Baseball: St. Ignatius comes from behind against Aptos to win first CCS title

St. Ignatius senior Collin Monsour winds up for a pitch against Aptos on Saturday at Municipal Stadium in San Jose. (Photo by Doug Ko)

By Bonta Hill

SAN JOSE – With the St. Ignatius baseball team facing a 3-1 deficit in the bottom of the fifth inning of the Central Coast Section Division II championship game, Aptos was threatening to put the game away with the bases loaded with one out.

St. Ignatius head coach Matt Stetcher called on his ace, Cal-bound pitcher Collin Monsour, to get the Wildcats out of the jam.

Monsour not only got St. Ignatius out of the inning with back-to-back strikeouts, but also swung the momentum of the game that ended with a 5-3 SI victory on Saturday at Municipal Stadium.

St. Ignatius senior third baseman Kyle Tillinghast follows through on his go-ahead RBI single against Aptos on Saturday at Municipal Stadium in San Jose. (Photo by Doug Ko)

The Wildcats (20-8-1) rallied for four runs in the top of the sixth inning and secured their first CCS baseball title in school history.

“It’s hard to describe and it’s going to take some time to process,” Stetcher said. “We made some adjustments late and our pitchers, who have been tremendous all year, [were] good again for us today. It was definitely an emotional roller coaster.”

The roller coaster ride started early for St. Ignatius.

After starting pitcher Connor Cucalon threw a scoreless first inning, the Mariners were able to capitalize on SI fielding errors.  

The second-seeded Mariners (17-9) struck for two runs in the second inning, with the first coming a fielding error, and the second on a bloop RBI single from Aptos right fielder John Evans.

“At [that] point [did] we know we still were in the battle? Absolutely, but scoring those runs and taking the lead set the tone for a good day,” said Aptos head coach Dave Heinevetter.

Aptos starting pitcher Jared Koenig largely kept St. Ignatius off-balance and gave up a run in the first inning, but breezed through the next four frames, retiring 14 of the next 16 SI batters.

Koenig, who pitched 6 1/3 innings, only allowed a single hit through five.

“[He] pitched really well for them,” said St. Ignatius right fielder Nick Johnson. “He was hitting his spots, but we were getting a little antsy and we were trying to do a little more than we could.”

With the each out, the championship appeared to be slipping away from the Wildcats, but when Monsour entered the game and slammed the door shut in the fifth, SI got the spark it was seeking.

“Coming into the inning, our coach was talking about how we needed to find a shift in momentum and how we needed to shut them down, come back and score some runs,” Monsour said, “I was nervous coming in, but once I got that first strikeout, I felt pretty good about being out there.”  

St. Ignatius senior right fielder Nick Johnson sends a ball into the outfield against Aptos on Saturday at Municipal Stadium in San Jose. (Photo by Doug Ko)

In the game-changing sixth inning, Johnson got the rally started with a lead-off walk. Matt Krook and Jack Klein then hit back-to-back singles to load the bases with no outs.

Pinch-hitter Jack Stinn grounded out to first base to score Johnson, then SI tied the game when Koenig balked in a run and senior Kyle Tillinghast put the Wildcats ahead 4-3 with line-drive single into left field.

Monsour held Aptos scoreless for the last six outs, setting off a wild celebration on the field.

“[It's been an] unbelievable ride,” Johnson said. “This is huge and we couldn’t end it any better way. I’m going to miss playing with this team. It’s been a wild ride.”

Scoring Summary

First Inning
SI – Matt Krook singles, Nico Giarratano scores

Second Inning
A – Nico Bailey scores on an error
A – John Evans singles, Gunnar Glaum scores

Third Inning
A – Orey Wafford steals home

Sixth Inning
SI – Jack Stinn grounds out, Nick Johnson scores
SI – Krook scores on balk
SI – Kyle Tillinghast singles, Jack Klein scores
SI – Jason Lock doubles, Tillinghast scores

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37 Comments

  1. Mike says:

    Well done, Cats!!

  2. Johnny Drama says:

    CCS Championships in 2 of the three MAJOR sports. Plus a WCAL league title in LAX and our baseball team made it to the WCAL championship game. Jack Klein committed to Stanford, SD31 to Georgetown, WCAL pitcher of the year Collin Monsour going to CAL, several of our LAX players are headed to the Ivy League to compete! Sure pays off to be a Wildcat.

