A tip of this corner's cap also goes out to Freshmen Head Baseball Coach Tyler Finkler '13 and his Assistant Coaches Kirby Becker '08, Conor Hennessey '13, Tom Rolle '13 and Gary Massey '95 (Special Assistant Freshmen Baseball Coach), who guided the ninth-grade Baseball Cats to a 5-1 victory over Brunswick's Freshmen on Saturday morning. The Freshmen Cats improved to 6-1.
Here is a look at the string of success that has accompanied the Junior Varsity Baseball Wildcats.
FROM FISHER FIELD ON THE CAMPUS OF BALDWIN WALLACE UNIVERSIY.
Berea, Ohio - When you talk about the strong tradition of Saint Ignatius' Varsity Baseball Program, you also have to take a look at what Head Junior Varsity Coach Cody Dearth and his assistants Steve Nelson and Tim McCoy '12 have been accomplishing.
After Saturday's 2-0 victory over a previously undefeated Brunswick JV Team at Baldwin Wallace University's atmosphere-rich Fisher Field, the Wildcats' Junior Varsity Program stands 8-0 this season and has extended a winning streak that started near the end of the 2016 season to 34 consecutive games. The JV 'Cats were 24-0 in 2017.
In defeating the now 7-1 JV Blue Devils from Brunswick, Saint Ignatius rode the strong pitching of Nick Fletcher, Ted Eyink and Luke Lashutka, a leadoff single by Lashutka and a clutch two-out RBI single from catcher Mac Boyle, which both came in the bottom of the fourth inning.
The young 'Cats produced a huge insurance run in the bottom of the sixth, when baseball savvy second baseman Jack Whelan walked and stole second base. Whelan would score on Brunswick's two-out, two-base throwing error.
Lashutka then took the mound for the top of the seventh inning and set down the Blue Devils in order on three strikeouts.
Fletcher, who started the game, worked 3.1 innings with seven strikeouts and no walks. Nick had to leave the game in the top of the fourth inning after he was run over by a Brunswick player. Nick was making a tag on the runner, who laid down a bunt, and amazingly, despite the strong contact and being knocked to the ground, Nick held on to the ball for the out. The Blue Devils' player was ejected from the game.
Ted Eyink, yes another of those gifted baseball Eyinks, replaced Nick and pitched 2.2 innings with five strikeouts and two walks before Lashutka sealed the victory.
"Nick (Fletcher) is obviously a key contributor for us, this was his first start of the season," said Coach Dearth, who is in his third season as Saint Ignatius' Head Junior Varsity Baseball Coach and has overseen the JV Cats' 34 consecutive victories. "Nick is a great ballplayer and it was sad to see him go out, but I am glad we got the victory.
"I told Teddy (Eyink) that's a tough situation to put a pitcher in when a guy goes down," Coach Dearth continued. "You have to hurry to get him ready. Luckily the umpires gave us time and Teddy really shut them down for us. A great job."
Coach Dearth also referred to Boyle's "huge two-out hit" and how the JV Cats were able to "manufacture" a run in the sixth.
"Great job all around," said the gifted young coach. "Great pitching, clutch hitting and great defense."
When this old-timer brought up the impressive JV winning streak, Coach Dearth smiled and said, "Obviously, we've been blessed with great players. Saint Ignatius has some of the best of the best."
This corner would also like point out another key contributor to the JV Wildcats' success, Team Manager Nick Schmitz. Nick is a classy young man who handles his job with exceptional knowledge and efficiency.
Up next for the JV Cats is Tuesday's 5 PM matchup with St. Edward's Jayvees at Bohlken Park in Fairview Park. Right off 210th Street, my friends, as you are heading to Westgate.
- Thank You to Saint Ignatius Head Varsity Coach Brad Ganor and Coaches Dearth, Nelson and McCoy from this corner for the privilege to cover the JV Baseball Cats.