Baseball: St. Ignatius bogged down by errors in loss to Serra in WCAL title game

St. Ignatius senior catcher Charlie Goldensohn (left) watches the ball pop out of his glove after applying a tag Serra's Collin Theroux in the fourth inning of the WCAL championship game on Thursday at Santa Clara University. (Photo by Devin Chen)

By Jeremy Balan

SANTA CLARA — The St. Ignatius baseball team played like a it had a 44-year-old gorilla on its back against Serra in the West Catholic Athletic League championship game on Thursday at Santa Clara University’s Stephen Schott Stadium.

The Wildcats, who have not won a WCAL tournament title since the league began play in 1968, committed eight errors in the game and allowed six unearned runs in a 7-2 loss.

The win gives Serra (18-12) its 16th WCAL title, the most of any school in the league.

“I mentioned yesterday that our margin of error was going to be zero today and we blew it,” said St. Ignatius head coach Matthew Stecher. “We gave up six unearned runs and it was 7-2. We made way too many mistakes and could not come back from them.”

Two of the errors came in the first inning, resulting in three Serra runs, but the crushing blow came in the second, when the Wildcats (19-8-1) had three errors on a single play that allowed two runners to score.

Serra senior Bradley Northnagel winds up for a pitch against St. Ignatius in the WCAL championship game on Thursday at Santa Clara University. (Photo by Devin Chen)

“I think the guys put a lot of pressure on themselves to perform and that showed in the first couple of innings,” Stecher said. “There were nerves and there was a whole lot of history behind [this game]. Whatever the reason, we didn’t execute the way we can.”

As much as St. Ignatius struggled defensively, the star of the night was undoubtedly Serra senior pitcher Bradley Northnagel, who came on in relief in the first inning with two outs after starter Andrew Garcia allowed two early runs.

Northnagel finished the game off, shutting the Wildcats out in the final 6 1/3 innings. The right-hander allowed five hits, walked one and struck out two on 84 pitches.

“Andrew struggled early, but he was a man about it and understood the big picture,” said Serra head coach Craig Gianinno. “Brad Northnagel was a huge example of picking up a teammate and stopping some bleeding . . . He pitched with a lot of maturity, confidence and poise today.”

The Wildcats actually out-hit Serra 7-5 and had several close calls at the plate, trying to cut into the Padres’ lead.

The first came in the bottom of the fourth inning with a man on base, when SI junior shortstop Nico Giarratano sent a ball down the right-field line with home-run distance, only to see the ball curl just right of the foul pole.

In the fifth, two men were on base for senior designated hitter Travis McDow, who crushed a hanging 3-2 slider from Northnagel to the warning track in left field where Serra outfielder Christian Conci made a running catch.

St. Ignatius second baseman Christian Santos sent another ball to the warning track in left field in the sixth, but Conci again tracked the ball down.

The Wildcats didn’t score again after the first inning, left eight runners on base and went 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position.

St. Ignatius senior Charlie Goldensohn slides in for the Wildcats' final run of the game in the first inning of the WCAL championship game against Serra on Thursday at Santa Clara University. (Photo by Devin Chen)

“We’ve done it too many times this season and again we left too many runners on,” Stecher said. “We hit the ball hard, but they were right at guys.”

The St. Ignatius mistakes certainly played a large role in Serra’s win, but what can’t be overlooked is the tremendous turnaround the Padres have made this season.

After starting league play 0-5, the Padres won their final nine games against league opponents, including playoff wins over top-seeded St. Francis and St. Ignatius, the No. 2 seed.

“I don’t know what else to say other than they believed in a time when it wasn’t easy to believe,” Gianinno said. “They continued to focus on what we could control and it was just a matter of time before we would break through.”

The WCAL drought continues for the Wildcats, but another task remains in the Central Coast Section playoffs that begin next week. St. Ignatius has never won a CCS tournament title either.

“We’re going to need some time to sit with this one,” Stecher said. “It hurts and it should hurt. They worked hard to get here and we fell short of our goal, but it’s something we’re going to be able to overcome. On Monday we have a brand-new season, albeit a short one, but we’re going to come out renewed.”

