Cardinal Mooney Looks To Improve On 2-6 Mark A Season Ago Second-Year Head Coach Carl Pelini Cautiously Optimistic

Cardinal Mooney Looks To Improve On 2-6 Mark A Season Ago Second-Year Head Coach Carl Pelini Cautiously Optimistic

A season ago, Carl Pelini assumed the head coaching reins at his alma mater, Cardinal Mooney, the day before doubles were set to begin.

With a full season and entire off-season now under his belt, he is cautiously optimistic that the 2021 campaign can be the one that turns one of the Mahoning Valley’s most storied programs around and pointed in the right direction.

CMHS posted an un-Cardinals-like 2-6 overall mark last year but went 1-1 in the play-offs during a challenging, COVID-19 pandemic-type season that included everything from social distancing fans to a shortened regular season to every team qualifying for post-season play.

“We grew but since I didn’t take the job until the day before doubles, I felt like we were playing catch up all year,” Pelini said. “We were in the play-offs still installing offense and defense but this year has been completely different.

“We’ve had last year as a foundation to build off, had the kids in the weight room since November so I think we’re bigger, stronger, a little bit faster and have just a little more culture in the program. “We were able to talk football with them all summer so we are weeks, weeks, maybe months ahead of where we were a year ago in terms of understanding our schemes, both offensively and defensively. Hopefully, that translates to more success on the field.”

The Cardinals started the season 0-2 a year ago before defeating East, 7-0 for their initial win under Pelini. They finished the regular season with losses to Chaney, Boardman and Ursuline before drubbing Conneaut, 44-7 in the opening round of the play-offs.

A heartbreaking 24-21 loss to the Garrettsville Garfield G-Men in the second-round of the play-offs brought their season to a screeching halt but at the same time had both coaches and players alike already casting an eye toward the ’21 campaign.

Under Pelini, the Cardinals will run a multiple offense with a lot of personnel groupings and different sets while defensively, it’s a 42 or 43 depending on personnel. Two juniors, Cam Sweeney and Alec Delsignore, and sophomore Ashton O’Brien are currently in a battle for the starting signal caller slot. Only Delsignore has game experience having rushed the ball twice a season ago for 12 total yards.

“Right now, nobody has the upper hand,” Pelini said last week prior to their final scrimmage. “They are all doing good things with our last scrimmage a big determining factor in who starts against Boardman in our season opener. I do believe we’ll narrow it down to two and both will see some time early in the season.” Zy’ere Rogers, the Cardinals’ all-purpose running back the past three seasons, returns for his senior year looking to improve on his 1,189 yards rushing and seven touchdowns of a season ago.

“Zy’ere had a great off-season and we’re excited about him returning this season,” Pelini stated. “Davontae Miller is another running back with a lot of experience who has really looked good in camp. “Then we have a couple of young kids, Jamar Howell and John Jones, not a lot of experience but both with a lot of ability and that will give us something in the run game. Daqua Douglas as a fullback will be splitting time with Davontae [Miller] and he has looked good in the pre-season as well. The wide receivers and tight ends could be a strength for the team this season.

“Senior Jack Phillips was hurt a year ago but he’s tall, he’s fast, he’s long, has great hands and has had a tremendous pre-season,” Pelini noted. “Tyrin Howell is a completely different type of receiver, a little quicker, smaller and likes to work over the middle so we will be able to use him in a lot of different ways.

“We’re really deep at tight end which is something that I didn’t have the luxury of a year ago. We’ve got Jeff Brenner, Rob Hardy, Will Desmond and Carter Simons and all will see time.” The offensive line has depth, which pleases Pelini.

“The offensive line is probably the strength of our team,” Pelini said. “Both of our tackles, Tino Merlo and Adam Garloch played a lot a year ago. Adam played as a freshman, both are juniors and both have great size. “At center, Jack Desmond started every game last year, Mitch Tofil has a lot of experience at right guard and at the other guard position, there’s a competition going on right now between Michael Kaufman, Caleb Beachum and Logan Boyd so we are building some pretty decent depth on the offensive line.”

Defensively, Jack Desmond, Will Desmond and Brenner will see time while at tackle, Garloch and Merlo will be joined by Isiah Givens and Beachum. “Our linebackers are all back,” added Pelini. “Davontae [Miller] had a great season a year ago and was one of our leading tacklers. Daqua Douglas started every game for us last year as well. Rob [Hardy] and Jamar [Howell] stepped in and are giving us good depth as well as Logan [Boyd], who can play multiple positions.”