    Lady Wildcats, congratulations on your Co-WCAL title, much more impressive than a CCS girls hoops but girls sports are light entertainment so I only tout the boys’ accomplishments.

    Clearly and unequivocally the best sports program in San Francisco. It’s not even close!

    Congratulations to SI on an amazing year!

    • JJ says:

      Lost the Bruce Mahoney, lost in the WCAL baseball final to arch-rival Sarah, lost to El Camino in basketball on home-court in CCS playoffs, lost in lacrosse to Torrey Pines……

      • Johnny Drama says:

        And still the best all around athletic program in SF BAR NONE!

        Why does an alum feel the need to point out the bad rather than focusing on the good? I expect that from an SH grad but you CLAIM to be an SI alum. When Domingo leaves, whenever that is, you should start to root for Riordan. Since you like to point out teams’ faults, you’ll be plenty busy on Phelan.

      • Roll Cats says:

        @JJ Lost the Bruce Mahoney, but won the biggest game in the history of the two schools in CCS football so losing the Bruce Mahoney is a pill we can afford to swallow. Losing the WCAL baseball final, but getting there for just the fourth time in school history. Losing to El Camino on home court–IT WAS A NEUTRAL SITE my man. Kidding aside, boys basketball will be remembered for their Jungle Game victory and for having two of the top players in the Bay, not for their final record. Lost in lax, but 19-1, another undefeated WCAL season and the “best team” Coach Packard has ever coached says a lot about the group of guys there. And for the second year in a row, SI has a player winning the NCAA Lacrosse National Title (Emery in 2011, Will Fredericks in 2012).

        @Drama Don’t forget Matt Krook’s commitment to the University of Oregon, CCS Championship starting pitcher Connor Cucalon moving on to Vassar, and Nick Johnson who will go to Vassar as a two-sport athlete, following in the footsteps of 6th Man of the Year Johnny Mrlik next year.

        Sacred Heart may have their soccer and basketball titles, but we’ll take all of the aforementioned accomplishments any day. Besides, the most important match-up between the two schools this year went to SI, and winning the CCS Football title means more than anything else.

        The premier athletic school in the bay is SI, and that will not change.

        • JJ says:

          The CCS title in baseball should have 2 asterisks** next to it because because SI’s bracket in CCS Division II didn’t have any WCAL teams in it. Congrats to Krook, Cucalon, and Nick Johnson’s commitments.

      • WCAL Alum says:

        Drama. You forgot the title of most subjective poster on SF Prep. Congratulations to you too.
        ,,,,,,,not even close.

        • Johnny Drama says:

          Thanks @Roll Cats for pointing out more of our young men’s accomplishments!

          @WCAL Alum….you give me too much credit. It’s a very tight race with my brother Ari Gold, IC Stars and Chris. But if you are the ultimate authority on this subject, I’ll humbly accept the title and you can chalk up another victory for my beloved Cats!

          • WCAL Alum says:

            Well returned.

            Chris came into this game too late to get credit this year; Ari and IC are tenurred; all will breathing down your back for next year.

            BTW: Just dont forget the five CCS titles earned around the block; not too shabby. Especially from a school with no outdoor facilities to their name.

            Again, congrats to the Cats winning their first outright baseball title in years and an outright baseball championship to San Francisco in almost 15 years. All due respect to AAA sectional winners.

            • Chris says:

              Thank You Wcal Alum, All the schools offer some benefits and are good in the WCAL. However, what Drama and some others fail to recognize is SI has always had great facilities . What Sacred Heart lacks in facilities only makes the students have more heart and drive. SI has no excuse for not winning.

        • Josh Weinstein says:

          Yeah, right. SI beat EVERY WCAL team this season, including the CCS D1 champions Valley Christian in the WCAL playoffs.

          • IC Stars says:

            …and Sacred Heart beat SI. Coincidence? I think not.

            • M Air J says:

              And Riordan beat Sacred Heart……touche`

              • IC Stars says:

                …with a Sacred Heart guy for a coach…. Double touché.

              • Chris says:

                Sarrah, wait, Serra has a SH coach too..lol. SH has an SI coach…what comes around goes around, don’t you love the WCAL?