Scoring Summary

First Inning
S – Mickey McDonald reaches on an error, Jordan Paroubeck scores
S – McDonald scores on an error
S – Antonio Freschet reaches on an error, Collin Theroux scores
SI – Matt Krook grounds out, Nico Giarratano scores
SI – Jack Stinn hits a sacrifice fly, Charlie Goldensohn scores

Second Inning
S – Paul Murray singles, Paroubeck scores on a throwing error, Theroux scores on a throwing error, Murray advances to third base on a throwing error

Fourth Inning
S – Michael Tinsley hits a sacrifice fly, Theroux scores

Fifth Inning
S – Paroubeck singles, Dalvin Martin scores

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35 Comments

  1. SIbaseballfan says:

    What a shame. SI had a brilliant season, hard way to go out. Appalled at the behavior of the Serra fans – very obnoxious and disrespectful. Always that way it seems, in all sports, very bush league. Why is that ok? Why doesn’t the school set some boundaries on fan behavior? No other schools allow their cheering section to scream insults. There should be a standard of respectful behavior in the WCAL that all schools adhere to.

    • Sam Evans says:

      SI doesn’t have unruly fans? Give me a break. i graduated from SI. It’s part of the game. NOT in golf, however. So my suggestion is to watch a WCAL golf match.

      • SIbaseballfan says:

        Wow, really? There is no other school that routinely screams insults the way Serra fans do. Not one. The SI fan section is loud but not disrespectful. Big difference. You can go watch all the golf you want. I’ll stick with baseball and the SI families that demonstrate passion and respect for the other team.

        • SalamiSam says:

          If i were you I would watch the PAL because you obviously know nothing about the WCAL. S.I. students pushed Serra kids in a game of knockout during halftime of the jungle game, St. Francis students stood on top of the Serra dugout and ran their mouths followed by pouring water on Serra students in the parking lot and Bellarmines cheering section put up multiple middle fingers while losing basketball game to Serra a couple months back. To say that Serra has been very “Bush League” shows that you are uneducated in the subject and maybe you should go watch golf. The Serra pride was above college level and the fact that you were appalled was ridiculous because the few S.I. fans that were at the game were flipping people off and running their mouths. Your obviously an S.I. fan so maybe you are angry but your review was completely incorrect. Great way to finish the season by the team and the best damn cheer section on the peninsula.

          • JJ says:

            “SI students pushed Serra students in a game of knockout…..”. That was all fun and games, and wasn’t the SI student who did the pushing, a female basketball player? When I went to High school, there wasn’t any security guards at the games; nowadays, there’s security personnel everywhere, metal detectors, and a couple SFPD all because people can’t contain their emotions and things get out of hand.

            • SerraFan says:

              In reply to the knockout comment, the first game at SI was a friendly match, but at the Jungle Game, SI guys started roughing around and pushing serra guys hard and intentional which in turn cleared both cheering sections and had police and security officers to break it up.

    • Mr. Wilson says:

      Are you talking about the same SI cheering section that was at the game last night…..? It’s a rivalry for a reason. You’re just pissed that SI didn’t have anybody to chant stuff back. Bottom line is that the Padres packed the stands to help their team get a win. SI claims they have class but it’s hard to determine that when their stands are empty. It’s always easy to complain about the other team when they just beat you by 5. If you can’t handle the intensity that comes with two WCAL teams playing each other in a Championship game then you shouldn’t have shown up. Might have been better to stay at home, along with the whole SI student body.

      #ilovehangingbanners

      • WCAL Alum says:

        On a slightly different note. I was disapointed that the league officials didnt do a better job in their post game ceremonies. In the 5th they reminded fans to stay for the award ceremony.

        Again, I have no problem with Serra celebrating and their fans coming onto the field-much deserved.

        But at the ceremony, only Serra was recognized (albeit with a very bad sound system). It would have behooved the Mitty administrator (who runs the league) to at least recognize the runner-up as they stood at attention (which couldnt have been much fun).

        Even an ackowledgement of their season and first City team to make it to finals in 32 years, would have been nice, but he was incapable of adjusting once the microphone went dead.

        • Martin says:

          You must have been naping when the announcer thanked the SI team for a great game. He said it loud and clear.

          • WCAL Alum says:

            I nap more than I care to admit, but was it during the hand shake part or the presentation ceremony?Actually it would have been nice as part of ceremony. OK, nap time.

    • mustang06 says:

      So it’s ok for other schools to chant, “Serra fairies,” but not ok for Serra students to respond? I don’t know that I’ve been to major Serra sporting event where that tired, homophobic “fairy” chant hasn’t been used by the opposing school. Overall, I think the Serra cheering is pretty creative. Sometimes they cross into a gray area, but not much.

