On a beautiful Tuesday afternoon, the Saint Ignatius varsity baseball team visited the Saint Edward Eagles at Sprenger Stadium in Avon (home of the Lake Erie Crushers).
From start to finish, the Baseball Cats dominated, handing the Eagles a 12-0 run-rule loss after six innings.
The top of the first started strong with highlights such as Michael Holdsworth's 2-out blast to knock in 2 runs. To follow, Austin Jones hit a stand up double to score Holdsworth and make it 3-0 Cats heading into the bottom half of the first.
"It was nice to score first, that's always important," said head coach Brad Ganor. "In a rivalry game, it always makes you breathe a little easier. Scoring three is even better."
Andrew Mulhern was on the mound for the Wildcats. The senior struggled early on, allowing two runners on with one out. But senior captain AJ Gaich made a nice falling back pick and Michael McNamara snagged a pop out to strand both runners.
"Mulhern did a great job. He got out of that jam well," Ganor said. "If they would have scored in the first inning, the game might have taken a different route. But he got out of it, which was huge. He was really in control the entire game and kept them off balance."
The second and third innings were quick ones for both teams, as neither team allowed any runs, keeping the score at 3-0 Wildcats. In the fourth inning, the Wildcats turned a clean 6-4-3 double play to keep the game rolling with the score the same.
The fifth inning was a big one for the Wildcats. It all started with leadoff double for Erik Daugenti. Next came a big double by Gaich to boost the score to 4-0. Catcher Austin Jones then drilled a long RBI single to add another run to make it 5-0. And the Cats weren’t done yet.
The Wildcats’ No. 5 hitter, Matt Geraci, singled to move Jones over. Pinch hitter Flynn Lenahan hit a double to knock in Jack Whelan (pinchrunning for Jones) to set the score at 6-0. Jake Lang finished off the 5-running inning, hitting a hard liner to center to score Geraci and Lenahan. Lang was thrown out trying to stretch a single into a double, but the Wildcats still held a nice 8-0 lead heading into the bottom of the fifth.
"We had some clutch hits. Austin's double to drive in a run was kind of the backbreaker. We piled on from there," Ganor said. "One of the great takeaways from the game is that we had three 0-2 hits, two of them were doubles. That's big when you can do it, because it's demoralizing to a pitcher to have two strikes and allow a hit. Our guys are playing with a lot of confidence right now."
Mulhern enjoyed a quick bottom of the inning, notching his fourth strikeout to end the fifth at 8-0.
The sixth and final inning for this game was another good one for the Cats’ bats. Nick Fletcher led off with a single, followed by a Daugenti walk. Gaich came up in the clutch yet again, drilling a triple to knock in two more runs. McNamara then walked to add another duck on the pond for fellow Division I commit Michael Holdsworth. The Nebraska commit tapped a single to center, tabbing an RBI after his blast up the middle scored Gaich. Jones walked after a pitching change for the Eagles, and pinch hitter Danny Castenir cleared McNamara from the bags by hitting a single to right. The rally ended with the Wildcats in full command, 12-0.
The Eagles started to threaten in the sixth, placing two on with one out. With runners on second and third, an Eagle flied out to center on an apparent sacrifice fly. But Daugenti had other plans. The junior rocketed a throw to the plate and Jones applied the tag to the St. Edward runner. The umpire called the Eagle out, effectively ending the game due to run-rule. The Wildcats walked away with a very satisfying 12-0 win.
"We could have walked away with a 12-1 win, but for Daugenti to come up with the big throw and Austin receiving it and putting the tag on it was great, because it takes two to tango in that situation. He got himself in a great position to make the throw home. He put it right on the money and Austin handled it and put the tag down. It was a great way to end a game. You usually don't see a game end with a play at the plate very much. It was exciting, and our guys were excited for the game to end that way. Ending it at 12-1 would have been just fine too with a flyout or a groundball or whatever. To end it on a double play at the plate was pretty cool."
The Wildcats now have two days off before returning to action on Friday. The Cats will host North Canton Hoover at Baldwin Wallace for a 5 pm contest.
JV falls to Eagles, Freshmen Cats roll to victory
The Wildcats split the other two matchups with the Eagles. The JV Cats dropped an 8-3 decision, while the Freshmen Cats cruised to a 16-2 victory over the Eagles in five innings.