It was a new season of Wildcat Baseball on Monday afternoon as the Wildcats took down the Eaglets from St. Mary’s Prep.
On paper, it wasn’t. Saint Ignatius entered having played eight games already. But in Coach Ganor and the Wildcats’ minds, it was a fresh start and a new beginning for this year’s ballclub.
The Wildcats entered having lost four straight games by no more than two runs. It was a frustrating week for the Wildcats after losing lead versus Mayfield, falling in 10 innings to Jackson, and falling just short in attempted comebacks versus St. Vincent-St. Mary and Strongsville. But on Monday, the agony ended with a huge, momentum-building win over St. Mary’s Prep from Orchard Lake, Michigan.
It started with a solid day on the mound from St. Bonaventure recruit Braydon Nelson. He was also looking to get a win personally, as the two previous starts ended in losses for the tall righty. Nelson went six strong innings, giving up just one run on four hits and striking out four Eaglets. He did not walk a batter. Most of his outs came on the ground, as he did a great job of getting St. Mary’s Prep to ground out in the infield.
But the bigger story of the day was the lineup of the Wildcats putting up runs in every inning but the first. Saint Ignatius jumped on St. Mary’s Prep’s starter in the second inning after Erik Demchuk got the ‘Cats on the board first driving in Drew Asadorian on a RBI single to right center. Then on an infield error on the Eaglets third baseman, Jacobs scored and the Wildcats took a 2-0 lead. The Wildcats then made it 3-0 on an RBI groundout by Daniel Alexander, his first Varsity RBI.
Head Coach Brad Ganor’s squad then had an eventful 3rd inning. With one out, Jack Siefert got his first hit of the year and it was a memorable one. The biggest hit of the day, Siefert rocketed a line drive down the right field line, scoring Mark Geraci and sprinted all the way to third base for an RBI triple. Saint Ignatius then made it 5-0 on a bases loaded walk.
Logan Wood survived 2 ⅓ innings, giving up 5 runs, 4 hits, allowing one walk, and not getting a strikeout. A talented hurler, Wood was ranked 3rd in the preseason in the Top 10 in the nation for the Class of 2020 by Prep Baseball Report. Wood ended up suffering his second loss of the season for St. Mary’s Prep.
The offense was not done, however. Siefert delivered once again on an RBI single center scoring Joe Gutbrod, and the Wildcats were rolling, leading 6-1.
After an RBI single by Alexander and an Evan Steigerwald RBI single in the fifth and a two-run RBI double by Alexander in the sixth, Saint Ignatius put in sophomore Matt Geraci to close it out in the seventh. Entering the day with three starts on the Junior Varsity team with a 0.00 ERA, Geraci sat down the Eaglets one-two-three to secure the 10-1 win for Saint Ignatius.
“It’s a brand new season. Good to get the first win of the year,” Manager Brad Ganor said. “We talked to them prior to the game about pressing the reset button and using those first eight games and calling them scrimmages. We treat them like adults a lot of times, but they are still high school baseball players and you have to manage that personality wise and understand that it takes them time to get in a groove. Hopefully, that will happen and continue, but today we certainly were in a groove.”
They definitely were in a groove. Mark Geraci went 1-for-3, scoring a run. Jack Siefert had a breakout game, going 2-for-3 with 2 RBI’s. Drew Asadorian went 1-for-3 scoring a run. Ryan Jacobs went 1-for-1, walking twice and scoring twice. Demchuk went 1-for-1 with 2 RBI’s, scoring three times. Finally, Dan Alexander went 2-for-4 with 4 RBI’s.
“Jack Siefert had a great game and Braydon pitched well obviously,” Ganor said. “All around, it was a good game.”
The Wildcats took game one in the first game of six in six days. They now gear up for a 5:00 p.m. affair with Massillon Washington on Tuesday at Baldwin Wallace. They then travel for the first time in Ohio on Wednesday to face the Holy Name Green Wave at Kurtz Park at 4:30 p.m. On Thursday, they head out east to face the Archbishop Hoban Knights at 5:00 p.m. in their first game at Classic Park in Lake County. On Friday evening, they’ll participate in the Cleveland Indians Charities Hardball Classic at Progressive Field versus Avon Lake at 5:30 p.m. And finally, on Saturday morning they face Amherst at Baldwin Wallace at 11:00 a.m.
Manager Ganor on this upcoming week: “One game at a time. That’s such a cliche, but so true. We’d like to try and start getting consistent with our lineup and run the same lineup out there. Just get into a groove. It’s tough to start the year 2-6, now 3-6, but ultimately we play for one thing, and that’s for mid-May, and we’ll be ready to go come mid-May.”
CALL A DOCTOR: Interestingly enough, Monday’s game saw 7 batters get hit by a pitch. Wood hit three batters, relief pitchers for the Eaglets Dillon Kark hit two and Nick Kuphal hit one. Nelson only hit one batter. But it was Erik Demchuk who suffered the bulk of those, getting hit three times in one game.
SIBN: Brendan DeVenney ‘17 and the SIBN baseball crew guys will have four of the next five games live on the SIBN, including the Massillon Washington, Archbishop Hoban, Avon Lake, and Amherst Steele games.