      One incident from last week’s Serra-Bellarmine game I thought was interesting: A Serra player tagging up at third ran down the line and ended up being out by at least 10 feet after the Bell right fielder threw an absolute strike to the catcher. The runner ran through tag, as he couldn’t slide since he was nowhere near the plate. The Bellarmine catcher became infuriated and started bumping his chest against the Serra runner and trying to instigate a fight. The Serra runner calmly walked away. Just goes to show that Serra athletes’ (possible?) reputation for being aggressive and surly is rather undeserved.

    • Martin says:

      Your appalled that the Serra fans showed up and supported their team? Get over it. And I guess you never were at a SI vs St. Francis match-up when the St Francis dugout moos like a bunch of cows until the other pitcher releases the ball. Thats high school sports. If it bothers you stay home.

  2. WCAL Alum says:

    Allow me to put this into terms that the silent majority of SI parents and students (that were not even there last night) might understand:

    1. You complete all your finishing courses, check
    2. the Junior League has made its nomination, check
    3. and you are front and center at your introduction to “WCAL Debutante Ball” (aka WCAL baseball finals), 4. you smile and are beaming with pride………….

    and then are told your zipper is down.

    That is what it must have felt like for the first three innings of last nights game for the Cats. I can only surmize that it was an uncharacteristic moment. I do commend their second and third pitcher for holding their ground. They have plenty of talent to go far in CCS and definately next year in league.

    Bottom line, this is a good team and at least you made it the finals and no other team from City can say that.

    • WCAL Alum says:

      I was sitting between both. There was nothing insulting about the way the Serra students cheered. In fact, at least they showed up and supported their student body. The only borderline cheer was the Padre, Padre til I die /cherry chant, but that goes back generationally. And after that one I saw a few SI student give the middle finger back (even a young lady). I for one wasnt “appalled”, but then again, I live in San Francisco.

      I know that “c” cheer has been discouraged at other schools, and was surprised to see no Serra admin at least visually repremand.

      You would have outrighted croaked if you went to the 1975 Bellarmine/Sacred Heart championship game: in the midst of the streaker fad. Two students came out of 1st base stands, hooded and streaked through the field and jumped over the center field fence. The SH centerfielder tipped his hat as they ran by: CLASSIC!!

      Funny there was a big fundraiser at Serra a few months ago, and Tom Brady was the featured speacker. It was a very emotional speech he gave, but even he did the Padre til I die cheer as part. It is on YouTube and a must see.

      • WCAL Alum says:

        The Bellarmine/SH title game was 1974, not 1975. Riordan won it all in 75; Nobbody streaked.

      • jbalan says:

        I saw the SI kids flipping the birds as well and the Serra student section reacting with middle fingers of their own.

        I have to disagree that they didn’t say anything disrespectful. I heard some disrespectful things said, but it really didn’t have a huge impact on me. The Serra crowd, while great in showing support for their team, is known for that. Ask Taylor Johns.

        • WCAL Alum says:

          I truly believe that it is gender-driven. SI, SH both became more P.C (some would say, evolved) after the schools went co-ed. Much like a man evolves after saying “I do”.

          • Sam Evans says:

            If the kids can’t take it at this level then they’re going to be shocked at the next levels. I think they can take it, it’s the parents who can’t, esp. in a loss. (I coach Special Olympics, coed, & awhile back our basketball team was up by 15 pts. so I replaced two male players with two females thinking if could possibly slow down the momentum. We actually extended the lead & because one of the females is very aggressive, not a dominant figure by any means, some of the opposing team’s parents were upset. You just can’t win with some parents). You’ve got to let your kids live.

          • SeanP says:

            WCAL Alum—I’m not sure about more PC, maybe even a little worse. ;-) I was in the first graduating class of SHCP, and some of those ladies were way worse, and much more creative I must say, than us boys. :-)

          • IC Stars says:

            Don’t let Mrs. WCAL Alum read your post… just lookin’ out for you.

  3. steve says:

    Who had the errors?

    • jbalan says:

      Does it matter? In high school sports reporting, unless it gets in the way of the story, it’s standard practice not to focus on or name individual errors or failures, rather spread it out to the entire team.

      • Ari Gold says:

        Really Jeremy? So Jack Harrington’s interceptions and botched snap/fumble & Daniel Lalor’s fake punt werent too individual enough to be omitted from the article? Seems like the FOCUS was on their errors, no?
        http://www.sanfranpreps.com/2011/12/04/football-omalleys-fumble-return-gives-st-ignatius-ccs-title-win-over-sacred-heart/

        • WCAL Alum says:

          I have to agree with J Balen on this one. It would probably been easier to (and less ink) to identify who didnt make an error.

