Division II Team Of The Week: Week 6 - Canfield

Bruce Hefflinger and Dylan Hefflinger
PBR Ohio Senior Writer and Editor in Chief/NW Scout

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Division II Team Of The Week: Week 6 - Canfield

CANFIELD - A no-hitter and revenge from an earlier-season defeat helped Canfield earn honors as the Prep Baseball Division II Team of the Week.

Nate Shaw threw the no-hitter in a 13-0 victory over Warren Harding, the second time the Wright State commit has been part of one this season. The Cardinals then avenged a 3-2 loss to Boardman in game four, scoring two runs in the bottom of the six to tie it up and then one in the bottom of the seventh to win 3-2 on an AJ Havrilla RBI single with two outs.

“After last year we came in this year with the mentality state or bust,” explained Canfield head coach Gary Knittle, whose team lost 3-1 to Salem in the regional semifinals a year ago after winning their first 23 games of the season. “I  hate the motto thing, but with these seniors that’s their motto.

“We preach adversity, how will we handle it? After last year, our goal was to put together a schedule to face adversity and it’s worked out.We faced Walsh and St. Ed’s. We saw adversity against Walsh and bounced back against St. Ed’s. Then we bounced back against Boardman after losing to them earlier. We’ve gotten to see what it’s like to lose and then bounce back. I think we’re geared more for a tournament run than last year when we were only down in one game.” 

Pitching has been outstanding in posting a 15-3 record heading into this week.

“We knew what we had back and added Nate Shaw who we shut down last year,” Knittle said. “We knew our pitching would keep us in games and then we’d have to scrape and that’s what we did versus Boardman. You just keep tipping your hat to the pitching. We’ve never given up more than five runs in a game.”

Landon Beidelschies, the 37th-rated senior left-handed pitcher in the nation, is the ace with a 4-0 record and 1.40 ERA, pitching against “top-notch teams,” pointed out Knittle. The Ohio State commit has 61 Ks in 30 innings, allowing nine hits.

“I can’t say enough about him,” noted Knittle about the southpaw who  has thrown one no-hitter and combined on another this season. “Every game more and more scouts are showing up. Nothing fazes him.”

Shaw is 5-0 with a 1.80 ERA, striking out 46 in 22 innings with Ryan Petro “starting to amp up” in the eyes of Knittle, with a 1.40 ERA in 14 innings on the mound and a 2-1 record. Jake Grdic is another senior hurler while junior Connor Miller adds depth with a 3-0 mark and 1.20 ERA in 22 innings, helping drop the team ERA to 1.40.

“Matt Weymer is the pitching coach and our guys love him,” Knittle related. “He’s really helped the staff reach its full potential.”

Sophomore catcher Michael Patellis has benefited the cause behind the plate for the second-ranked D-II team in Ohio, which has had just 16 errors through the first 18 games this year.
“He’s the glue to our pitching staff,” Knittle said. “We’ve only had two passed balls all season.”

Patellis is also fourth on the team in batting at .350 for an offense with a .351 team batting average to go along with a .451 on-base percentage.

Beidelschies, who plays first when not pitching, is the top batter at .517 with two home runs. Havrilla, a junior, is averaging .408 while seeing time at third, second and first base. The Ohio State commit leads Canfield in runs scored and has only struck out one time. Shaw, a standout shortstop if not on the mound, comes in with a .400 average while junior Ben Slanker, an Ohio University recruit, has a team-best three home runs and a .333 batting mark, while also throwing out seven baserunners from center field. 

“The balls have to drop for us this year,” Knittle said of the keys to success in the tournament. “Against Salem we swung it well, we only had four Ks against a good pitcher in (Lane) Rhodes, but things just didn’t fall..

“We have to play the game we’re supposed to play and do the little things. As long as we play up to our ability and stay together as a team the sky’s the limit for our team.

“It’s been a lot of fun,” Knittle concluded. “This is a very tight-knit group. We know when to play loose and when to turn it on. I’m blessed to be a part of it.”

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