"We're going to have fun and treat it like any other game
this year," said Trocchio. "Take it one game at a time."
Trocchio coaches Rootstown Jet Rubber, and Saturday at 9 a.m.
his kids will take on Lorain Carlisle Amvets Post No. 32 in an
Alliance Hot Stove H League state semifinal showdown at Butler-Rodman
Rootstown comes into the game with a 21-1 mark, a record that
has surprised Trocchio as much as anybody.
"We were hoping to be here," he said, using coach-like
optimism, "but in no way, shape or form did we think we'd
be here at this point."
Rootstown advanced to this stage because of hard work, pitching
Held to only four runs in last week's 4-3 regional title victory
over Kenmore, Rootstown pitcher D.J. Hickle escaped from a bases-loaded,
one-out pickle in the seventh inning to get Rootstown to the state
Hickle and Justin Buso have been stellar on the mound for Trocchio.
"It's been mostly pitching and defense," said the
coach. "If we hit well, that's like icing on the cake."
The two pitchers, along with Josh Mueller, have been the club's
"If we play well, we think we have a chance to win,"
In another H league semifinal featuring a local team, Windham
Jim's Fuel & Deli will match its 24-0 record with that of Alliance
Knights of Columbus (23-0) in a game scheduled to begin at 11:30
Windham has all the tangible components necessary to win _
the pitching of Cody Apthorpe and Kyle Cooper, the hitting of
D.J. McCune, Sean Kellar, Dave VanSteenberg and Brad Troyer, to
name a few, and defense.
It is called experience.
Almost a year ago to the day, Windham fell 8-6 in a state semifinal
game. It was a game in which a young Windham squad did not score
until the fifth inning. By that time it was too little too late.
Coach Dave Apthorpe sensed the nervousness and the jitters
present that afternoon. This time, with a more relaxed and seasoned
squad, he is optimistic.
"Just getting there (in 2000) was a big achievement,"
he said. "This year, we're going down there with a different
mentality, no doubt about it. We're going down with the attitude
that we can play with anyone in the state. We'll be more aggressive.
"We have so many strengths that we can take advantage
of our opponents' weaknesses."
That aggressiveness is a by-product of the new mindset and
a larger field.
Normally playing on a field where the fences stop at 170 feet,
Windham will find plenty more real estate at Butler-Rodman Park,
where the fences extend to 220 feet.
"We'll try to hit and run and use our team speed,"
A roomier outfield means more action for the outfielders, and
Dave Apthorpe says the experience his outfielders have gained
over the last 12 months has been a big difference.
"The outfield play is much better, and we have kids who
can make plays as 10-year-olds," said the coach.
McCune, who bats cleanup and mans first base, has been on fire
in the tournament. That just makes everybody else in this strong
lineup that much better.
"They all can hit the ball. It is a very versatile, talented
team," praised Dave Apthorpe.
Phone: (330) 678-5460