The present and future of Archbishop Hoban’s baseball program is pretty bright.
Hoban players in street gray uniforms with blue hats lifted the Division II State Championship trophy at Canal Park in Akron on Sunday after their 2-1 win in 10 innings against Bloom-Carroll.
Six of the celebrating players were seniors.
Everyone else is slated to return next year, including three newbies – pitcher Noah LaFine, left-field player Michael Ciavolella and midfielder Parker Falkenstein.
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“They just keep popping up and they will be the pillars of what we will build our program on in the future,” said Hoban coach Andrew Bonnette of the three newcomers.
“… Parker, Noah and Ciavolella – these guys are tough guys and they will set the tone for the future of our program. We’ll enjoy that, but for me it’s great to be thinking about the future too, because we’re going to have it come back for the next three years. “
LaFine, a Vanderbilt recruit, pitched six innings on Sunday, limiting Bloom-Carroll (28-6) to one run and five hits. He knocked out seven before senior Dillon Walsh stepped into the game to throw four goalless innings for the win.
Falkenstein gave Hoban a 1-0 lead in the top of the fourth with a sacrificial flight to the right to meet junior catcher Nolan Holmgren.
Ciavolella grabbed the 1-1 draw with a sacrificial flight to the right in the 10th to score junior second player Matt Terzola with the game winner.
“These three are amazing,” Walsh said of Ciavolella, Falkenstein and LaFine. “They are incredibly good. … This team is in very good hands.”
In total, Hoban will return seven of the Sunday starters next year: Ciavolella, Falkenstein, LaFine, Holmgren, Terzola, junior shortstop pitcher Shawn Parnell and junior right fielder pitcher Caleb Kepler.
Sophomore Nate Shimmel and junior Andrew Hardman also stepped in as backups, with Shimmel hitting a single.
Hoban wins the last 16 games in a row
Hoban (24-9) ended his season with a 16-game winning streak after starting the season 8-9.
The Knights set a 9-15 record during Bonnette’s first season as head coach in 2019, and the 2020 season has been canceled due to the global COVID-19 pandemic.
Hoban’s winning streak consisted of regular season wins over Cardinal Mooney, Boardman, Warren Howland, Gilmour Academy, Ellet, Lake. Northwest and Canton Central Catholic and tournament wins over Warrensville Heights, St. Vincent-St. Mary, Triway, Revere, Chagrin Falls, Salem, Vermilion and Bloom-Carroll.
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Keep it up, Dillon Walsh
When LaFine got tired on Sunday, Bonnette and his assistants had to decide which relief pitcher to put on the hill.
Senior Dylan Snyder won a 4-3 semi-final win over Vermilion on Friday and was not an option. Parnell and Kepler were both considered, but the end result was Walsh, who hadn’t entered a tournament game in 2021.
“[Pitching coach] Tony [Corrao] comes to me towards the end of the game and he says, ‘We have to go to Dillon Walsh.’ He’s been great for us this year – he’s doing his job and throwing strikes, ”said Bonnette. “And you know what? I trusted him. Hats off to Tony and Dillon, because without them, my assistant coach and Dillon, we won’t win this game. ”
Ciavolella praised Walsh for “becoming huge”.
Walsh accompanied his teammates for a team photo with the state championship trophy in hand, a medal around their neck and a big smile on their face. He also stood for photos with his senior teammates Snyder, Alex Givens, Dylan Feltovich, Thomas Crowe and Connor Butler.
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Feltovich met two singles in his last high school game. Crowe took on the final at first base unaided.
Bookend status title for Shawn Parnell
Parnell began his junior season with a Division II state title in football and ended it with a Division II state championship in baseball.
Parnell, a University of Cincinnati baseball recruit, is a defensive back and wide receiver for Hoban’s football team.
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A fun, busy weekend for Andrew Bonnette
Bonnette’s weekend included winning a state championship and more with the family.
Bonnette and his wife Mariah held a birthday party for their two-year-old son Jesse at home with family and friends on Saturday between the state semi-finals on Friday and the state finals on Sunday.
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Family members also attended the celebration at Canal Park on Sunday when Bonnette conducted a post-game interview while holding his son with his wife nearby.
“I’ve been busy for the past three days,” said Bonnette with a smile. “… You can’t come here without a support system – my wife and my assistant coaches. We don’t do it without help.”
Bonnette’s assistant coaches are Corrao, Scott Noel and Joe Brode.
Limited to dugout canoe
Confusion reigned at the top of ninth place when Bonnette and his assistant coaches denied an interference call from a runner and a possible suspension that was not mentioned.
Crowe sacrificed to get Feltovich to the second base. Bloom-Carroll pitcher Nic Feasel and first baseman Evan Dozer recorded the out at first base, but the umpires ruled that Crowe was within baseline and Feltovich had to return to first base.
Bonnette, who trained the third base, did not agree with the decision and neither did his assistant coach. A tense conversation ensued between Bonnette and the referees, but the call stood.
Two blows later, Bonnette asked Shimmel to pinch. When Shimmel dug into the batter’s box, Bonnette and the assistant coach shouted: “Balk. Balk. This is a Balk.”
The referees disagreed and after another heated conversation, Bonnette was sent to the dugout.
“I’m not going to get into that too much because we win the game and it didn’t affect us,” said Bonnette.
Ciavolella said: “Our senior captain Dylan Feltovich came up to us and spoke to us. He said, ‘Let this not affect us. Keep playing the game. Keep playing our way.'”
Michael Beaven can be reached at [email protected] Follow Beaven on Twitter at www.twitter.com/MBeavenABJ.