The defensive backfield also has depth and experience. “Right now, there’s still some competition going on but Tyrin Howell is at one corner,” Pelini stated. “He started every game he was in last year but was a transfer so he only played the first half of the season. A new starter on the other side, Brandon Lott, played a lot last year, had a great off-season and we expect great things from him. “At safety, Jack Phillips and Ty Reali are very athletic and should give us depth there.”

Special teams play has Nick Pregibon pegged as the team’s punter. “Nick Pregibon is a sophomore soccer player,” Pelini noted. “He has a strong leg, is very accurate and I am excited about him. Punting duties are still up in the air so we will see how that rolls out.

“Zy’ere [Rogers] will be back there returning punts along with Tyrin Howell and Jamar Howell, both of whom will see duties as returners.”  The Cardinals play their first three games on the road, opening at Boardman on Friday night before traveling to Hubbard (August 27) and Chaney (September 3).

They will host Linsly (Wheeling, West Virginia) in their home opener on September 11 and follow that with a home contest against Austintown Fitch (September 17) before hitting the road to take on East (September 24) and Brush (October 1). They will conclude their season at home against Warren Harding (October 9), travel to Steubenville (October 15) then host arch-rival Ursuline (October 23) in their regular season finale.

“It’s always hard when you’re a Division V school and you’re playing Division II opponents,” Pelini said. “We’ve got Boardman and Austintown Fitch on the schedule, two big schools, Brush is on the schedule and we go down to Steubenville, which is always going to be a difficult task.

“Linsly, a private boarding school, is a new opponent this year and that will be a tough game. Ursuline is a strong team again this year and we will finish the season with them. It is going to be a challenge but that is who we are. We’re not going to back down from anybody. We’ll play everybody and do our best to see how it turns out.”

One thing new for the Cardinals’ program is a new home field as they move from YSU’s Stambaugh Stadium to nearby Mineral Ridge High School. “We thought we’d give it a chance and I am excited,” Pelini said about their new home field. “Playing in YSU stadium, I kind of felt like I as in a vacuum. There wasn’t a lot of atmosphere and the crowd was spread out.

“I think going to a smaller stadium will just create more of a high school atmosphere. I am excited to get fans closer to the field, bring the noise level up and I think it will be good for everybody. “We said we would do it for a year, looked at a lot of different places, decided on Mineral Ridge and we’ll see how it goes. We’ll evaluate at the end of the year and see what we will do moving forward.”

Kickoff against the Spartans is set for 7 p.m.

This article was republished here with permission from the Boardman News.

FOG-50 Squad Tops Niles For 11th Straight Victory As Mike Glinatsis Pitches Complete Game, 4-Hitter

FOG-50 Squad Tops Niles For 11th Straight Victory As Mike Glinatsis Pitches Complete Game, 4-Hitter

Mike Glinatsis fired a complete game, four-hitter while player-manager Jon Wallace had two hits, including the game-winner as the Boardman FOG defeated Niles RJS, 2-1 in Youngstown Oldtimers 50+ Baseball League, Inc., 50+ league action this past Sunday at Boardman High School.

The win marked the 11th straight for the FOG, who have not lost since May 30 when Chester (West Virginia) handed them an 8-1 setback and an 0-2 start to their season.

Siting at 11-2 overall now, Glinatsis allowed just one hit – a two-out single by Tom Pitko in the sixth inning – over the last five innings in a game that he needed just 83 pitches to complete. “I struggled earlier in the season to get that first batter of every inning retired but today it all came together for me and I felt really, really good. That was the key,” Glinatsis said after the game. “Our defense was phenomenal, turning three double plays including a game-ending twin killing.

“Today, we came up big when we needed it most, took advantage of our early opportunities and then let our defense do the rest. You win when you do the little things and today we were fundamentally sound.”

Chuck Nardone led off Boardman’s first inning with a single, advanced to second base when Mark Gozur reached on an error and after Nardone was erased on Cedric Hawkins’ fielder’s choice, Carmen Nocera drove home Gozur with his opposite field single for the early 1-0 advantage.

In the RJS second inning, Mike Holisky reached on an error to start the frame, moved to second on Ed Mortimer’s single then loaded the bases on Tom Franken’s single. Ron Mortimer then followed by hitting into a twin killing, scoring Holisky to knot the game at 1-all.

The FOG took the lead back for good in their half of the second when Butch Angelucci led off with a walk, advanced to second base on Mark Cherol’s ground out then scored what turned out to be the game winning run, a single by Wallace to the opposite field for a 2-1 margin and the end of the scoring.

“I hit a curve on a ball that was low and away and on an 0-2 count,” Wallace added. “RJS is an excellent team and we knew that it would be a tight game. They are an excellent hitting team and Mike [Glinatsis] did one excellent job the entire time of keeping them off balance when they were in the batter’s box.