          If its one or two errors that are relevant to the outcome, yes. But when there are too many to key into. For instance just a week ago, a Galileo infielder was singled out by name (no distrrespect, we’ve all been there), because it was relevant to the outcome. Hard to pinpoint which error (or errors in this case), lead to their demise. Collectively they all did.

        • jbalan says:

          These are two entirely different situations.

          The fumble was the difference in the football game. The SI errors were notable because of their number, not because one single error decided that game.

          I actually thought about describing the three-error play, but I felt the lengthy description would have bogged down the story.

          You may relish the details of SI imploding, but I didn’t feel naming every individual error necessary in this case.

          • Ari Gold says:

            You are right in that one error stood out more than the others. Theres no need to punctuate on that. But one team’s/player’s success is because of one other team’s/player’s failure. Thats thats a cold way of looking at it, but its just the truth. Harrington’s fumble/ints (failures) translated to O’Malley’s TD and Waters+others INTs (successes)… Krook’s poor start, though you cant blame him for all the errors, led to Serra’s unearned runs. It wasnt like Serra was spraying the ball all over the field.

            On another note, I think we may have your next Mrlik. I will predict Jack Stinn will be your next man crush. Stinn, I think is going to be WCAL POY in football and a dangerous hitter in baseball.

            • Roll Cats says:

              A man crush or just accurate reporting? If Jack Stinn goes on to win POY next year and matches or betters his +.320 batting average, then the coverage he will receive will be most deserved. No one from SI was upset at the coverage Fox and Johns received, because the majority of us totally respected and understood their outstanding achievements and accomplishments. I even enjoyed the 5 day coverage leading up to the state championship basketball game, because it is very rare that a team enjoys such success on a statewide level. JB’s coverage has always been fair and credit is dealt out to those who deserve it. Johnny Mrlik was a sensation, as were Fox and Johns, and Jack Stinn has a chance to eclipse the star power of all three of those athletes next year. Here’s hoping Stinn recovers from his left arm injury from last night to lead the Cats to an Open Division Title next year.

              On another note, I’m surprised you rooted for Serra in the championship game, Ari. While much of the city schools sent good luck wishes to their fellow city school, you chose to support the Padres. If you ask the athletes of Sacred Heart, SI, and Riordan which school they’d like to beat the most, you’d find a huge percentage would say Serra.

              • bigd says:

                You think SHC was rooting for SI? NOT

              • Ari Gold says:

                Do Giants fans root for Dodger fans? My favorite teams are SHC and anyone playing against SI. But to amend that statement, I do really like Jack Stinn’s all-world athletic talent. Im really looking forward to him throwing darts across the football field next year. I absolutely will go to bed seeing a team run left, run middle, run right… If I wanted to see that, I could watch pop warner. My expectations or level of interest in high school football needs to be splashed with a team that throws the ball. Jack Stinn, throws the ball and throws the ball alot. I would not be shocked if he broke the all-time passing record in a season in wcal history.

  4. padre diehard says:

    The strengh of the league is rivalries, this happens when intense passion is fused with pride and love of one’s School. Thirty years ago nobody wined about any of this he said she said. Last night the gloves came off and the better team won. CCS is right around the corner and believe me Saint Francis, , S.I, and Bellermine will be looking for payback, that is why the WCAL is by far one of the strongest leagues in the Country.

  5. JJ says:

    Hey, I was rooting for SHC when they played O’Dowd and Bishop Alemany in basketball. Maybe next time, I’ll root for the other team, since alot of SHC supporters never cheer for SI. In hindsight, now I’m happy SHC didn’t win State.

  6. Chris says:

    Relax JJ and bigD…Ari gold only wanted Serra to win because the baseball coach who is coaching is a graduate from SH.

    • IC Stars says:

      That’s just it. Do you root for SHC who has an SI coach, Serra who has an SHC coach or Riordan who has an SHC coach? I root for the school who has played baseball the longest.

      • Chris says:

        Honestly it depends sometimes..but it would be nice for SI to beat Serra in baseball this year. Serra, the jock school just deserves to be beaten. Personally, I do not know what it is, maybe because they are all boys but the school spirit is very strong, so strong that they appear cocky to me. Maybe if all the San Francisco schools were still all boys it wouldn’t be noticed because to some extent we were all like this. But yeah, Beat Serra..lol.

    • WCAL Alum says:

      SI made San Francisco teams relevent in WCAL baseball circles just as SHC made San Francisco relevant at the State level in basketball.

      Rivalries do run deep, but shouldnt be blind to the big picture.

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