Tag Archive for: AAC


COLUMBIANA, OH- In a recent episode of YSN “Coach’s Corner,” DJ Yokley sat down with Rick Shepas, the newly appointed athletic director at Warren G. Harding High School. Shepas, a veteran in the realm of high school sports administration and coaching, shared his insights and vision for the new role, emphasizing his student-first philosophy and commitment to community building.

Shepas, who has had a storied career with many stops along the way, expressed his enthusiasm for joining the Warren G. Harding community. “When you look at what Steve Chiaro is doing with the school district, the brand new buildings, the way the buildings are kept, the pride that the community has in their traditions over at Warren Harding, I think they’re in a great place to do some special things,” said Shepas. He highlighted the school’s new center, which aims to blend athletic and academic excellence, particularly through innovative STEM programming.

At the core of Shepas’s approach is a focus on students. “Every decision is based off of what they’re doing to serve their young people in the community. That’s what I’ve always been about from day one in my career,” he emphasized. Shepas firmly believes that the well-being and development of students should drive every decision made within the educational and athletic frameworks.

Warren G. Harding boasts a rich athletic tradition, and Shepas is committed to reviving and building upon this legacy. “You have to embrace your past as you move towards the future, to maintain that standard that we’re talking about,” Shepas noted. He articulated a clear strategy for program development, one that begins with strengthening the foundation: “It starts with a top-down philosophy where you put the right coaches in place at the top of the food chain with those varsity sports.”

Shepas is known for his “velvet hammer” approach—soft yet firm. “You have an approach and you’re not going to go in and get in a bunch of people’s faces and tell them how it is. You have a velvet hammer approach,” Yokley remarked. Shepas’s method involves setting high standards while maintaining a nurturing environment. “The accountabilities on how you run your program is where the focus should be. If we’re buttoned up and we’re doing the very best that we can for our kids in the development, in the mental processes as well right now, the training process and then the nutrition process,” he explained.

For Shepas, building a successful athletic program is more than just fostering talent—it’s about creating a holistic culture that supports students on multiple levels. “You’d be surprised the esports population out in Warren. They’re getting more people involved in esports,” he mentioned, showcasing his inclusive vision that extends beyond traditional sports. He also stressed the importance of nutritional support: “I was thoroughly impressed that there’s an active kitchen, a live kitchen in each school,” highlighting how even meal times can be opportunities for growth and bonding.

Collaboration is key to success in Shepas’s eyes. “We need to share athletes. We need to share athletes without any coaches feeling either paranoid or nervous that any one of those coaches was going to try to force a kid not to play another sport,” he said. By fostering a cooperative environment among coaches, Shepas aims to provide a balanced and enriching experience for students.

As Shepas embarks on this new journey, he is optimistic about the possibilities. “I think you’re going to see a well-disciplined group of athletes come out of that athletic department. I think that’s going to have a great impact on the school,” he predicted. His goal is to instill a sense of discipline, respect, and excellence that extends beyond the athletic field and into all aspects of student life.

Shepas’s appointment marks an exciting new chapter for Warren G. Harding, and with his student-first philosophy and experienced leadership, the future looks bright for this storied athletic program. As he succinctly put it, “We’re going to do this the Warren way and move forward together on that with all of our coaches.”

With a commitment to honoring the past while innovating for the future, Rick Shepas is poised to help bring Warren G. Harding to new heights.



MASSILLON OH- Canfield topped Tuslaw 7-1 as Malena Toth racked up career milestones, celebrating her 800th strikeout and 60th win. She dominated from the circle, tossing a 4-hitter with a whopping 16 strikeouts. Toth wasn’t just a force with her arm; she also delivered at the plate with a clutch 2-run single in the 5th.

The game kicked off with Jenna Triveri tearing around the bases for a leadoff triple, quickly scoring thanks to a Sydney Lutz single. Macey Kalina kept the momentum going, launching a 2-run homer in the 2nd to extend the lead. Faith Morell chipped in with an RBI double in the 3rd, padding the score further.

Looking ahead, Canfield is set to face Aurora in the D2 Regional Semi-finals. They’re slated to throw down at Nordonia High School on May 22nd at 2:00.


MASSILLON, OH- The Massillon Jackson Polar Bears ended the Boardman Spartans season  9-0 on Thursday, sparked by a first-inning rally that netted five runs.

Right out of the gate, the Polar Bears capitalized on a Spartan error to grab their first run. The hits and RBIs kept rolling in, with #13 grounding out to bring in another run, Kyle Andrews smacking a two-RBI single, and Kyle Carey adding another RBI groundout to make it a five-run frame.

The scoring didn’t stop there, as Wyatt Fether lifted a sac fly in the third to push the lead to 6-0.

On the mound, Landon Thiel was dominant for the Polar Bears, pitching a near-flawless four innings with just one hit allowed, fanning two and issuing one walk to snag the win. Tyler Kirlik shouldered the loss for the Spartans, surrendering seven runs, four earned, over four innings while striking out three.

