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NTL BASEBALL: CANTON KEEPS THINGS ROLLING IN 2024 (2024-06-11)

BY CHRIS MANNING
Northern Tier Sports Report
Despite some roster turnover Canton baseball kept chugging along in 2024, repeating as NTL Small School champions before bowing out in districts against state semifinalists Wyalusing.

“I could not be more pleased with how our record ended up,” Canton coach Ben Rubert said. “We finished 15-6 with only one league loss and repeating as league champions. We had a group of kids who didn't have any quit in them. 13 of our 21 games were decided by 3-runs or less. We had big years offensivley out of seniors Hudson Ward and Cohen Landis. Mason Harold stepped up as a pitcher when we needed him to.”


The Warriors won six of their first seven games, beating Sayre (12-5), CV (5-4), NEB (10-2), Williamson (15-1), Towanda (11-1), and NPM (7-6).


After back to back walk-off losses to Munch (12-11) and Class A district champion Millville (8-7) they embarked on an 8-game win streak.


They kicked things off with a win over Troy (9-7) then finished off their sweep of small school opponents as they beat Sayre (13-11), CV (5-4), NEB (13-9), and Williamson (13-4).


They got the season sweep with Troy (9-8), then defeated Sullivan County (11-2) and Wellsboro (5-3).


Back to back losses to Wyalusing (4-2) and Montoursville (9-0) set them back but they finished things off strong with a win over Athens (9-6) to clinch a home playoff game.


Unfortunately for them, that match-up was with Wyalusing, who edged them out 4-3. It was the closest game the Rams played in the postseason until the state quarterfinals.


Holden Ward led the team at the plate and on the mound. He hit .435 with 21-RBI, 35 runs scored, eight doubles, four triples, and a home run. He went 7-1 on the mound with a 2.80 ERA, throwing 55 innings. He struck out 71 against 49 walks.


Hudson Ward hit .356 with 23-RBI, 32 runs scored, five doubles, and a home run, as Cohen Landis batted .328 with four doubles, and 19 runs scored. 


Ben Fitch also hit over .300 with a .328 average, 19-RBI, five doubles, and 14 runs scored. Freshman Bailey Gardner batted in 23 runs as Zach Colton drove in 24.


Colton came on strong in relief for the Warriors with a 2.08 ERA in 37-innings. He finished with 25 strikeouts against 12 walks.


Also on the mound, Mason Harold tossed 20 1/3-innings with 20 strikeouts, while Hudson Ward tossed 19 1/3-innings with 26 strikeouts.


Once again they’ll have to replace some strong seniors in Hudson Ward, Landis, and Harold, but Rubert is confident that they can keep the Canton train going.


“We have a strong core returning who are looking to repeat the success we have had the past two seasons,” he said. “We will be bringing back Holden Ward and Zach Colton who pitched a majority of our innings this year. We also return Michael Beers, Bailey Gardner, and Ben Fitch, all who contributed offensively.  We have a lot of younger guys who may not have seen the varsity field much but certainly improved over the JV season to where I am confident that they can step into a varsity role next year. I believe the biggest take away from this season is that all of the returning players know what it takes to have a quality season and we are looking forward to doing it all again.”



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