Fitch rallies to beat Howland, 9-5

The Falcons posted their 10th straight win in a Div. I sectional game.
AUSTINTOWN -- Trailing 5-3, Austintown Fitch High scored six runs in its last at-bat and eliminated Howland 9-5 in a Division I sectional baseball tournament game Wednesday.
The Falcons (20-7) have won 10 straight games and advanced to district play next Wednesday at 4:30 p.m. at Cene Park against a Euclid sectional champion.
Fitch's rally overshadowed a two-home run, four-RBI performance by Howland's Ron Hooper. The third baseman's first home run was a three-run shot over the center-field fence in the fourth inning, which tied the score at 3.
Hooper led off the sixth inning with a long drive over the left-field fence to give Howland a 5-3 lead.
Early lead: Fitch had taken a 3-0 advantage with two runs in the third inning and a single run in the fourth.
The first two Falcon runs scored on bases-loaded walks, and the third tally on a wild pitch.
After Hooper's first homer, Jeff Stredney singled and scored the go-ahead run on Ryan Dillon's double.
The Fitch rally in the seventh started on a single by Shawn Barber. With one out, Josh Starr reached first on an error.
Tigers' starter Steve Hudson was then replaced by center fielder Matt Hundley. And after a wild pitch allowed both runners to advance a base, Steve Burnich hit a double to left to tie the score.
Burnich eventually scored the go-ahead run on a wild pitch, and with two outs, four straight Falcon batters walked, forcing in a run to make it 7-5.
Barber then hit a bases-loaded double to score two runs, but the third runner was thrown out at the plate to end the inning.
Banfield wins: Ryan Banfield retired Howland in order to get the complete-game victory. He struck out 10 and walked just one.
Fitch coach Wally Ford said, "Somehow we have been finding a way to get it done. The kids have come back like this at least six times this year, three times in their last at-bat.
"Ryan [Banfield] really battled. We had scouted them and knew that Hooper was a great hitter."
Banfield commented, "It's awesome playing with these guys. They don't ever give up.
"It's been a long time since Fitch has been able to do anything. I give a lot of credit to my catcher, Mike DeToro."
Burnich said, "I got lucky and hit a fastball [for his double]. We will never quit. I have faith in these guys, even if were down 10 runs."