After the Wildcats lost to Walsh Jesuit on Monday, marking the team's fourth straight defeat, Head Coach Brad Ganor delivered a warning.
'Come ready to run tomorrow. You're going to run until you puke.'
His warning, a la Herb Brooks in Miracle, turned out to be hollow.
Instead, Ganor opted to break the funk with fun. The Baseball Cats played wiffleball on Tuesday in lieu of running.
The tactic worked on Wednesday. A confident and relaxed Saint Ignatius baseball team took the field against Willoughby South. Playing loose, the Wildcats plated 7 runs in the first inning and never looked back in a 10-0 run-rule win over the Rebels.
Starter Nick Fletcher opened the game by striking out the side in the top of the first, and the offense did the rest in the bottom half of the frame. Utilizing a patient approach, AJ Gaich and Jack Whelan walked, before Michael Holdsworth loaded the bases with a single to right. McNamara then drew a 5-pitch walk, starting the scoring bonanza.
Flynn Lenahan, Matt Geraci, and Jake Lang tallied back-to-back-to-back RBI singles, finding holes in South's defense to advance the lead to 4-0. Mac Boyle did his job at the plate next, grounding out to first to score Geraci. Erik Daugenti did the same a batter later, scoring Lang on a groundout to short, finalizing a 7-run first frame.
Fletcher cruised through the second, third, and fourth, allowing his first hit of the game in the fourth frame. In the process, Fletcher struck out two more batters.
The Wildcats tabbed another run in the fourth. After back-to-back singles by Holdsworth and McNamara to start the inning, Lenahan delivered again. The senior, headed for Case Western Reserve University in the fall, scored Holdsworth on a line drive single to left.
Gabe Nard entered the game in the fifth. The freshman's fastball wowed teammates and fans, reaching 87 miles per hour. Nard struck out two and induced a lineout to keep the Wildcats ahead 8-0.
The hosts finished off South in the fifth. Mac Boyle singled to start the inning, reaching third on a throwing error to start off the inning. Pinch-runner Matt Giberti then scored a sacrificed fly to left by Daugenti. After a fly out, Jack Whelan beat out an infield single with 2 outs. Whelan stole second, giving Holdsworth a chance to win the game. The senior didn't disappoint, plating Whelan on a hard grounder up to score the 10th run, securing a run-rule victory.
Everyone played a part in the win. All nine starters either scored a run, tabbed a hit, or authored an RBI. Fletcher and Nard allowed just two hits, striking out 7 while throwing 89 pitches.
Advancing to 13-7-1 on the year, the Wildcats don't have much time to bask in the glow of a win. The Baseball Cats head down to Cincinnati tomorrow, facing Archbishop Moeller on Friday and LaSalle on Saturday.
Hopefully the fun-loving Wildcats are able to stay loose during a big trip to Cincinnati leading into the final week of the regular season.