WARREN, Ohio (WKBN) – The Warren JFK baseball team has made the state final four for the first time in program history. With just one senior and three juniors on the team, the Eagles have heavily relied on their younger players throughout the season.
“Well, our younger players, we kind of threw them into the water to see if they could swim and they’ve done a good job,” said head coach Jim Ciambotti. “Even though they’re young, they’ve come from a lot of travel situations at a young age, but they’ve really stepped up and produced when called upon.”
Six of the 11 players on the Eagles’ roster are freshmen, all of whom have bought into the team’s culture and systems since day one.
“They just fit right in,” Ciambotti said. We try to establish a culture here the first year and all the kids took to it and listened. They were good with instruction and just took off from there.”
The Eagles were slated to play Fort Loramie in the state semifinals on Friday, but the game was pushed back to Saturday due to expected rain.
“For it to be over a week since our last game, you just want to keep playing, especially if you’re on a roll as a team,” said freshman Caleb Hadley. “It’s good to keep playing. I mean, it is what it is. You just have to go out and win no matter what, so.”
While it is their first trip to the state final four, the Eagles are treating it like any other game.
“It really isn’t a normal game because it’s a big game,” Hadley added. “It just is, but you have to treat it just as another game. Everyone knows how to play. Just have to go out and play and make the plays, you know, how to make and hit the ball. You just have to do everything you would normally do to win.”
The Eagles (19-6) play Fort Loramie (27-3) in the state semifinals this Saturday at 1 p.m. at Canal Park in Akron.