by Steve Batko | Correspondent
Right now Streetsboro head baseball coach Chris Scisciani can only think of what if, but the Rockets skipper loved how his squad finished out the season.
Behind strong starting pitching and a surging offense, Streetsboro won two of its last three games of the regular season and nearly beat County Division champion Woodridge.
The Rockets finished 11-12 overall and 8-4 in the Portage Trail Conference County Division.
"We played really well in the last few games and the guys finished extremely strong," Scisciani said. "I am very proud of the team.
"All of the guys played very hard after our sectional loss. They didn't give up."
Host Streetsboro beat County Division rival Waterloo 11-0 in five innings May 22. That came after a 5-0 home win over division foe James A. Garfield May 20 and a tough 2-1 loss May 19 against visiting Woodridge.
Woodridge (27-3) won the PTC with a perfect 12-0 mark in the County Division.
"There has been no declaration on us getting second in the PTC because Garfield still has two games against Southeast [7-3], but those teams are not going to play those games," Scisciani said.
The coach was proud of his team and pointed to tough one-run losses this season to a strong group of foes in Woodridge, Steubenville, Richfield Revere, Ravenna and Mogadore.
Senior Austin Szemacs was the winning pitcher in the win over Waterloo (8-15, 2-10) to finish 4-2. Szemacs and junior Chad Konik, who threw in relief, combined for the shutout.
Alex Bison, a senior, had two singles in the win along with two runs batted in and two runs.
Senior Austin Ritts had two singles and two runs, while sophomore Bobby Dixon finished with two singles and three RBIs.
Junior hurler Ricky Delambo tossed a three-hit, complete-game shutout in the win over Garfield (8-13).
Delambo finished 5-3 on the hill.
"I thought that Ricky pitched awesome for us," Scisciani said.
Delambo was aided by senior Gage Simpkins, who had a double and two RBIs.
Ritts had a pair of singles and an RBI ,while junior shortstop Chase Galinsky added another RBI. Senior catcher Nate Bailey hit a double.
The Rockets responded with errorless baseball after two unearned runs in the heartbreaking loss to Woodridge proved to be costly.
Streetsboro committed three errors against the Bulldogs, who were led by Justin Whitley's three singles. One of those miscues led to the go-ahead run by Woodridge in the top of the fourth inning.
"We played a great game against Woodridge and we actually should have won," Scisciani said. "We were right there. We had some big errors and Woodridge got some big double plays."
Simpkins was the losing pitcher against Woodridge as he fired an eight-hit complete game. Simpkins finished 2-3 this season.
"Gage pitched tremendous against a very good team," Scisciani said. "His record doesn't show how well he really did this year."
Szemacs had three hits in the loss, including a double. Delambo had an RBI, while sophomore Ethan Flick had a double and a run scored.
Scisciani had a lot of praise for his deep pitching staff, which had three pitchers post an earned run average lower than 2.00. They were Simpkins, Szemacs and Delambo.
"They all did a great job," Scisciani said.
Simpkins was recently named a first-team All-PTC County pitcher. Szemacs was a first-team at-large player.
Making second-team All-PTC were Bison (outfield), Bailey (at large), Delambo (pitcher) and Dixon (middle infielder).
Ritts and Galinsky were honorable mention All-PTC choices.
Bailey, Simpkins and Szemacs are scheduled to participate in the PTC All-Star Game at May 30 at Kent Roosevelt High. Game time is set for 4:30 p.m.