              • Crusader 88 says:

                And Serra won the league tournament with a SH coach! The insanity!!!

              • RC Cola says:

                You know… Riordan would have made CCS if it weren’t for Serra being shady with calling the baseball game when they were losing badly to Riordan. Serra plays like SI, acts like SH….

  3. SIbaseballfan says:

    SI varsity baseball finishes the season ranked #25 in the state (MaxPreps). Very proud of the boys.

    • WCAL Alum says:

      I dont take much interest in rankings, but websites do have to pay their fees, and if there was a team to be recognized, it was SI this year. SI’s team this year could arguebly (sp) play with any team in the State; they were that good and is set up for at least one more run.

      Unfortunately, I just went to their site to see their roster, it was interesting to note, of the 22 ball players listed on their team, ONLY ONE went to a San Francisco CYO archdioce school (St. Brendan). Of the 22 16 went to grammar school (and I assume) live out of the City, and the others went to private schools.

      They were a City team by name only.

      • JC says:

        Not singling you out WCAL Alum, but I have noticed several commentators claim that kids from private schools are not “real” City kids. Almost all of these kids live in the City, and some were only able to attend private school with help of financial aid or scholarships. Also, there are many affluent City athletes who went to Archdioce Schools such as St. Brendan’s, but nobody claims that they’re not “really” from the City.

        I hope I didn’t sound too much like a crotchety old man there, but that was just a point I wanted to make.

        Congrats to all City schools on great seasons! I’ll have to defer to ARHS Stats on this one, but I don’t think a City school winning CCS titles in Football, Basketball, and Baseball has happened many times before.

        • WCAL Alum says:

          JC. You didnt sound crotchety at all. My only point was in looking at their team roster on the school site, only one kid on the roster of the 22 went to a San Francisco Archidioces school (St. Brendans) and at least 17 went to school out of The City. I am assuming the four or five who went to Stuart Hall, Live Oak, Town School Cathedral School for boys and Presidio Hill (btw, some if not all with tuition higher than all three WCAL schools), live in The City (and hence our City kids). I commend these parents who can afford to invest and/or garner scholarships to have their kids attend these schools. Kids go to a variety of schools for variety of reasons (ie learning disabilities; special resources, parents commute in, etc.)

          As for CCS, this is the first time. Even WCAL title in same year it’s rare:
          ’72 Riordan football and baseball; SH in basketball

          When you include SH soccer and volleyball; five CCS titles for men sports this year for City teams. Truly a banner year for City teams.

          • WCAL Alum says:

            I know the difference between “are” and “our”. It is 5 in the morning.
            Speaking of, I wish there was an option to edit a posting, it would save some rolling of the eyes.

          • Point of Parliamentary Procedure says:

            As someone who has watched the SI seniors for four years (some in two sports), the main point is how proud we are of the team and their efforts. Many clutch performances, none more so than Collin Monsour at the end. And to echo an earlier post you made WCAL Alum, yes this team is good enough to play with anybody in the Section for sure, and I’d like their chances against anyone in California. They would have been competitive in CCS D1 just going off their games against Palo Alto (1 run loss), D1 Champion Valley Christian (2 wins), Mitty (2 wins), Bellarmine (2 wins), Serra (win), and St. Francis (win and tie).

            SI is definitely a regional school, much like Bellarmine and St. Francis. SI has advertised itself as such for decades, drawing from public schools, private schools and parochial schools (which are also private – not sure how that makes them more “city” than other private schools). The website says the school draws kids from 8 of the 9 Bay Area Counties, but the bulk are from San Francisco, San Mateo, and Marin in that order. There is nothing unusual about this roster. If anything the baseball team looks a lot like the school population at large. But if points are going to be made about this, they should at least use basic neutral facts:

            1. The Archdiocese of San Francisco includes San Francisco, San Mateo, and Marin Counties. So everyone on the roster lives within the Archdiocese of San Francisco.

            2. The breakdown by grammar school (San Francisco is the only city I’ve been in where people care where you went to grammar school) is 9 Archdiocese of San Francisco schools, 7 private schools, 3 public schools, 3 non-Catholic religious schools. That breakdown matches the roster total. Obviously some schools had more than one player.