“When you turn three double plays, including one to end the game then that tells me our defense is playing their very best and at the right time as we are in the home stretch of our schedule with play-offs right around the corner.”

Boardman returns to action on Sunday when they play host to Salem at the Boardman High School Sports Complex. First pitch is slated for 2 p.m.
Sunday, August 15 – CHESTER, 2 p.m.
Sunday, August 29 – GIRARD, 2 p.m.
Sunday, September 5 – vs. RJS @Boardman Field of Dreams, 2 p.m

This article was republished here with permission from the Boardman News.

The Valley’s Five World Boxing Champs Will Be Honored Aug. 13 Free Event At Amphitheater

The Valley’s Five World Boxing Champs Will Be Honored Aug. 13 Free Event At Amphitheater

With boxing interest seemingly waning in the area, former Boardman resident Lou Schiavoni and son, Joe, will be hosting a “Night of Champions” salute on Friday, August 13 at the Downtown Amphitheater that will honor the Mahoning Valley’s five world champion fighters. It is a show that has been in the works for several years.

“Joe and I love boxing and interest seems to have waned a bit in our area,” said Lou, a Cardinal Mooney High School graduate and former Golden Gloves champion. “We’re trying to bring boxing interest back and when you look at the many great fighters that hail from the Mahoning Valley, it truly is amazing we have five world champions.

“These aren’t minor belts won, but belts from the big three which is the IBF, WBA and WBC. All five boxers have committed to attend and in addition to the Covelli Centre along with Premier Bank helping with this community day, seed money was provided by the New Orleans law firm Peiffer, Wolf, Carr, Kane and Conway as they look to branch out to Youngstown.”

The five world champions to be honored include (listed alphabetically) lightweight champion Harry Arroyo (40-11-0), cruiserweight titlist Jeff ‘Prime Time’ Lampkin (39-19-1), lightweight champion Ray ‘Boom-Boom’ Mancini (29-5-0), middleweight champ Kelly ‘The Ghost’ Pavlik (40-2-0) and bantamweight titlist Greg ‘The Flea’ Richardson (31-8-1).

Also set to be introduced is local Junior Olympic gold medalist Zion Hensley, currently the top-ranked 90-pound female fighter in the United States. “Our city is tough. For generations, the people of the Mahoning Valley have fought for everything we have,” added Judge Joe Schiavoni, who won a novice title in the last Golden Gloves event ever held in the area at the Struthers Field House. “Five guys from Youngstown have made it to the top of the toughest sport in the world and it is time that their accomplishments are celebrated.”

Videos of each fighter, compiled by Jim Fogarty of Warren, will be shown with Bob Hannon set to moderate the opening and a question and answer session afterwards. Noted local boxing trainer Jack Loew will close the show.

“Boxing in the Mahoning Valley is slowing down so to see Lou and Joe put on a night like this, honoring our five local world champions, hopefully it will kick-start some shows in the area,” stated Tom Miller, former international boxing judge.

Lampkin, who hails from Youngstown’s east side, is currently 59-years-old. “Youngstown is and always has been a special place for boxing,” he noted. “The fact that all five world champions will be honored, while a pleasant surprise is truly humbling for me.”

Mancini, who was raised on Youngstown’s south side, is also looking forward to the event. “I am very honored to be part of such a special event,” he said. “Recognizing the accomplishments of the five world champions from our city is a night we will all remember.”
Pavlik, also a south side native, is currently in Las Vegas but will return in plenty of time for the event. “I think it is a great thing because it brings attention to every world champion from our city,” he added.

“The odds of becoming a world champion are slim so to have five world champions from a city our size is quite an accomplishment. It will be an exciting evening.” Richardson, who is 63-years-old, was the bantamweight champion from February 25, 1991, to September 19, 1991.

“This is big to me,” Richardson stated. “I was a national champion in the amateurs but the goal was always to become a world champion and I was able to accomplish that during my career. I truly am humbled and definitely looking forward to spending time with everyone that evening.”

Eric Ryan, Covelli Centre president, has always been a big boxing fan and has followed the accomplishments of all five world champions over the years. “Youngstown boxing history is something we are all proud of and to have all these champions on one stage at the same time will be very special,” Ryan noted. “I thank Lou and Joe for spearheading this event and making this special night as reality.”

The event, which begins at 8 p.m., is free and open to the public. Gates open at 7 p.m.

This article was republished here with permission from the Boardman News.