The Spartan offense was stifled, with Ben Herrmann managing their only hit of the day.

Andrews was a key performer for the Polar Bears, driving in three runs and anchoring the infield with the most defensive chances. The team’s leadoff hitter, Carter Mottice, was on fire, snagging three hits and swiping two bases, helping to keep the Polar Bears flawless in the field with zero errors on the day.

The Spartans season closes with a final record of 9-11.


CANFIELD, OH- Canfield clashed with Howland on the diamond, sealing a solid 6-2 win on Wednesday, and propelling the Cardinals to the District Round.

Howland struck first in the second inning, with Perry knocking a single to bring in a run. Not to be outdone, Canfield’s Enzo Cocca blasted a double in the bottom half to even the score.

The tides turned in the third when Anders from Howland snagged the lead with a single. But Canfield wasn’t down for long. They stormed back later that inning with David Murphy and Dylan Mancini both smashing doubles to clear the bases, pushing Canfield ahead 5-2. A fielder’s choice from Joey Gabriel sneaked in another run, solidifying their lead.

Michael Patellis was the standout pitcher for Canfield, allowing just two runs off four hits across six innings, adding seven Ks to his record. Howland’s Ray absorbed the loss, giving up six runs over six innings. Zain Jadallah stepped in to close for Canfield, delivering a clean inning to lock down the win.

Canfield’s bats were hot, with Mancini, Murphy, Cocca, and Patellis all racking up two hits apiece. Mancini brought his A-game, driving in two crucial runs.

Despite the effort, Howland managed hits from Santee, Anders, Kovarik, and Perry, with Anders and Perry each notching an RBI.

Both teams flashed leather with Howland turning two double plays, while Canfield executed one smoothly. The win sets up Canfield nicely as they look to keep the momentum rolling into their next outing.  Howland, who finishes at 13-10 on the year, had a great showing and gained valuable experience that will keep them a contender for years to come.


HOWLAND, OH- Monday saw the Howland Tigers claw their way to a 6-4 victory over the Niles McKinley Red Dragons.

Niles struck first in the second inning with Nick Clark grounding out to bring one home and Brady Court knocking a single to tally another run. But Howland wasn’t about to let them keep the lead for long. Come the third inning, the Tigers unleashed a barrage, scoring five runs off five hits, capitalizing on a critical error that sent two runners home.

Sully O’Donnell kicked things off on the mound for Howland, tossing over three innings, giving up two hits and a couple of runs while fanning three. On the flip side, Landon Turner toed the rubber for Niles, enduring three rough innings where he yielded seven hits and five runs, though only one was earned.

Howland’s bats were lively, racking up 10 hits. Dominic Santee, batting cleanup, delivered big time with two RBIs, going 2-for-4. Luca Fronzaglio and Richie Ansel also had notable performances with a pair of hits each. Fronzaglio wasn’t just a threat at the plate; he swiped two bases, contributing to Howland’s total of seven steals on the day.

For Niles, Court was clutch from the seven-hole, driving in two runs on a 2-for-3 day at the plate. Tyler Williams matched Court’s two-hit output as the Red Dragons turned a double play to tighten up their defense.

Next up, the Howland Tigers hit the road to face Alliance on Tuesday, looking to keep their momentum rolling.


LOUISVILLE, OH- On Senior Night in “The Ville” The Louisville Leopards clinched a solid 4-2 victory over Canfield on Monday.

The action kicked off in the second inning when Owen Burick grounded out but not before driving in the opening run. The Leopards padded their lead in the third, thanks to some smart hitting. Zach Root and Cole Miller each knocked singles, and Zander Triplett capped the inning with a sacrifice fly, pushing the score to 4-0.

On the mound, Blake Johnson delivered a stellar performance for Louisville, allowing just one hit and no runs across three innings, adding three strikeouts to his tally. Over in Canfield’s corner, Groner absorbed the loss, giving up four runs on four hits in his three-inning stint. Bryce Graziani stepped in later to seal the deal for Louisville, earning the save.

Louisville’s lineup saw hits from Root, Miller, Cooper Rice, Andrew Corona, Graziani, and Triplett, each adding their flair to the scoreboard. Root, Miller, Triplett, and Burick were all credited with an RBI each.

Canfield showed some fight with Mancini and Gabriel both snagging two hits apiece, and Jadallah bringing in their sole RBI of the day.

The fielding was sharp with Canfield turning a smooth double play, but it wasn’t enough to stave off the Leopards, who are now set to face the Independence Blue Devils next Tuesday.


BOARDMAN, OH- Boardman edged out Hubbard 5-2 on Monday, thanks largely to the hustle of Landon Whippo, Ben Herrmann, and Zach Ganser. These guys, hitting lower in the order, knocked six of Boardman’s 12 hits, and crossed the plate three times to fuel the win.

