Baseball: St. Ignatius capitalizes on key sixth inning to sweep Sacred Heart

St. Ignatius pinch runner Anthony Clifford dives back to first base on a pickoff attempt, before Sacred Heart first baseman Patrick Murphy can apply a tag, on Monday at Moscone Recreation Center. (Photo by Christian Chew)

By Jeremy Balan

St. Ignatius and Sacred Heart Cathedral were not only tied heading into the sixth inning, but faced a nearly identical situation in each half of the frame.

Tied at 2-2, both teams had bases-loaded jams chase their respective starting pitchers in the sixth. The Wildcats cashed in on the opportunity and the Irish did not, resulting in a 5-2 St. Ignatius win in West Catholic Athletic League play on Monday at Moscone Recreation Center.

St. Ignatius senior starting pitcher Johnny Mrlik sends a pitch toward the plate against Sacred Heart Cathedral on Monday at Moscone Recreation Center. (Photo by Christian Chew)

In the top half of the inning, St. Ignatius (8-7, 4-4) loaded the bases on two singles from Matt Krook and Kyle Tillinghast, and a walk from Nico Giarratano, chasing Sacred Heart starter Chris Miguel off the mound.

Miguel’s replacement, right-hander Ryan Mussman, walked St. Ignatius catcher Charlie Goldensohn to plate the go-ahead run, then surrendered a two-run single to Jack Klein to give the Wildcats some breathing room.

“Bases loaded has been where we’ve been coming up short lately,” said St. Ignatius head coach Matt Stecher. “We didn’t get all of the hits we needed, but we got enough. It was nice to see the offense come alive.”

But the Irish (8-7, 1-7) still had a golden opportunity to even the score. With two outs in the bottom of the sixth, St. Ignatius starter Johnny Mrlik was ejected for using profanity in an interaction with an umpire after allowing two runners to reach base.

His replacement, fellow senior left-hander Adam Goldstein came in cold and it showed, as he walked Sacred Heart shortstop Gino Franco to bring Tevin Goodwin to the plate, representing the go-ahead run.

Goodwin made solid contact, but hit the ball right at the shortstop Giarratano, who simply stepped on second base to end the threat.

“It’s frustrating to lose, but you can only control what you can control,” said Sacred Heart head coach Brian Morgan. “Did we have a good at-bats? Yes. Did we hit the ball well? Yes. But so did they…It’s just baseball. You figure it’s going to roll the other way at some point. If that ball goes through, we’re right in it and then who knows.”

Sacred Heart would not threaten again, as Goldstein retired the Irish in order in the seventh to seal the win and the four-out save.

“I wasn’t expecting to go in under quite those circumstances, but I wanted to come in, throw strikes, get in a grove and get the job done,” Goldstein said. “Those are the situations that feel the best, coming in and getting the job done.”

After surrendering two runs in the first inning, Mrlik shut the Irish down the rest of the way, going 5 1/3 innings to get the win.

“He really settled in [after the first inning], and probably would have gone the rest of the way if he didn’t get tossed,” Stecher said. “It was a good outing.”

For the Irish, WCAL struggles continue after they picked up their first league win over Bellarmine on Friday.

“As long as we’re playing like this, I don’t have a problem,” Morgan said. “Our pitchers are battling and we’re playing good defense. They’re doing exactly what they’re supposed to do, but we just can’t find a hit. I’m happy with the way we’re playing and we’re getting better, but in this league sometimes getting better is not enough.”

Scoring Summary

First Inning
SI – Lennox Donlon singles, Luke Pappas scores
SH – Nick Nussbaum singles, Dominic Defiesta scores
SH – Patrick Sheehan sacrifice fly, Maurice Fuller scores

Second Inning
SI – Kyle Tillinghast scores on throwing error

Sixth Inning
SI – Charlie Goldensohn walks, Anthony Clifford scores
SI – Jack Klein singles, Tillinghast and Nico Giarratano scores

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26 Comments

  1. DAo says:

    how many innings are there in a high school baseball game?

  2. IC Stars says:

    Must be tough pitching “in a grove”…. I only saw the tail-end of the game. The SHC players didn’t have their hearts in it. I remember games where the players would be literally climbing the fences and cheering every at bat to get a rally going. Most of the time it worked.

  3. JK says:

    Does anyone remember what Moscone Field was called before it was re-named? Was it Rossi? I played a lot of CYO games down there as a kid.

  4. Ari Gold says:

    With two outs in the bottom of the sixth, St. Ignatius starter Johnny Mrlik was ejected for using profanity in an interaction with an umpire after allowing two runners to reach base.

    Ive seen this immature, selfish, ballhog play hoops and mouth off to refs and fans. Hey Johnny, you went to the free throw line more than anybody in WCAL history! Then you run your mouth and get tossed in a baseball game? Grow up! Silver spoon is going to taken out of your mouth real quick. Where are you playing next year? Some Division 3 college? Thats real nice. I usually never give AAA players any props but even AAA players can do better than that. Good riddance!

