Figure out a way to win.
That's the mantra Head Coach Brad Ganor has stressed all season. Do your job and do all of the little things right, and luck will often be on your side.
In a tight District Semifinal against a solid pitcher, the Wildcats found a way to win. The hosts of the Baldwin Wallace district manufactured three runs in the sixth inning and used near-flawless pitching by Nick Fletcher to move on.
The Wildcats emerged with a 3-0 victory over Brecksville-Broadview Heights on Tuesday, advancing to the District Final on Thursday vs. North Royalton at BW at 5 pm.
With a slight chill in the air, the Saint Ignatius offense also started cold. The Wildcats managed several hits and placed runners in scoring position. But when needed, the Wildcats could not get any early clutch hits.
AJ Gaich tabbed a single and stole second in the opening frame, but did not advance any further. Singles by Connor Mays and Gaich set the stage for runs, but the Wildcats stranded two in the third. Gaich tabbed another single in the fifth and Jake Lang drew a walk, but again the Wildcats couldn't get a hit.
Meanwhile, Fletcher looked nearly unhittable. In the first six innings, the junior allowed just one hit, a single in the third. The Bees also got a baserunner in the fourth via an error, but a double play quickly wiped him out. And that was it. Fletcher did not allow any walks, drawing groundouts and flyouts in an impressive effort.
The Wildcats made their own luck in the bottom half of the sixth.
Michael McNamara opened the inning with a hard-hit grounder to right. Pinch-hitter Matt Ferritto was then hit by a pitch, setting the table for Austin Jones. The senior hit a deep fly to right, allowing McNamara to tag up and get to third. Into the box stepped Matt Geraci. Heading to the plate with a cool head, Geraci calmly lifted a single to left to score Mike Mac, breaking the scoreless tie.
A fielder's choice got Geraci at second, but a throwing error allowed Ferritto to score. Erik Daugenti then did his job at the plate, rocketing a 2-out double to left, plating Connor Mays.
Leading 3-0, Fletcher had some room to work, but he wouldn't need it. The confident 6'1" righty took care of business after allowing a single. A flyout and a groundout ended any hopes of a comeback, cementing a 3-0 win for the Wildcats.
In nine appearances this year, Fletcher has been dominant. The junior has a 1.77 ERA and a 0.904 WHIP, with 29 strikeouts and just 9 walks in 27.2 innings pitched. He has a 5-1 record on the year.
Fellow right-hander Andrew Mulhern will grace the mound on Thursday. The Wildcats will look to get to the Regional Final for the first time since 2016.
North Royalton edged Bera-Midpark on Tuesday, 4-3. The Bears and Wildcats will face off on Thursday at 5 pm, broadcasted live on the SIBN.