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Baseball Cats Chalk Up Statement Wins over Strongsville, St. Edward

By Jack O'Rourke '20, 04/23/19, 5:00PM EDT


Luke Lashutka and Nick Fletcher shine in home game starts

One of the best baseball teams under longtime head coach Brad Ganor has continued its great play, as the squad won two big games this past week against rivals Strongsville and St. Edward.

The Wildcats’ offense exploded versus Strongsville in the second inning for five runs, and Luke LaShutka held his end of the bargain in a 9-1 stomping of the Mustangs.

In the second, Matt Geraci led off with a single, Danny Castenir reached base, and Nick Fletcher hit an RBI single to bring home the senior captain Geraci. Fletcher would drive in another run later in the game, stole two bases, and went 3-4 at the plate.

AJ Gaich hit a single which scored Castenir, before Michael McNamara drew a key walk. Michael Holdsworth hit an any-league triple to clear the basepaths.

Erik Daugenti also brought home a runner on a fielder’s choice in the third en route to an eventual 9-1 win.

Junior Luke Lashutka struck out the first batter of the game, and the Mustangs did not fare much better from that point on, as Lashutka and the Saint Ignatius bullpen combined for a one run performance. Lashutka would add a great starter for Terry Francona’s Indians, and I’m sure Tito wouldn’t mind having Sam LaGuardia and Teddy Eyink in the bullpen.

AJ Gaich also made history on Saturday. The senior took possession of the school’s all-time steals record with a nice swipe of second early in the game. Gaich surpasses the previous leader, Frank DeSico, who starred at Notre Dame. Congrats to AJ on an awesome achievement.

The Wildcats beat rival Saint Edward for the second time this season in exciting fashion on Easter Monday.

Nick Fletcher toed the rubber with battery-mate Mac Boyle behind the plate. The Class of 2016 Gesu Bulldog friends would play a major role in this game.

After an early infield single in the first inning, Fletcher responded by striking out the Eagles’ No. 3 and No. 4 hitters to end the top half of the opening inning. Michael Holdsworth responded with a hit of his own in the bottom of the first, but the Wildcats couldn’t find the scoreboard.

Fletcher made quick work of the Eagles on nine pitches in the top of the second, and found another strikeout victim along the way. Matt Ferritto and Boyle found their way on base in the bottom of the second, but Eagle ace Joe Horoszko prevented the Wildcats from drawing first blood.

Fletcher posted his second consecutive 1-2-3 inning in the third, and sent down his 4th victim via the strikeout, while Geraci and Michael Holdsworth caught pop-ups. Michael McNamara reached on an error, and Holdsworth nailed a triple to right-center and McNamara thundered home. That run would be all Nick Fletcher needed on this sunny afternoon.

Only twelve pitches were needed from Fletcher, as Geraci and Daugenti caught fly balls, and Gaich made an athletic play in the infield as well. Flynn Lenehan took a ball to the opposite field in the fourth inning, but nothing would come of it.

Fletcher had a 4th straight 1-2-3 inning in the fifth as he retired a fifth batter with a strikeout, as mundane as it may seem, Fletcher worked quickly and made easy work through five. Gaich singled, and after the pitcher threw over to first five times, Gaich eventually stole a bag, but the Cats were not to capitalize.

Fletcher would go on to strike out the first two batters of the sixth inning, before allowing a hit. A legend at the helm of the Wildcat baseball squad, Coach Ganor would come out to tell Fletcher he had an excellent day. Fletcher finished with 5 and ⅔ innings pitched, allowing 2 hits and striking out 7.

Sam LaGuardia paced out from the bullpen, and put on a performance of his own. The senior leader and an all-around great guy was tasked with making sure a runner on third didn’t score, after he threw 3 straight balls.

LaGuardia, facing a 3-0 count, battled himself back, getting two strikes, before three foul balls, and finally LaGuardia dropped a breaking ball into the zone, and sent the batter back to the dugout looking. LaGuardia, as calm as typical, trotted back to the dugout, having done what we knew he would the whole time.

Matt Geraci singled, Flynn Lenehan bunted him into scoring position, and catcher Mac Boyle knocked an insurance run into the outfield.

A ground out to Ferritto that LaGuardia made an athletic reach for, a strikeout, and a line out to McNamara secured the Wildcat winner, 2-0.

JV & Freshmen Cats complete sweep

Both the JV Cats and the Freshmen Cats upended the Eagles on Monday, too.

The JV Cats squeaked out a 3-1 victory over St. Edward. Aidan Cooney and Noah Brazytis provided RBIs, while Gabe Nard and Nick Zarbo combined to hold the Eagles to 1 run on 7 hits, striking out 7. 

With the win, the JV Cats stand at 9-4 on the year entering Tuesday's contest vs. Chagrin Falls at Bohlken Park.

Meanwhile, the Freshmen Cats smoked the Eagles. Austyn Kazmierczak led the way with a 3-for-3 day at the plate with an RBI, while Billy Adams, Ryan Boomer, Eddie Musbach, and Brendan Hunt all provided multiple RBIs. Brandon Uzi and Michael Griffith combined to hold the Eagles to just one hit, striking out seven. 

The 10-3 Freshmen Cats return to action on Wednesday, facing the Bay Rockets.