Irish put down Blue Devils
STRUTHERS-The Youngstown Ursuline baseball team may not be the powerhouse that went to the state semifinals last year, but they were still plenty for Lisbon to handle on Friday.
Behind 10 strikeouts and three singles from senior Dion Felger, the fourth-seeded Irish dusted the fifth-seeded Blue Devils, 10-0, in five innings in a Division III sectional final at Cene Park.
“Their record may not be great, but they are a very tough team,” Lisbon senior Jagr Groubert said. “Their lineup is balanced, they have speed at the top of the order, power in the middle. They put the ball in play and their pitcher pitched well.”
Lisbon finishes the season with a record of 9-12, while starting four freshmen and two sophomores.
“We played a lot of young kids this year,” Lisbon coach Doug Andric said. “We took a lot of steps forward I feel.”
Ursuline improves to 8-10 on the season and will get a third shot at top-seeded Springfield in a Division III district semifinal at 4 p.m. Wednesday at Cene Park. The Irish lost to the Tigers, 4-2 and 5-4, in the regular season.
“They (Springfield) are an excellent team,” Ursuline coach Sean Durkin said. “I wish they were still in division IV so we didn’t have to play them. They beat us in a couple of close games during the regular season, so we are looking forward to getting another chance.”
Groubert got the start for Lisbon, and the Irish jumped on him for three runs in the first inning on an RBI single by Felger, an RBI double from Michael Montalbano and a sac fly from Tannor Berry.
“I wanted to try and get ahead in the count early and throw some off-speed pitches, but they were hitting everything,” Groubert said. “There wasn’t a thing about the way I pitched that I would change. They were just better.”
The Irish continued to hit hard, pulling away with three runs in the third and two each in the fourth and fifth. Berry finished with a triple, a single and two RBIs, while Drew Potesta had two singles and two RBIs.
“We haven’t hit the ball very well all year,” Durkin said. “But we did tonight. You always want to be playing your best baseball this time of year, and we’re starting to come around.”
The Blue Devils were kept quiet all game by Felger. The senior lefty had the Blue Devils off-balance with his mix of breaking pitches, striking out at least two in each inning. An Eric Walker single in the first and a Frankie Morrell single in the fourth were the only hits Lisbon could muster.
“It was hard for us to stay back on the ball against him,” Groubert said. “He got ahead in the count and did a great job of setting us up for his off-speed stuff.”
Though Lisbon returns a handful of upperclassmen, the Blue Devils also lose four senior starters (Groubert, Eric Walker, Matt Spencer and Jordan Everett)
“We like our young talent, but those guys are going to be very tough to replace,” Andric said. “Groubert and Walker are our top two pitchers, so we are going to need some young guys to step up next season.”
Ursuline’s regular-season schedule included Youngstown Mooney and Springfield twice, along with Canton Central Catholic, Aurora and Austintown Fitch. All of those schools are the top seeds in their respective districts.
“We were in a lot of games this year,” Durkin said. “We think we are peaking at the right time and are more than capable of winning two games next week.”
The Irish lost five starters and seven players total from the team that was beaten by Wheelersberg in the Division III state semifinals last year.
Ursuline has won three straight district titles.
U-Dion Felger, wp, (5IP, 10K, 1BB) and Drew Potesta.
L-Jagr Groubert, lp, (5IP, 1K, 3BB) and Jordan Everett.