By Jeremy Balan
Sacred Heart Cathedral center fielder Tevin Goodwin had a chance to end the game against rival St. Ignatius in the bottom of the seventh inning, with the bases loaded and one out.
The senior struck out swinging on a fastball well off the plate, but got a second opportunity with the game still knotted at 3-3 in the bottom of the ninth.
In the same exact situation, with the bases loaded and one out, Goodwin swung at the same pitch, a fastball outside and off the plate, but this time he made contact.
Even with the St. Ignatius infield drawn in, Goodwin reached on a softly-hit single to the right side of the infield and Brett Rasso scored the game-winning run without a throw coming to the plate in the Irish’s 4-3 walk-off win in West Catholic Athletic League play on Tuesday at Moscone Recreation Center.
“It wasn’t pretty, but it got the job done,” Goodwin said. “I was just trying to make contact, put it in play and see what the defense can do.”
Goodwin got the glory and was mobbed by his teammates, but Rasso’s aggressive baserunning changed the entire complexion of the final inning.
The sophomore second baseman reached on a walk to lead off the inning and a sacrifice bunt from Sacred Heart senior shortstop Gino Franco sent him to second base. With a base open, the Wildcats intentionally walked senior Chris Miguel, then Rasso did something brash.
On the first pitch to Sacred Heart senior Mike Wallace, Rasso broke for third and stole the base sliding head-first.
“I got a good jump and it was not called,” Rasso said. “I just went with it. I didn’t even think about it.”
The steal forced the Wildcats (11-5-1, 5-2-1) to intentionally walk Wallace to load the bases and set up Goodwin’s game-winning hit.
“It’s just Brett and that’s the type of kid he is,” said Sacred Heart head coach Brian Morgan. “He’s a sophomore on the varsity team and has no fear of anything. When he took off I thought, “he better be safe,” and when he was, it changed the whole inning.”
Sacred Heart (12-5, 2-5) gleefully stormed the field after the walk-off victory, but through six innings, it appeared Cal-bound St. Ignatius senior starting pitcher Collin Monsour would shut out the Irish for the second consecutive game.
Less than two weeks ago, Monsour threw a complete-game shutout in a 3-0 SI win, and he held the Irish scoreless and to just three hits in six innings of work on Tuesday.
The difference, however, was Sacred Heart’s approach at the plate and ability to foul off pitches, forcing the senior to be removed after the sixth with a pitch count of 104.
“At some point you have to just say that’s one of the best pitchers in the league,” Morgan said. “To get shut down by the same guy in two weeks – he doesn’t walk any guys, he doesn’t give you any opportunities and he just roars back and throws strikes.”
The Wildcats held a relatively-comfortable 3-0 lead heading into the bottom of the seventh, but St. Ignatius reliever Ian Anderson walked the bases loaded without recording an out. Franco then reached on an error to score the first Sacred Heart run and Miguel hit a two-RBI single to tie the game up, with Rasso scoring the equalizing run, sliding just past the tag from St. Ignatius catcher Charlie Goldensohn.
“Our bullpen should be able to come out and get that done and we didn’t do the job today,” said St. Ignatius head coach Matt Stecher. “We have complete confidence in our guys coming out of the bullpen. Normally they get the job done and I still have confidence in them.”
Six of the 10 St. Ignatius hits came from junior Nico Giarratano and senior Nick Johnson. Giarratano scored two runs on three singles, while Johnson had three line-drive hits and drove in the Wildcats’ first run with a RBI double in the third inning.
Johnson is hitting .405 this season and his impact is particularly important out of the No. 3 spot in the St. Ignatius order, with standout junior Jack Klein out for an extended period of time with a wrist injury.
“Nick is just roping it and he has come alive,” Stecher said. “He was hitting well all season, but he’s flourishing now. He’s seeing the ball well and he’s definitely the bright spot of the offense right now.”
Miguel was the starting pitcher for the Irish and allowed all three St. Ignatius runs on eight hits in seven innings of work, while striking out five. Normal No. 2 starter Mike Wallace came on in relief and pitched the final 1 1/3 innings to collect the win.
The Irish ran into plenty of tough luck in the first half of the WCAL season with their five losses coming by a combined eight runs, but Morgan feels they could be turning a corner.
“We’ve had some games where I thought we played really well and came up short, and today we caught one,” Morgan said. “It’s a rivalry and it’s fun to be a part of it, but it can’t be the highlight of our season. We have Bellarmine [on Friday] and St. Francis on Saturday, and they don’t care about this rivalry. Everything in life is momentum and we’re just trying to keep it.”
SI – Nick Johnson doubles, Nico Giarratano scores
SI – Matt Krook singles, Giarratano scores
SI – Travis McDow reaches on a fielder’s choice, Dylan Foster scores
SHC – Gino Franco reaches on an error, Jack Harrington scores
SHC – Chris Miguel scores, Chris Viloria and Brett Rasso score
SHC – Tevin Goodwin singles, Rasso scores