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Akron Hoban Knights Tame the Massillon Tigers, Win District with 6-1 victory

Canton, OH- Two schools that need little introduction to one another faced off in the District Finals Thursday evening at Thurman Munson Stadium. Both schools have been on a collision course in Football and Basketball this school year, with Hoban reigning supreme in both Tournament bouts. However, the third time was not the charm for the Massillon Tigers, as they fell 6-1.

Both Managers exchange line-up cards in the waning moments of pre-game festivities

Hoban was able to jump out to an early lead thanks to a leadoff double by Parker Falkenstein. Andrew Karhoff followed with a single up the middle, bringing Falkenstein home to break the 0-0 tie. Massillon starting pitcher Christian Marsh was able to get the next two Knights out, but a Nate Simmel single brought Karhoff home to make it 2-0 after 1.

Akron Hoban pitcher, junior Landan Browning, took control of the game and the Tigers in a way that would make Siegfried & Roy envious. From the final out of the 1st through two outs in the 5th inning, Browning set down 12 batters in a row. In that time, Hoban was not able to add to their lead, so it remained 2-0 entering the bottom half of the 5th.

That is when the Knights offense ignited a rally, bringing 9 players to the plate while plating 4 runs. The rally started at the bottom of coach Derek Carmichael's lineup with Landan Browning helping his own cause with a single to right field. Next up was Masud Jennings who poked a single to left. Massillon coach Spike Ridgely opted to make a change with two runners on, bringing Brock Polilli from behind the dish to the mound to take over pitching duties.

With two men on and nobody out, Parker Falkenstein squared around for a sacrifice bunt to move the runners into scoring position. Polilli came off the mound to retrieve the bunt attempt and turned to throw to his only play at 1st. The throw sailed over the 1st baseman's glove, enabling both runners to come around to score and put Falkenstein at 3rd. Next to the plate was Andrew Karhoff who would send a sharp grounder through the right side of the infield to plate Falkenstein and make the score 5-0. Following a Jordan Keivman walk, Michael Ciavolella joined the single parade, sending a laser to the right field grass and bringing around Karhoff. Polilli was able to settle in and retire the Knights with no further damage and to the 6th we would go.

The 6th was a quiet inning for both sides as Massillon was not able to parlay a 1-out walk to Brennen Crowe into a rally, with the next two batters grounding out. Hoban went down in order on 2 flyouts and a ground out and it was off the 7th for Massillon's last chance to make a valiant comeback.

After getting a lead-off single from Polilli, Drew Stitt grounded one to the 2nd baseman who booted it into shallow right field. With 2 men on, coach Carmichael decided to again go to Jordan Kievman to come in and slam the door as he did in relief on Tuesday. Despite a wild pitch that allowed Ryan Page (who had entered the game as a pinch runner for Polilli) to come home to break up the Knights shutout. Following the wild pitch, Kievman made quick work of the Tigers, striking the next three batters out in order, giving the Knights a Division 1 District crown. With the win, Hoban will advance to take on Hunting Valley University School next Thursday at Oberlin College with a 5:00 pm start time.

The Knights celebrate their District Championship



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