The Holy Name baseball team knew what it wanted at the plate and wasted little time finding it in its Division II Sectional final May 15.
Green Wave batters were aggressive all afternoon at Kurtz Park in Parma Heights and put together four multi-run innings in a 13-4 victory over Rocky River — the third win over their Great Lakes Conference counterparts in less than a week.
The top seed in the Parma District, Holy Name (17-5) advanced to a Monday District semifinal against No. 5 Elyria Catholic at Mottl Field on Cuyahoga Community College’s Western Campus. The ninth-seeded Pirates (9-14) had an up-and-down 2019 season ended a game short of where it finished a year ago.
“If it’s a strike, (Holy Name’s) swinging at it,” Pirates coach Darryl Sanders said. “That’s what we try to convey to our guys, is to do the same thing. I think we’re kind of set in our ways, and I tried to show them the difference between them and us is that they’re just a little more aggressive at the plate.”
Both teams showed prowess at the plate, with the Green Wave pounding out 15 hits to the Pirates’ 11. The big difference, however, was that the home team often took advantage with runners in scoring position, belting eight extra-base hits. Rocky River advanced runners but struggled to bring them home, leaving 10 men stranded.
“We did hit the ball. We either hit it right at someone or got a base hit,” Sanders said. “There were other opportunities where we could’ve jumped on some first-pitch strikes and maybe make some things happen as well.”
After a two-run double in the bottom of the second inning by starting pitcher Pat Sullivan gave Holy Name a 2-0 lead, the Pirates responded with a run in the third on a Ross Hartman two-out single. River loaded the bases on consecutive hits by Dillon Bandi and Luke Coyne, but Jack White grounded out to end the threat.
Back-to-back RBI doubles by Aiden Hickey and Dan Wimsett and an RBI single by Ryan Byrne increased the Green Wave lead to 5-1 after three, but the Pirates again rallied with a three-run fourth to pull within 5-4. Braedon Spies hit an RBI double, advanced to third on an Owen Jaite grounder, then stole home three pitches later as Sullivan struck out Tommy Kelly, with the ball getting away from Green Wave catcher Byrne.
Jaite scored the team’s final run of the day when Byrne’s pickoff attempt of Hartman at second sailed into center field, allowing him to sprint home from third. Holy Name responded with eight unanswered runs in the fourth and fifth to pull away, though, the highlight a two-run home run over the left field wall by Nick Mercuri.
“(Hitting) can certainly be contagious, especially with our top-of-the-order guys,” Green Wave coach Tim Carter said. “Our bottom-of-the-order guys hit well today as well.”
Pirate starter Tommy Capka (three innings pitched, nine earned runs on 10 hits) and reliever Tyler Louis (three innings, four runs on five hits) couldn’t slow opposing bats down.
Sullivan earned the win after throwing four innings. He allowed four runs (two earned) on nine hits and a walk while striking out three. Tommy Fenton and Sean Springer combined for three scoreless innings of relief.
Hartman led the Pirates with 3-3 day at the plate, while Bandi, Coyne and Spies each had two hits.
For questions about this story, call 440-871-5797.