Hubbard didn’t stay silent, making some noise early with a pair of runs in the third inning off a double by Bobby Thompson and a single from Gabe Rusnak.

But Boardman snatched the lead right back in the fourth inning. Marty Stachowicz started the rally with a single, followed by a double from Charlie Young and a walk to Grayson Eicher—each of them bringing a run home.

Mason Nawrocki pocketed the win for Boardman, handling the mound for four innings, giving up two runs on four hits and bagging five K’s. Hubbard’s starting pitcher, Mathew Bobovnik felt the heat, allowing four runs across eight hits in just over three innings of work.

Boardman’s bats were alive, racking up 12 hits. Eicher, hitting cleanup, was clutch, driving in two runs to lead the charge. Stachowicz was on fire, snagging three hits and setting a solid pace for the team.

Defensively, both squads were slick, but Boardman’s single double play edged out Hubbard’s pair. Kali for Hubbard was spot on in the field, though, handling the most defensive chances without a slip.

Boardman is set to keep the momentum rolling into their next clash at Cuyahoga Falls on Tuesday.


AUSTINTOWN, OH-The Austintown-Fitch Falcons kicked off the week by blanking Kennedy 5-0, putting on a clinic in pitching and defense, and evened the series 1-1 with their Trumbull County rivals.

Right from the jump, Mason Petridis laced a double in the opening inning to drive in the first run. Nik Kyprianou then took over, tossing a gem with just two hits allowed and three strikeouts over two innings. Kennedy’s Reishel, on the other hand, had a rough go, getting dinged for a run on three hits in just over an inning.

John Darnley opened for the Falcons with a couple of solid innings, keeping Kennedy’s bats quiet with no hits and a handful of K’s. Anthony Wibert sealed the deal, nailing down the save and preserving the shutout.

Petridis and Carson Fuller were the stars at the plate, each snagging two hits. Petridis didn’t just hit; he drove in three runs to really push the Falcons ahead.

Fielding was on point for Austintown-Fitch—no errors and smooth plays all day. Jake Wallace was all over the field, racking up the most defensive plays with seven.

For Kennedy, Carfangia, Bartoe, and Ciambatti each managed to scrape a hit, but they just couldn’t string anything together. They did flash some leather with a double play, showing they could hang tight in the field despite the scoreboard pressure.

The Falcons combined fierce pitching, timely hitting, and tight defense to ensure Kennedy had a long day at the plate, cruising to a clean 5-0 win.


ALLIANCE, OH- The Baldwin Wallace University softball team clinched the Ohio Athletic Conference Tournament Championship with a 10-7 victory over Ohio Northern University, marking their first title since 2011. The Yellow Jackets, seeded third, secured the OAC’s automatic bid to the NCAA Division Tournament, while fourth-seeded Ohio Northern ended their season with a 24-20 record.

Among the standout players, local athletes Gillian Ryser (Hubbard), Lucia Wolford (McDonald), and Madison Lester (Boardman) made significant contributions throughout the tournament, earning spots on the All-Tournament Team. Their performances highlighted the local talent’s impact on the team’s success.

The game featured a high-scoring opening inning with BW notching six runs, sparked by Lucia Wolford’s first career home run, and continued to dominate with four more runs in the third inning. Madison Lester played a key role in keeping Ohio Northern at bay, pitching a solid third of an inning without allowing a run.

As BW moves onto the NCAA Tournament, all eyes will be on the selection show today at 11, with high hopes for continued success. Ryser, Wolford, and Lester not only represented their university but also their hometowns with distinction, underscoring the depth of talent in the local area.


Before the season started, softball fans speculated that the AAC would be one of the most talented conferences in the state of Ohio and now that the conference season has concluded, it didn’t disappoint.  Canfield and Austintown Fitch found themselves gridlocked at the top of the conference yet again.  Both teams took one game from the other with Fitch winning 5-0, and Canfield taking a 2-1 contest.  With the teams tied, the conference didn’t have to find a way to separate the two aces that have dominated the rest of the area. Malena Toth and Sydnie Watts would share conference player of the year for the second year in a row.  The rest of the conference honors were riddled with talent.  First team All AAC featured 5 Fitch players, and 4 from Canfield. Howland was able to devote 2 players on first team while Boardman added 1.




Kylie Folkwein

Ayla Ray

Sydnie Watts

Abby Toth

Kaliana Ray


Tori Strines


Malena Toth

Leah Figueroa

Jenna Triveri

Marina Koenig


Alyssa Massucci

Brooke Tatar


Azarrah Phillips



Morgan Roby

Samantha Severn


Alex Ward

Mikayla Rivera

Maddie Wymer


Sydney Lutz

Caylee Ortiz

Faith Morell


Maya Kubanscek

Madison Schmitz


Breasia Butler

Delano’s Riley