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Published: Thursday, 4/13/2006

Sidelines: A family tradition

BY STEVE JUNGA
BLADE SPORTS WRITER
Jason Moulton Jason Moulton
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It would not be a stretch to say that Jason Boomer Moulton was born to be a ballplayer.

The Start junior baseball standout was welcomed into the world by parents Mary and Steve Moulton on the morning of Jan. 22, 1989, the Sunday of Super Bowl XXIII between the Cincinnati Bengals and San Francisco 49ers.

Jason s nickname, which might just as well be his actual first name, comes from then Cincinnati quarterback Boomer Esiason.

Boomer Moulton, who does not play football, is one of the City League and the area s top baseball talents as a pitcher/third baseman for coach Rich Arbinger s Spartans.

He is also the latest and perhaps last Moulton with meaningful ties to the Start baseball program.

We were raised on baseball, Boomer joked. I ate baseballs for breakfast when I was little. I think my first word was ball, actually.

That bit of history was confirmed by his father.

My wife would take him to the grocery store, Steve recalled, and he would be sitting in that [shopping] cart. When they d get by the fruit stand, he d see an orange and reach out and say, ball.

Moulton Moulton
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By age 7, Boomer was playing on older brother Josh s 10-and-under team. He later played on highly successful 12-and-under and 14-and-under travel teams. His father helped coach, and the whole family traveled to watch.

My family is great to me, Boomer said. They always support me. They re at every game backing me up. I love them.

The Moulton name is pretty much synonymous with Start baseball, said Arbinger, who at 693-187 in his 31st season is nearing another career milestone. It started with Darrell Moulton [Boomer s grandfather]. He started the Sideliners [Start athletic booster club] and it s continued from there. Darrell still comes to our games. He s probably been coming to Bowman Park since this place was built. The Moulton family is pretty much a baseball family.

Darrell Moulton, 75, coached sons Steve and Todd on youth teams at Elmhurst Elementary prior to their successful careers at Start.

My dad came from a broken home and he didn t have the same opportunities to play ball when he was a kid, Steve Moulton said. He had to work. So, when he had his own family, he put everything he had into taking care of his kids.

Steve, 50, now a Start assistant coach, played for the Spartans in 1972-74. He earned All-City League first-team honors as an outfielder his junior year, and as a pitcher in 74. On the 73 Spartans, Steve pitched in a rotation with All-City aces Mike Rachuba and Jim Johnson as Start won a CL title, finished 21-3 overall, and lost to Struthers in a Class AAA regional final. Steve later pitched at the University of Toledo one season and three more at Newberry (S.C.) College.

Todd Moulton, Boomer s godfather, was a starting second baseman on Arbinger s pioneering 1987 Start squad, which finished as Class AAA staterunner-up.

Throughout those years, Darrell Moulton was busy following his boys exploits and raising funds with the Sideliners, for which he served as president. His support of the school s sports teams earned Darrell a spot in Start s athletic Hall of Fame.

Moulton Moulton
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Steve s older son, Josh Moulton, was a three-year starter (2001-03) for the Spartans as a pitcher/center fielder. He earned second-team All-City honors as a sophomore, and made the CL s first team hisjunior and senior seasons. In 2003 he shared league player of the year honors with Central Catholic s Ryne Robinson and Waite s David Quiroga. Start advanced to the Division I regional.

My brother is my biggest role model, Boomer said. I follow him, and he supports me. He s probably my biggest fan and I love him to death. We ve always had a special connection. He always took me along to play when I was little. I think he thought it would help me to play against better competition. I took in everything he said and just used it. It s working for me so far.

Josh Moulton is now in his second season at Northern Kentucky University, a Division II school from the Great Lakes Valley Conference. An outfielder, Josh led NKU in batting average last season and earned All-GLVC honors.

Boomer became a freshman starter at third base on Arbinger s 2004 varsity, and also pitched. Last season, he was pitching in the D-I state championship game a 3-0 loss to top-ranked powerhouse Cincinnati Elder (28-1) a week after he pitched Start to a 3-2 regional-final win over Lakewood St. Edward. In that regional game, the crafty sophomore outdueled St. Ed s hard-throwing, 6-9, 240-pound ace Scott Moviel.

The youngest Moulton ended 2005 at 7-2 with a 1.45 ERA, and batted .352 with 28 RBIs to make All-City first team at third base. In 2004, he was4-0 pitching and hit .358. This season, after pitching Start to a 5-3 win over Clay with a nine-strikeout five-hitter on Monday, Moulton is 3-0 with a 1.47 ERA. On April 5, Moulton tossed a three-hit shutout in a 1-0 win over St. John s Jesuit. Clay and St. John s are top CL title contenders this year along with St. Francis de Sales and Start. At the plate, Moulton is on a tear. Through eight games his batting average is above .600, helping the Spartans to a 7-1 start, 3-0 in CL play.

If there is one element to Boomer s game that may help him the most outside of raw ability and a work ethic learned from brother Josh it may be his poise on the field.

I guess it s just confidence, Boomer said. I ve been in big spots in big games in big tournaments when I was younger, and experience is a big part of the game. So is being mentally tough. It takes a cool head to win a hot game.

Arbinger saw that cool confidence show in last year s regional final, and in the state final, when his sophomore pitcher escaped two early jams with minimal damage against Elder.

I m sure [Boomer s poise] comes from his family, Arbinger said. His mom and dad have raised him the right way. They should be very proud of their whole family.

They both have always loved playing ball, Steve Moulton said of Josh and Boomer. I told them, let it get you to college somehow. I guess I m fortunate that they are both hard workers, and they love it. My dad never forced it on us, and I never forced it on them. We ve had a pretty good run here at Start. We all went pretty far here.

Contact Steve Junga at: sjunga@theblade.com or 419-724-6461.



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