The Wildcats are firing on all cylinders early in the season, in every aspect of the game.
The offense exploded for 14 runs in two games, the pitching held two strong lineups to just 2 runs and 7 hits, and the fielding proved to be nearly mistake-free.
The result? Two great weekend wins for the men of Brad Ganor – a 10-2 victory over Massillon Washington on Friday and a 4-0 win over Brunswick on Saturday.
With the wins, the Wildcats now stand at 5-2 in the young season. This promising and hungry squad appears poised to make the 2019 campaign one for the ages.
Friday: Saint Ignatius 10, Massillon Washington 2
The Wildcats' home opener on Friday at Baldwin Wallace University's Fisher Field started as a close pitcher's duel and ended as a laugher.
With an MLB scout in the stands taking in the game, the Wildcats and Tigers duked it out early on. The first two innings produced no runs in a hitless affair.
Massillon Washington opened the scoring in the top of the third. Robbie Page tabbed a 2-run double for the Tigers to pop a 2-0 lead for the visitors.
The lead appeared to be formidable with Jonathan Machamer on the mound. The South Carolina commit looked dominant with a strong repertoire and solid command. But the Wildcats broke the no-hitter in the bottom of the fourth and hung a crooked number on the scoreboard. Matt Geraci reached on an error and traveled around the bases. He reached second by balk, third by a steal, and home via a throwing error by the catcher.
The Baseball Cats did not score again in the fourth, but did make Machamer work. The Tigers coaching staff took him out of the game after four innings after Machamer needed 24 pitches to get through the fourth.
From there on out, the Wildcats' offense had the Tigers' number. The Wildcats tied the game in the fifth, as AJ Gaich stole second and third before tapping the plate due to another throwing error by the catcher.
Luke Lashutka also gave the Wildcats time to work. The 6'1 junior righty gave the team five strong innings, allowing just 2 runs on 4 hits while striking out 8 batters. Sam LaGuardia entered the game in the sixth and quickly mowed down three Tigers, needing just 10 pitches to strike out two and induce a flyout.
The bottom of the sixth broke the game wide open in favor of the Wildcats.
The fun started with 1 out in the inning. Austin Jones, Leo Eyink, and Jake Lang all singled, loading the bases. Pinch-runner Jack Whelan scored on a passed ball, and then Nick Fletcher then walked to load the bases again. Enter AJ Gaich.
The senior captain broke things wide open with a momentous bases-clearing triple. Gaich's clutch hit set the score at 6-2, at least temporarily. In the next at-bat, Michael McNamara walked, leaving two ducks on the pond for Michael Holdsworth. The Nebraska commit blasted a triple to right field, plating two more runs.
Matt Ferritto and Lang each tabbed RBI singles to cap off the scoring in the sixth. When the dust settled, the sun was starting to disappear and the Wildcats held full control of the game with a 10-2 lead.
Teddy Eyink took the mound for the seventh and finished off the visitors. Eyink needed just 13 pitches to cement the win, credited to LaGuardia on the mound, his first of the year.
Saturday: Saint Ignatius 4, Brunswick 0
In 2017 and 2018, the Blue Devils handed the Wildcats big losses – 15-4 in 2017 and 21-8 in 2018.
That did not stop the Wildcats from making a great pregame gesture.
A beloved member of the Brunswick community, Josh Herron, was recently dealt a major setback after his immunotherapy treatment. The Brunswick grad and baseball coach is a 3-time cancer survivor and a true warrior. To honor Herron, the Wildcats held cards reading "#JoshStrong" in a show of support for his cancer battle. The Saint Ignatius community is praying for Josh and his family as he continues his brave battle to beat cancer.
The game shaped up to be a well-played contest on an absolutely gorgeous spring day in Berea.
The Wildcats and Blue Devils played a nearly mistake-free ballgame, with just one combined error. The pitching on both sides was also outstanding.
The hosts struck first, courtesy of a Holdsworth single to center in the first. McNamara scored from second after doubling to left in the previous at-bat.
The Wildcats plated the final 3 runs of the game in the bottom frame of the fourth. Flynn Lenahan walked and Geraci singled to start the festivities. Fletcher laid down a marvelous sacrifice bunt to set the table for Jones. The Wildcats' catcher took care of business, doubling to left to score both Lenahan and Geraci. Lang finished off the scoring with a single right down broadway to plate Matt Giberti, the courtesy runner for Jones.
The margin was plenty for Geraci, the Wildcats' outstanding starter. The righty surrendered just 2 hits in 5 1/3 innings, fanning five and walking two. Geraci has not allowed a run this season.
LaGuardia and Ferritto finished off the shutout with the final five outs. The seniors needed just 17 pitches to do the trick, allowing just 1 hit in the process.
"I was just trying to go out there and pound the zone and make them hit it. I have a great defense behind me, and I knew they would make plays for me," Geraci said after the win. "At the plate, I was just trying to look for my pitch and take whatever the pitcher gives me."
With the win, the Wildcats advance to 5-2, but won't bask in the glow of the win for long. The Baseball Cats have a busy week ahead with three games. The one circled on everyone's calendar is Tuesday's matchup – a tilt with the rival St. Edward Eagles at Avon's Sprenger Stadium, home of the Crushers and the Eagles.
On Friday, the Wildcats will host North Canton Hoover at BW before Saturday's road trip to Columbus to face Olentangy Orange. Tuesday's and Friday's games will be broadcasted on the SIBN.