Senior Day is always special in the Saint Ignatius baseball program.
Two years ago, the Wildcats played a fun-filled intrasquad scrimmage after the opponent canceled at the last minute. Last year, the Wildcats enjoyed a great win, with Matt Hunt '18 almost pitching a perfect game.
Saturday was even more special. Tears flowed, applause thundered, and laughter roared throughout Fisher Field at Baldwin Wallace University.
On paper, the Wildcats defeated the Solon Comets, 7-0. The win marked the end of the regular season, completed with an 18-8-1 record. But this day's special nature cannot be told in stats.
The tale begins in April. Dr. Terry Hunt '80 passed away unexpectedly at the age of 56, leaving behind his wonderful wife, Kelly, his son Matt '18, and three great daughters. A beloved dentist in Rocky River, Dr. Hunt an avid fan of all things Saint Ignatius. And everyone who came into contact with him was a Dr. Hunt fan.
In response, the Saint Ignatius baseball program decided to honor his memory with a patch on the team's new pinstripe jerseys. The Wildcats welcomed the Hunt family to Fisher Field on Saturday, presenting them with a jersey in his memory. It was a beautiful moment.
Then the Wildcats honored 14 seniors. An incredible senior class, these young men are a great group filled with talent and promise for bright futures. The families of these young men are also great – rarely does a large and wonderful class of senior parents like this come around.
A fun-filled game then followed.
Head Coach Brad Ganor made sure to play every senior. Starting pitchers Andrew Mulhern and Luke Lashutka played right field after throwing the last two days. Manager Troy Hyde played in right for an inning and got an at-bat. Richie Santiago, Jr. coached third base and then first base.
The on-field product turned out great. Sean Wracher started the game on the mound, bearing down after two early walks in the first. The Wildcats provided him with some run support, plating four in the bottom of the frame.
AJ Gaich, Matt Geraci, and Michael Holdsworth got on bases with two hit by pitches and a walk. Michael McNamara delivered in the clutch, rocketing a 2-run doozy to center. Flynn Lenahan added another run with a single up the middle, and Matt Ferritto finished off the rally with a sac fly after a Leo Eyink walk.
The offenses then fell into a slumber. The Wildcats managed a few hits but couldn't crack Solon's bullpen. The Comets trotted out five pitchers over the course of the game, due to being a pitch count in advance of a playoff game vs. Walsh Jesuit on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, Wracher handled the second perfectly. Matt Geraci shut the Comets down in the third and fourth. Sam LaGuardia managed the fifth gracefully.
Then the Wildcats eked out another insurance run in the fifth. Jake Lang did the honors. He reached first on a single, then advanced to second on a passed ball and third on a Lenahan sacrifice bunt. Austin Jones then pulled a great move out of the small ball playbook, laying down a marvelous suicide squeeze to score Lang. Connor Mays and Ferritto each walked, but could not come around.
Justin Sekerak entered in the sixth and blew by the Comets. The senior induced back-to-back first-pitch flyouts before spending six pitches to draw a lineout, to the delight of the Saint Ignatius faithful.
The Wildcats set the final margin at 7 runs with a good sixth inning. AJ Gaich reached on an error and scored on a Geraci double. After a walk, hit by pitch, and a strikeout, Geraci finally came home on a fielder's choice groundout.
With seven runs to work with, a confident Matt Ferritto took care of business in the top of the seventh. Ferritto mowed down two Comets on strikes before getting a groundout to end the game.
The five-pitcher shutout marked the 17th no-hitter in Saint Ignatius history and the second in the span of a week. Wracher, Geraci, LaGuardia, Sekerak, and Ferritto will forever have their names enshrined on the record board after the regular season finale.
The Wildcats complete the regular season with an 18-8-1 (17-8-1 in the regular season, 1-0 in the playoffs) after a 6-0 win over Canton Central Catholic on Friday.
But the men of Ohio City cannot rest on their laurels. Brecksville-Broadview Heights comes to Baldwin Wallace for the District Semifinal on Tuesday. First pitch is slated for 2 pm. The SIBN will have live, audio-only coverage.