The Handshake of the Century is here to stay

The Handshake of the Century is here to stay

PICTURED: ON HAND FOR DEDICATION CEREMONIES of the Handshake For A Century statue last Saturday at Wean Park in downtown Youngstown were from left, County Court Judge Joe Schiavoni, First Ward Councilman Julius Oliver, and legendary Youngstown Vindicator reporter Ernie Brown Jr. and noted local sports writer and former Youngstown State University sports information director Greg Gulas. Brown, Gulas and Herb Washington, all from Boardman, served as tri-chairs of the campaign to erect the statue.



For the past 23 months, I had the golden opportunity to serve as one of the chairs for the Shuba-Robinson statue project, watching everything unfold beginning in August 2019 then coming to fruition last Saturday when this marvelous “A Handshake for the Century” statue was dedicated in Wean Park, adjacent to the Covelli Centre in downtown Youngstown.

Serving as a tri-chair with two other Boardman residents, legendary local reporter Ernie Brown Jr. and former Major League baseball player Herb Washington of the Oakland Athletics, was both a learning and teaching experience for all of us.

We continually imparted our mission to anyone who would listen, not only talking about the accomplishments of Jackie Robinson, professional baseball’s first black player, but also the significance of Youngstown’s native son, George ‘Shotgun’ Shuba, the on-deck batter for the Montreal Royals who extended his hand at home plate to shake Jackie’s after his first professional hit, a home run against the Jersey City Giants on April 18, 1946.

The driving force behind the commemorative statue was Youngstown native and Cardinal Mooney High School graduate, Eric Planey.
It was during a visit to Washington, D.C. for work in 2014 when Planey had just enough time to visit his brother, Michael, at his niece Violet’s softball practice, which was located not too far from Reagan Airport in Virginia.

That was when Violet’s pitching coach, a Youngstown native who grew up just a few doors down from Shuba, informed Planey of the important role that Shotgun Shuba played in professional baseball. When he returned that evening to his apartment in Brooklyn, Planey learned from the internet about the great ‘Handshake Moment’ and it was then that a multi-year journey began to honor the Shotgun. With the help of friends Julius Oliver, Mike Garvey and Dr. Lou Zona, work began to build this statue.

A committee, known as ‘The Bullpen,’ was formed with everyone’s role to help fundraise, impart the word about the importance of the handshake moment and hopefully the lofty $450,000 goal would be achieved..

In addition to the chairs, the committee included Patricia Brozik, Mark Butta, Tim Callion, Nick Chretian, Ray Klempay, Derrick McDowell, Julius Oliver, Tony Paglia, Dan Pecchia, Planey, Judge Joseph Schiavoni, Kate Spires and Dr. Robin Woodberry.

Special advisors included Storm Kirschenbaum, Shuba’s son, Michael and Dr. Zona, the highly regarded executive director of the Butler Institute of American Art and Museum, who recommended noted sculpture artist, Marc Mellon of Connecticut as the commissioned artist. The general contractor, who worked hand in hand with other area contractors, was Brock Construction Co. The first donation was $10 with the second $50,000 from the Youngstown Foundation.

Despite negotiating a once in a lifetime pandemic, platinum donations arrived from the Marie Lamfrom Charitable Foundation in Oregon, gold donations came from the Youngstown Foundation and Washington’s McDonald’s of Mahoning Valley and Western Pennsylvania while silver donations were accepted from the J. Ford Crandall Memorial Foundation, Community Foundation of the Mahoning Valley, Mahoning Valley Sports Charities, the Family of George Shuba, Rotary Club of Youngstown, Premier Bank Foundation, John D. Finnegan Foundation, Pecchia Communications LLC, BSHM Architects, Inc. and IBEW Locals 64 & 573, MV NECA.

The statue Mellon crafted weighed approximately 2,000 pounds, was cast in bronze with internal stainless steel supports and was cast at Bedi-Makky Art Foundry in Brooklyn, New York.

The statue site was designed by Kate Spires of BSHM Architects and was meant to pay homage to the small baseball stadiums everyone visited as kids. Seating was constructed with the intention of promoting conversation and dialogue on issues of equality.

Shuba, who was also the very first National League player ever to hit a home run in the World Series – Yogi Berra of the New York Yankees was the first to do so, that coming on October 2, 1947, Johnny Mize of the Yankees was second on October 3, 1952 with Shuba’s coming on September 30, 1953 off the Yankees’ Allie Reynolds – passed away on September 29, 2014 at age 89.

A humble man who along with wife, Kathryn, raised three children on the city’s West Side – in addition to son Michael, there are daughters Mary Kay and Marlene and their families – Shuba would probably never have wanted a statue erected on his behalf, whether it was with Robinson or just by himself.

The ultimate takeaway from George’s handshake with Robinson 75 years ago is that we are all on the same team, whether it is baseball or in life and when you do the right thing for your teammate or fellow man, good things tend to happen.

This article was republished here with permission from the Boardman News.