    • Roll Cats says:

      Ari you just can’t lay off the kid can you? At the game? Understand the circumstances? Maybe the ump misheard something? You’re quick to criticize the kid. And your D-III remark… AS IF- You only wish you had Johnny at SH because that could have meant state title. Anyways, the ejection isn’t what matters, the final score does. You can reply to this, but I’ll be busy watching tape from the football, Bruce basketball, and now 2 baseball games.

      Congratulations Cats on a big victory. Good luck the rest of the way in league and beyond.

    • Cats pride says:

      Oh yea, I’m sure there are a lot of AAA players playing both basketball and baseball in college.

    • St. Ignatius Alum says:

      Ari,
      Who do you think you are verbally slandering a high school kid? Are you really trying to insult this kid by insinuating that playing Division III sports is something to be frowned upon? Playing on two sports teams in college is a major accomplishment. Johnny is also attending one of the best academic schools in the country. Your pathetic attempts to embarrass and humiliate a high schooler have revealed your ignorance and stupidity. Correct me if I’m wrong but did you really try to argue that AAA basketball is better than collegiate basketball. As an alum, I enjoy reading about the players that currently play for my school. I have seen Johnny Mrlik play multiple times this year and he has shown great leadership and maturity in both basketball and baseball. I hope you reflect on these words and next time control your urge to publicly humiliate a high schooler. Its time for you to “grow up” and embrace the fun and excitement that high school sports bring to fans.

    • Actual Adult says:

      Ari,

      It’s pathetic that you’re using SanFranPreps as a forum to bring down a specific high school kid. HE’S A KID. You’re an adult. Talk about teams, talk about trends you see, coaching whatever. But don’t call out a kid like that in such a negative way. It’s classless.

      And “Some Division 3 college”? Yes, Johnny is choosing a school he sees as a best fit for him – academically, socially (his brother attends), and with two sports. To categorize this choice as unintentional would be greatly misleading considering he turned away recruiters from several D-1 mid majors.

      ^college decision aside, Lay off the kid. And grow up. jbalan may not say anything but he agrees.

    • ARHS Stats says:

      Sorry, Ari, you are wrong.

      Johnny Mrlik made the most Free Throws ever in league games. He did not get close to the record for most Free Throws attempted in league games.

      Connor McGrath (Serra) attempted 16 more free throws than Johnny Mrlik.

      The most Free Throws Attempted is held by Decensae White of Serra, who attempted 124 Free Throws in 2006, which is more than 30 free throws more than Mrlik attempted.

      Johnny only attempted 10.86 shots per league game and 6.57 free throws per league game this season.

  5. Go Lowell says:

    Jbalan, a game you should check out tomorrow is Lowell and balboa at big Rec Graham at 330. Go cardinal!!!!

  6. stop hatin says:

    ari needs to back off, this is a place to discuss sports, not to insult student athletes. you should be doing something productive with your life other than bad mouthing players who work there butts off to get were they are and were there going…

  7. hamburgler says:

    who cares about johnny len is way cooler

  8. Johnny Drama says:

    I’ve had more playful banter with @Ari than with any other pster on this board, but this hatred towards a HS kid is now becoming a bit unusual. That D3 school is one of the finest ACADEMIC institutions in this country. I would much rather my child attend Vassar, than attend, let’s say Fresno State on a basketball scholarship, but that’s just me. After reading Ari’s posts, I believe he is a child himself, a student at SHC because no adult would make some of the comments he has made. From his racist stereotypes to the ones above, this is clearly the mind of a child at work. Or if he is truly an adult, he certainsly lives with his mother. Something about those SHC folks and their hatred towards their rival schools. Has anyone checked out that moron Irish Cheers on NCP boards? Maybe it’s something inherent to SH. best of luck to all the young men entering the next phase of their lives. We’ve enjoyed watching you.

    GO CATS!!

    • IC Stars says:

      You know, it’s possible that anyone can put any name they want on this board. Still, Ari’s rant is enough to make me back up an SI dude for cryin’ out loud. It really doesn’t do SHC people any favors.

      • Johnny Drama says:

        @IC Stars……we can all agree to disagree on the topics and show support for our respective schools, but at the end of the day, the holy trinity schools are all intertwined with each other. I always say one of the things that makes SI great is the rivalry/connection to SH and Riordan. We can root for our school without making disparaging remarks toward a HS kid. You’re a fine example of that.

  9. JJ says:

    Ari has to be older than 30, cause he brought up names of WCAL basketball past that only someone in their 30’s or older would know……

  10. hahahaha says:

    i dont get why ari bashes high school kids who have talent. Johnny is a great athlete who is going to play college ball and obviously ari is jealous

  11. wooot woooot says:

    johnny = KB, something ari never was

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