCL — Sam Slodic, lp (4IP, 5H, 4R, ER, 4K, BB), Ethan Kotnik (3IP, 2H, 3R, 2K, 4BB).

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