            3. The breakdown by residence is 10 San Francisco, 9 San Mateo, 3 Marin.

            4. The breakdown by school is one. St. Ignatius. That’s all that really matters.

            Way to get it done ‘Cats!

            • WCAL Alum says:

              Well said. I love your Palimentary Procedure name (keep it); my first thought was Faber College in Animal House (and I assume your though process too).

              Yes, true. A San Francisco native always ask; what grammar high school you went to – the rest is non essential, very provinchal (more so parochial) we are.

              • sanfransoxfan says:

                One common thread in S.I. demographics that hasn’t gotten much attention is that many of the Juniors (now upcoming Seniors) were part of the USF Junior Dons Travel Ball team since they were about 10 yrs old. This is when Nicko G’s father, Nino (head coach at USF) began the program for Nicko and a group of 11 other boys his age. !0 of them went to S.I., 2 to S.H., and I believe most of the 10 have made their way to S.I. Varsity (and an 11th, PIko, is now a standout player at Punahou in Hawaii). They still play together in Summer Ball. This is a group of very good athletes who have received outstanding coaching (from USF asst. coaches) over the years and the result has been no surprise at all to those of us who followed the Dons. It will also be no surprise if this team, with this group as its leadership core, repeats next year.

  4. City Lights says:

    CCS is VERY difficult to win in baseball. There are many reasons why WCAL teams don’t just sweep up all the trophies the way they do in Bball and football.

    GREAT JOB Cats!!

    Also great job to SHC for winning 5 titles. CCS may be watered down in Bball, but you still have to win the games. Norcal title for boys even more impressive.

  5. reader says:

    Congrats SI! I have never seen kid express such victory when they won the CCS in baseball! Such a victory! I’ve heard Loginoff is playing basketball at Colby college too – should be a good game when they play against Johnson & Mrlik @ Vassar! Good Times!

    @RollCats – the Jungle game win was epic and will always be the “the BIG win of 2012″ for the basketball team! Well said!

    Why do we always point out the faults…I have to agree…lets keep things positive…sheesh can’t kids catch a break?!!!

    Great job to all the City teams/kids (no matter where you lay your head at night to sleep) – 2012 has been a great year in sports!!!!

  6. City Lights says:

    Just imagine if there was only 1 Catholic school in SF. State championships would be stacking up…

    • jbalan says:

      Imagine if there was only one Catholic school in San Jose. You could say the same thing about any regional area.

      • ARHS Stats says:

        Mater Dei was and may still be the only Catholic High School in Orange County

        • jbalan says:

          Nope. JSerra, Rosary, Santa Magarita, Servite… That’s just off the top of my head.

          • ARHS Stats says:

            OK, I guess I was told Mater Dei was the only Co-Ed Catholic High School in Orange County, which it was until 1987.

            Servite (B), Rosary (G), St. Michael’s (B), and Cornelia Connelly (G) are all single gender schools, and all these schools were formed after Mater Dei.

            Santa Margarita was started in 1987 and was just graduating it’s first class in 1990, when I was told this during the basketball season. JSerra was started in 2003

      • City Lights says:

        True, but I really don’t care about other regional areas, thus my enjoyment of SF preps.com. ;)

      • IC Stars says:

        What City Lights is referring to is the sheer numbers of people the Bellarmines, VC’s, SF’s, Serra’s & Mitty’s have to choose from as compared to the relatively small population numbers the City schools have.

  7. sfballer says:

    San fran’s best sports program for high school doesnt say much. its all about the talent down the peninsula. Lick-Wilmerding baseball would have beat SI from 2006-2010 in baseball. Tied 5-5 in 2009 without 5 Lick baseball starters including the #3 and #4 hitters and # 1 pitcher (for Lick)…. SI really isnt that good in retrospect. lets be real. go Irish! at least there a bunch of quality lads.

    • Josh Weinstein says:

      @sfballer “Go Irish?” Good one. That’s why you are bashing SI’s accomplishments this season and praising the powerhouse Lick baseball team. It’s all about SHC for you. Your bias in your comments poses opinions as facts. No SF public school’s baseball or football teams could match the CCS Champion Wildcats this season. It’s 2012 not 2006-2010. Thanks for coming out.

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